Dogs, owners learn new tricks

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First Class Dog Training
By Isabella Shaya
Meridian Times staff writer

With about 27 years of experience, First Class Dog Training instructor Hector Hernandez is ready to train dogs of any type or size.

“(It’s) rewarding because you initially see a problem dog, and you solve the issue and they are able to keep the dog now,” Hernandez said.

On April 13, Hernandez taught dogs basic obedience at his First Class Dog Training class in the Meridian Township Service Center, 2100 Gaylord C. Smith Court, in Okemos.

Hernandez started training police dogs, and now teaches a variety of dog education classes, including teaching dogs to locate a certain scent and off-leash obedience.

Hernandez also has authored four books, including “Train Your Dog Before Your Dog Trains You” and “Preparing Yourself For Dog Encounters.”

The basic obedience group training sessions are held in a three-day format on either Saturday, Sunday and the following Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. or Monday, Wednesday and the following Monday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Classes cost $150 for the year.

The first day the dogs learn to heal, sit and stay without verbal commands, the second lesson they learn the verbal commands “down” and “come” and the third class they learn how to “come” off a leash.

Hernandez said every dog is responds to different training methods. During class, some dogs he left alone to allow them to adjust to their surroundings, and others required more discipline.
“There’s no one way of training a dog,” Hernandez said.

Lansing residents Brad and Jean Gilreath brought their two black female Labradors, Molly and Jessie, to the lesson.
First Class Dog Training
This was the second class 1-year-old Molly had attended, and since it helped her, the Gilreaths decided to bring 7-month-old Jessie.

Brad Gilreath said this is an important class to have available in the community.
“Dogs can’t just run wild, they need to know their limits and boundaries,” Brad Gilreath said.

Owosso resident Ben Duffield brought Maverick, a 10-month-old male German shepherd, to the class because Maverick is not obedient, barks frequently, is timid near other dogs and is aggressive.

Duffield said Hernandez’s class was recommended as the best class in the area for dog training.

“I think it’s going to be very good based on the reviews of Hector,” Duffield said. “Hector’s stern and consistent.”

Maverick was misbehaving at first, but Duffield said he saw a lot of progress.First Class Dog Training

“He’s doing better, a lot better,” Duffield said about 30 minutes into the session.

Duffield said this class is important for his dog and other dogs in the community.
“People have somewhere to take their dogs because dogs are part of our society,” Duffield said. “(To teach them to) be more obedient without being a pain in the butt.”

Hernandez also started a new puppy training class April 13, which lasts three days — Saturday, Sunday and the following Saturday — from 10-11:15 a.m. The first day is only for the owners and includes a presentation from Hernandez and answers to owners’ questions.

Owners need to bring a retractable leash, 6 foot leash, dry dog food or treats and a flat collar or harness. The class costs $75 per dog.

Anyone in taking one of these classes can sign up online.

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