School goes to the dogs during graduation

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2004

Noah was so excited on his graduation day he could hardly contain himself.

While his classmates sat quietly on the front lawn of Tay Etheredge’s home on Old Orrville Road Saturday, Noah ran around, rolled on the ground and-for a brief moment-ignored the warnings on his instructor.

“That dog has been subdued this whole time,” Etheredge said. “His mom is out-of-town today, so he’s probably missing her.”

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With a quick jerk on his leash and a couple of commands from instructor Charles Weber, the white fluffy dog was back on focus and sat down like a good boy.

Weber then continued with the graduation ceremony for the six tail-wagging pupils and their owners in his canine obedience school, hosted by Etheredge’s What A Good Dog grooming company.

Since mid-September Weber, an officer in the Selma Police Department’s K-9 unit, has been using his years of experience to teach Selma residents how to train their dogs.

Weber said the same techniques used to train police dogs could be used to improve the behavior of average dogs.

“Training of any dog begins with the basic building blocks,” he said. “If you don’t have that basic training, you can’t do anything else. It all starts with ‘sit, down, stay and come.’ Police dogs have that same training.”

The dog owners in Weber’s class all said the results were amazing.

“There is a big difference between day one and now,” said Nell McGee, who enrolled in the class with Max, her German Shepherd. “Before, my dog couldn’t even sit next to the other dogs.”

Max, who wore a red graduation tassel during the last class, was one of two dogs who graduated with honors.

Weber presented Max with the “Best Overall Dog” award during the short ceremony. A one-year-old Cocker Spaniel named Dini received the “Most Improved” award.

Angie Cobb, Dini’s owner, said her dog improved so much she even took her to visit seniors at a nursing home.

“This class has helped a tremendous bit,” Cobb said.”(Weber) didn’t just teach the dogs how to behave, he taught us how to do it.”

William Perkins said his dog, a Red Doberman named Boo, has “calmed down” since the classes started.

“I have a newborn at home,” he said. “I wanted to make sure Boo behaved around the baby.”

Another of dog owner, Clay Pegues, said he enrolled his six-month-old black Labrador Bailey in the class so he could eventually take the dog hunting with him.

“He’s going to be a retriever,” Pegues said. “This class has been fun. Bailey’s calmed down a whole lot.”

Weber said anyone could teach a dog to behave, it’s just a matter of time and patience

All of Weber’s classes took place at Etheredge’s home/business.

“We are probably going to do another class this March,” she said. “We usually take less than 10 dogs so (Weber) can have one-on-one attention with them.”

For more information about the obedience school, or “What A Good Dog” grooming, contact Etheredge at 877-0555.