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800-532-2890

You and Your Kerry in Obedience

 

© USKBTC 1985 This article first appeared in the 1985 Kerry Blue Terrier Handbook.

No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder. Reprinted with permission from USKBTC This article first appeared in the Kerry Blue Terrier Handbook..

  1. CD = Grammar School
  2. CDX = High School
  3. UD = College
  4. TD = Masters
  5. Obedience Champion = PHD

The above is a fanciful equivalency chart between human and canine education; and below is a brief description of obedience training for your Kerry Blue Terrier.

Obedience training is a must for the high-spirited, fun-loving Kerry, essential to his well being as a happy, well-mannered member of your family. The Kerry is among the most active of terriers. and restraint can only be instilled by early, loving disciplined instruction to head him in the right direction. The Kerry above all wants to please you, and you must show him how to behave in order for him to do so.

In early puppyhood your concentration should be on winning his love and confidence; but at three to four months (even earlier if you can find a "Puppy Kindergarten" class) simple, basic training can be started at home which will open lines of communication and develop a special bond of affectionate understanding between you and your Kerry.

Spy, CDXYour Kerry should learn to walk comfortably on a leash (have you seen one pulling his owner down the street?), learn the meaning of such simple commands as "sit", "lie down", "stay", "come" (that may save your Kerry's life some day), and the meaning of those important words "good" and "no." All training must be done with extreme patience, a quiet hand (a heavy-handed jerk, jerk style of handling doesn't work with Kerries), firm but gentle discipline and much loving approval when he does well. The Kerry responds best to light-handed, positive methods They seem to need a lot of reassurance that they are doing the correct thing and if in doubt, might do nothing which can sometimes be interpreted as stubbornness by those inexperienced with the breed. It's praise not punishment that will teach him what you wish him to learn; a lavish amount of praise will not only spark his enthusiasm to obey, but will strengthen his enjoyment in learning and bolster his self-confidence.

Formal class training ("Beginners") should not be started until the puppy is six to eight months old. Such classes are given by non-profit obedience clubs and are to be found in almost every locality. Contact the American Kennel Club or a local breed club if unable to locate an obedience club. Going to class the experience of a car ride and getting accustomed to being with other dogs and in a new place-is education in itself. An obedience course usually consists of about ten classes, once a week. In between, the owner should practice a few minutes each day to improve both the handler's and the Kerry's skills. Just once a week won't do it-remember, the obedience class teaches you the owner to train your own dog and the dog to obey you, not another trainer or instructor.

While some Kerry owners might feel that formal obedience education is beyond them, the home training done with the puppy is directed to the same exercises and performance that is taught in "Beginners" or "Novice" obedience classes and can be considered merely an extension of what you have already been teaching your puppy at home These classes train the dog to heel on lead, heel off lead, at normal, fast and slow paces, and to sit when the handler stops moving. Other exercises call for the dog to stand still for examination by a strange person, to come to the handler on command; and, finally, an exercise called the "long sit" and the "long down" in which the dog sits in line with other dogs for one minute (three minutes for the "long down") while his owner stands across the ring facing him Once the dog has mastered these relatively simple exercises, he is ready to be entered in the "Novice" class at an American Kennel Club approved Obedience Trial (usually held with an All-Breed Show) to start earning his "legs" for a Companion Dog Degree (CD behind the dog's name on the pedigree). A dog must earn a passing score (170 out of a possible 200 points) at three such trials to qualify for his CD This is the source of utmost satisfaction because dog and handler are judged on their own performance and not against other dogs (unlike the Breed Ring)

Kerries do well in obedience for they usually have a high degree of intelligence. Learning quickly and joyfully once you have taught them what you wish them to do. It is an impressive sight to see a handsome, well-trained Kerry in the obedience ring performing as beautifully as he appears It is also an indication of the dog's temperament, as a Kerry that is not well-balanced mentally could not do many of the exercises which call for obedience and sense For this reason and for the sake of having a well-behaved companion. breeders should encourage new Kerry owners to go to obedience classes.

Over the years Kerries have always won their share of training titles; and those titles have been won by many different owner/trainers with dogs from many different bloodlines In the 10 years from January 1973 to January 1983. the American Kennel Club awarded 141 CD's, 37 CDX's and UD's There still are some challenges available in training competition as we have not yet had a breed champion with a UD and TD There has never been a TDX or an Obedience Trial Champion Kerry.

In some years as many as one third of the obedience dogs are also being shown in the Breed ring . with no disadvantage to either, and to the great pleasure of Kerry and owner-proof that you can do it with a Kerry Blue. Do try you may love it as much as your beautiful and wellbehaved Kerry!

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