General Training Philosophy

POOCHABILITY DOG TRAINING By Laurie Burnam                          
It’s never too young to start training!

Every breed has certain general characteristics in attitude, work ethic, bidability etc. Then within each breed there may be subtle differences in personality traits. Get to know what your dog wants or needs and help him or her to achieve the goals you are setting out to master. But do have fun in the process; after all, the journey is just as important as the final results. Play, play, play with your dog, make training fun and don’t sweat the small stuff.

I love Aussies, as they usually want to please, learn quite easily and make training such a joy. But with any breed start out as soon as their little brains can focus for any length of time, usually at 3 months old. Don’t just limit your training to the basics of sit, down, heel etc. but add the more fun exercises found in the upper obedience, rally and agility classes. With every situation talk to you dog, tell him or her what you are doing at every juncture. They will soon have an enormous understanding of vocabulary, which helps in any situation, not just the competition ring.   At this age they are like sponges and want to learn. Soon enough they will go into their adolescence stage and “forget they know you” but the foundation is planted and they all come back around.

The first step is to get them to pay attention to you. Get a handful of treats, sit in front of the dog on the ground, say, 
“watch” or their name “Fido” pointing to your face, and then when they do look, offer them a treat. Do this over and over for many days until one day; while they are glancing away, they will respond to that word “watch” by looking back at you. Give the biggest praise you can imagine. Now you can begin focused training but remember you have to be more fun than the outside elements.

Start training in a quiet, familiar place using baby steps. Just like children learn ABC’s, small words, simple sentences, then bigger words, longer sentences, so too should your dog’s training. If the dog is having difficulty grasping what you are asking, you now have steps to go back to for help. Dog’s love being right, so when times get tough, lessen their load.

Dogs live in a visual and audio world, humans more of a verbal world but they have adapted to our way quite easily. Therefore use small words for every task you require of them for better communication.  If you do multiple sports this can be challenging to come up with words that won’t conflict with another venue’s use. But mostly they help more than hinder. I carry on such conversations with my dogs but they truly understand what is being asked of them.

Just like us going to work and getting a paycheck, so too should our dogs be rewarded for the things we are asking of them. Find out what turns your dog on and use it to let them know they were right. Some like food, others toys and some just the tone of your voice and a gentle pat will do.  Once you go to a new location or more distracting one, remember to go back a few steps or use higher value treats/toys to help them stay focused. Make training fun, be goofy, intersperse toys with real training equipment; after all, the dog doesn’t know the difference from a dumbbell and a Frisbee. Dogs play rough with each other so you need to incorporate body pats, goosing, using your animated voice to get them to play with you while learning. You don’t want to be Ferris Bueler’s math teacher, boring, boring, boring.






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.