Introduction to Dog Training

After 35 years of training and showing horses I decided to try the shorter version. Throughout my life I have always obedience trained my dogs but never for competitions. Thus in 1996 I took my then 12 year old Australian Shepherd, Sydney, to an obedience match with West LA Obedience Training Club, thought it looked like so much fun and entered him in the Canine Good Citizen test, which he passed with flying colors. I sought out a local club, Valley Hills Obedience Club, became a member and offered to help with their club activities. One year later after the passing of Sydney and obtaining another Aussie, Teddy, an owner turn in rescue, I enrolled him in one of their training classes. He had many behavioral issues that had to be addressed first, before he was able to compete. Teddy however, accomplished the AKC and ASCA CDX titles and was beginning to take agility classes as well, but sadly he passed away at 6 years old due to Lymphoma.

I decided to be an Aussie Rescue foster person as I was not ready for another dog just yet, which I did for the following year. I read books, went to many seminars and trials to further my knowledge in dog training. In 2000 I obtained two more rescue Aussies, Casey and Scout and began training them in agility, obedience, herding and a few years later rally. Casey was good at herding, gentle and willing to do the task at hand. He loved the up close busy ranch work and we obtained 10 titles in stock trials, even a few with 65 sheep we had to move around a course. It is amazing to see a breed do what they were bred for and for me, herding is so thrilling. Scout started her competition career at age two, excelled in agility, obedience and rally and between AKC, ASCA and NADAC she has obtained 70 titles to date, including her MACH, two UD’s, her RAE, with just 6 gamble Q’s away from her ASCA ATCH and in the Masters level of ASCA Rally. She also knows about 30 tricks, which I have made a YouTube video. We were still actively competing in agility and ASCA rally, even at 13 1/2 years of age. As long as she was happy and willing to work and play, so was I.

Scusi came into my life in 2012, from a wonderful breeder in New Mexico, Stephanie Shope-McDaniel along with her mother Anne Shope. She is exactly what I was looking for in a new puppy, happy, willing, cute, smart, a joy to be around. We started training on day one and have not looked back since. She excels in agility, herding, obedience, rally and loves, loves to play fetch, especially balls. So far at age 2 she has earned 23 titles in the above sports and is well on her way to achieve many more in the upper classes. She is always a willing partner in whatever venture we have at hand and a great cuddlier when it is all said and done.

In 2005 I was asked to be the beginning obedience and manners class instructor for Valley Hills and then as rally was beginning to be popular, instructed that new class as well. I have a calm personality with the people and dogs enrolled and a good sense of humor, which puts them at ease. I truly love all dogs and they must feel that genuine nature, as they seem to gravitate towards me. The one common thread for new dog owners is that they don’t know how to have fun with their dogs. Especially ones that want to compete in obedience, it is all too serious and matter of fact. I try to get them to “let loose” and play with their dogs. If you see two puppies or any dogs playing it is loud, boastful, running, chasing, goosing, rolling and we as owners need to fit into the dogs world just as much as they have to form to our way of doing things. My training reflects this playful attitude and therefore I have had great results. Regardless of a Q or not, you have to have fun with your canine partner as it is all about making memories.









Wednesdays at Camino Real Park in Ventura off Mills Rd & Dean St.




12:00 to 1:00 or 2:00 to 3:00




Competition Obedience Class (Novice, Open and Utility




Rally Class (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Excellent and Masters)











The first ½ hour the group class begins with how to get your dog to watch you while heeling and the proper footwork for right, left, about turns, halts, fast & slow pace. I cover all the obedience exercises of figure 8's, stand for examination and recalls both straight and the drop through the crowd of dogs and people. I teach hand signals for stand, down, sit and start to add distractions to your dog while maintaining attention. We work on straight fronts, left and right finishes, catch up heeling and work on the group sits and downs exercise.




The second ½ hour a ring is set up for the novice, open and utility obedience exercises and we start to proof the dog with major distractions, talking to dog, toys, treats on the ground etc. Dumbbell work, gloves, utility articles, go outs and directed jumping in taught, breaking down each task step by step. Really fine-tune the exercises for all levels to achieve a better performance in the trial setting.




There is a rally course set up that is nested for all three levels where you learn the novice, intermediate, advanced, excellent and master rally signs, plus the regulations and point deductions are reviewed for optimum performance. Tips are given on how to get a better performance from you and your dog.












3:00 to 4:00 Basic Obedience Class












For those who either just want a well-behaved dog and don't want to compete with a new puppy/older dog or need the basic exercises to start your competition career, I will show you how to get them to walk nicely on a leash, meet people and other dogs in a mannerly fashion, sits, downs, stand, stay, come, take it and leave it. I also incorporate various exercises to have fun with your dog like an agility tunnel, weave poles, jumps, intro to rally, nose work search and tricks of all kinds.




Each class is $95.00 for 6-weeks, 1 hour or if you enter two classes or have two dogs the price is reduced to $170.00. There is a $20.00 drop in rate for any of the classes. I do allow for 2 missed classes in each 6-week series.



























Valley Hills Obedience Club







VHOC lost our training site after 14 years, so we are in the process of finding a new location. We have a temporary locations but check with me first to make sure they are still viable. 














VHOC offers a number of classes for pet owners looking to master simple K9 manners and dog enthusiasts looking to earn High in Trial!








 Check out their website at:








Beginning Obedience & Manners Class




Instructed by club member Laurie Burnam, this ongoing six-week class is designed for  pet owners looking for instruction in basic obedience. The class covers basic behaviors        such as walking nicely on a leash, sit, down, stay, come, leave it and also offers a taste of typical competitive obedience exercises, learn agility using a tunnel, weave poles and jumps, nose work search exercises, rally competition signs on a course, plus tricks for students looking to further their training experience. Class meets from 6:30-7:30 pm on Thursdays, location tbd. Until a permanent location is found, the cost is $20. per class. For more information, please contact Laurie Burnam at (818) 882-0443 or via email at




Competitive Obedience Class




This ongoing class, has been combined with the Rally Class and is designed for dog and handler teams who want to work towards their CD/CDX/UD titles. The first half of class is a group setting, focusing on attention heeling, fine tuning footwork and handling skills, figure 8's, stand/moving stand for exam, recalls, straight and drop, fronts/finishes, distractions, plus sits & downs. Second half of class students will work on Open and Utility exercises and complete run throughs. All dogs should have a good, solid foundation, possibly obtained by the Beginning Obedience and Manners Class or similar. No make up classes are allowed within your 6-week series.




Class currently meets from 7:00 to 8:00p.m. on Tuesdays, location tbd, cost for a six week series was $100. VHOC members, $125. non-members, however until a permanent location is found, we will use the Drop-ins at $20. for VHOC members, and $25. for non-members, with instructor's approval. For more information please contact: Laurie Burnam at 818-882-0443 or




Rally Obedience








This ongoing class, has been combined with the Competitive Obedience Class and is designed to familiarize students with the various exercises performed throughout the AKC AND ASCA Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Excellent and Masters level Rally Obedience. The course is nested with all four levels, instruction is given how to execute each sign for the level you want to learn. Classes will meet from 6:30-7:30p.m. on Tuesdays, location tbd, cost for a six week series was $100. VHOC members, $125. for non-members, however until a permanent location is found, we will use the Drop-ins at $20. for VHOC members, and $25. for non-members, with instructor's approval. No make up classes are allowed within your 6-week attendance. For more information, please contact Laurie at (818) 882-0443 or





 Mockingbird's Lil Scout went from RN to RAE in 3 years shown 30 times achieving 8 perfect 100's, 15 1st places with an average score of 97.





Laurie Burnam

(818) 784-8440
























                                PIERCE COLLEGE EXTENSION PROGRAM




     6201 WINNETKA AVENUE, WOODLAND HILLS, CA 91371  (818) 719-6425




                           DOG KNOWLEDGE, CARE & OBEDIENCE TRAINING




In this 6-week class, you and your dog will work on basic obedience commands such as “sit, lie down, stay, stand, come, leave it, to heel nicely on a leash and meet other dogs and people in a mannerly fashion”. In addition, you will learn different dog sports activities like, “agility with jumps, tunnels and weave poles, competition obedience/rally exercises, nose work searching and even many types of dog tricks. With some practice, you will gain more confidence working with your dog, and you may even be amazed how much fun you can have together. Starting in September there will be a Beginning Agility class offered at the second class timeline. More info to follow.




                      6 Mondays              Two Separate Classes              6:00 to 7:25  7:35 to 9:00












Course Objective




This course will help people achieve a better bond with their dog, to show them how to get a mannerly but still happy dog that can be taken in public places with ease.