A great new aid for instructors is the twelve page pamphlet entitled “Teaching You to Train Your Dog . . . A Student Handbook.” Designed as a supplement to a class orientation, it highlights the many details about attending a class instructors expect their students to remember. The information is presented in a well-organized and easy to understand fashion. The language is kept general to avoid interfering with, or contradicting, different approaches to training. For example, the student is advised that the “equipment used in training a dog is a training collar and a leash” and that the “instructor will show you the collar and leash you will use and how to put the training collar on correctly.” The type of collar or leash is not specified, since both can vary from training organization to training organization.
More specifically, the pamphlet addresses itself to the type of clothes most suited for training, the importance of class attendance and punctuality, the student’s responsibility for his dog, the role of the instructor, when to feed the dog while he is in training, what to do about training and class when the dog is sick, the necessity to practice, and the need for persistence, patience, and praise. In short, it contains the information covered by the do’s and don’ts which every training organization has. Some of these handout sheets which I have seen overdo it on the don’ts, which has the tendency to discourage students. The pamphlet uses don’ts very sparingly and most of its admon- itions are presented in a positive form. It even manages to have a touch of humor.
Perhaps the pamphlet’s chief virtue is that it is inviting to read. The text is broken up with cartoon-type illustrations and no single page is so full of print that it overwhelms the reader. It is also printed which should make its impact more effective. I have often wondered how much attention students pay to faded ditto sheets or barely legible copies of handout sheets crammed full of text. I suspect that many cannot bring themselves to read it, much less keep it as a reference.
The pamphlet is suitable for use by any training organization, be it a club, a school, or what-have-you. The purpose of obedience training is explained in the language of the AKC Obedience Regulations. The back page has been left blank and can be imprinted with the emblem of the training organization using it, or any other desired information. It also deals with the student’s responsibility for his dog at home, not just in class. The student is told that he is expected to be a good dog neighbor and a responsible dog owner. A very important point, especially since communities are becoming increasingly anxious about irresponsible dog owners. The student is told that he is expected to know the whereabouts of his dog 24 hours a day. In the same context, the pamphlet invites the student’s attention to the over-population of dogs, just in case he is contemplating breeding his dog.
“A Few Important Hints” and “I Am A Dog” are the concluding sections, both of which are extremely well done. “Teaching you to Train your Dog – A Student Handbook” was prepared by the editorial staff of OFF-LEAD, the National Dog Training Monthly, in conjunction with the Canine Board of Education and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors and is an exciting addition to the repertoire of the instructor.
©1975 J. J. Volhard