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Training for Obedience
By Tasha Reams

As a Junior Handler in AKC it has been very fun and a lot of hard work preparing my dog, Mya, and myself for obedience trials. My training started in working with a great trainer in the 4-H Dog Program. I have found several tricks along the way. I learned you need to practice the commands at least 2-3 times a week when starting out, never changing your commands. Start out with the correct commands and don’t change them, it only confuses your dog. After your dog is ready to go off lead, you have to be careful not to over train or it could make your dog burn out. Training needs to be kept fun at all times with lots of enthusiasm. Mya and I are learning new things all the time. Make sure both you and your dog are prepared before going into the rings. Practice, keep it fun, and don’t over-train your dog. You need a connection with your dog, working together as one. Have a positive, mature, and respectful attitude. Your attitude reflects all you and your dog are and what you have worked so hard for. The judges will notice all of this; they watch you as much as they watch your dog. Above all, remember dogs have bad days too. Never get made or angry with them or yourself, just try again later. The day after I turned 14, Mya was newly titles with her CD. It was the best birthday present ever. We have already started practice for our CDX titles and are excited to start in Rally this year.