The Classroom

If you are an average city dweller, classroom space is at a premium. Apartments are small, the streets and sidewalks are crowded with people and distractions, and the empty lots have no trespassing and no dogs allowed signs. Then where can you work with the dog if these conditions prevail? There are several places in the average apartment house that can be used as classrooms. One of these is the hallway. While not ideal, it can be used as an emergency measure until the pup has enough grasp o£ the lessons to be taken outdoors. Another area is the basement, providing it does not have too many distractions, such as tenants using community washing machines. An excellent place to school the dog is on the roof. The rooftops of most apartment houses and hotels are the least utilized areas in the buildings. There is plenty of room, usually a wall or parapet, and enough solitude to conduct lessons without distractions. You should, o£ course, secure the landlord's permission to use the hall, basement or roof for your dog's training.

Once your pup has learned the rudiments of the basic commands, it is imperative that you take him outside the classroom. Otherwise, he'll be a star performer in familiar surroundings and a dunce elsewhere. Since the dog will probably be accompanying you on walks in the city or trips out of town, he should be accustomed to obeying commands under all kinds of conditions. Introduce him to as many as you can and do it early in his training.

The suburban dog owner has less of a problem when it comes to classroom space. Backyards, fields, even patios, will serve as classrooms. Again it must be stressed that the areas selected must be free of distractions. And upon mastering the ABC's of training, the pup should be taken into town, schoolyards, playgrounds and the highway for orientation in these areas.

Out in the open country, classroom space is yours for the taking. But, here again, the pup will have to be taken into unfamiliar areas and put through his lessons. Unless you do take him, the country dog will be like his bucolic master in a big city: he won't know how to behave.

WHO'S TO DO THE TRAINING?

If you are to be the sole trainer of the puppy, the problem is simplified. Set regular daily training periods and follow them faithfully. However, if several members of the family are to help train the pup, there should be a clear understanding about what to teach and how to go about it. Above all, there has to be a standard training technique. Every member of the family in on the training must use the same commands, voice control and gestures. Sudden changes in the training technique are just as harmful to the pup as sudden changes in his diet. They will only confuse him and set him back in his lessons.

In the average home, it's Mother who ends up with most of the work of raising a dog. She feeds him, paper-trains him and conducts his pre-school training. All of this is usually done while Father is at work and" the children are at school. Most of the time, the pup's pre-school training is done during and between Mother's household chores. The format lessons require concentration on the part of dog and teacher. They shouldn't be hurried or skimmed through because the cake is burning in the oven or the clothes have to be hung up. It is better to let Father and the children (if old enough) take over the formal training of the pup. But Mother should conduct some lessons herself.

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