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Dog trainer expands obedience school to new location

By Staff | Sep 15, 2015

Dogs line up for class to begin at Paw & Hand Obedience school located on Rt. 405 between Muncy and Hughesville. The next open session for orientation is scheduled for Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. with classes starting the following week.

MUNCY – Muncy is home to many things, but many might not know that it is home to a professional dog obedience school.

A passionate dog lover, Lana Kline from Muncy has over 35 years of experience training dogs and has earned titles in dog obedience training. She uses her hands to make commands and teaches others how to do the same. No force is ever used and dogs learn how to respond. “Problem dogs become a pleasure,” said Kline. “Our methods deepen the human canine blood.” She makes training fun as she demonstrated some commands with her prize winning dog, Jypsy, a Border Collie, a breed known for their ability to easily adjust to commands.

Now located on Route 405 between Muncy and Hughesville, the name “Paw and Hand Obedience” is unique in itself. Inspired by a photo of a musher’s hand holding the paw of one of his dog sleds, Lana had a friend design a logo holding the two in the Yin Yang symbol.

Pets learn to walk nicely on a leash, to sit down, to wait, to stay, and to come. Through a series of sessions and classes the dogs will learn how to formally heel, jump, retrieve, drop on recall, scent discrimination, and respond to signals and go-outs. Ultimately they will learn to do a three minute sit stay and a five minute stay with the handler out of sight.

Two of the instructors that work with Kline have decades of therapy work and some of the pet classes prep teams to study for and take the CGC to compete. Jeni Mellinger, an assistant trainer, works with her two year old labrador retriever who is now competing at an “open level.”

Lana Kline from Paw & Hand obedience school demonstrates walking without a leash with her dog, Jypsy by using hand signals.

Marilyn Myers said she has taken five sets of classes so far with her dog whom she is training to compete in dog shows. New sessions begin every six weeks. Sometimes it will take several sessions for a dog to learn, others can learn in fewer depending on the breed and personality of the dog.

“Lana is really good with the dogs,” said Rebecca Dewire from Allenwood who has been bringing two of her “rescued mutts” to Paw and Hand. Competition dog students come over and over to improve their skills and practice before going to the next level. There are generally four levels of competition. “We build on different levels,” Kline reported, “starting with handling on and off the leash.” Verbal and hand signals are used to teach “stand still”, “sit”, and “stay down”. Props are also used such as toys, food, guide sticks and buckets.

Often pet owners get a dog that is “not suitable” for them, and they should always do research first on the dog according to Kline. This is Kline’s biggest challenge because if the dog is not well matched to the owner’s personality or lifestyle, some aggression issues can occur and they can become “unpredictable.” However, all breeds may be suitable for obedience training. “Most trials will accept mixed breeds in any performance event,” said Kline.

Kline began training in her living room home before obtaining space in Muncy Township. Initially she opened on John Brady Drive, then moved to another level after acquiring several new customers and a waiting list.

An open orientation with demonstrations is always set up before each training session at no cost for anyone “who wants to come and see what we’re all about.” The next one is scheduled for September 30 at 7 p.m. and classes will start the following week. For more information and class schedules or to register, contact Kline at 570-772-1414. Generally classes are held three times a week, each lasting about one hour. Usually about 45 students are enrolled in each session, in about 16 to 20 different classes. Also on board are two therapy instructors, with decades of therapy work. Many of their dogs have gone on to earn titles, testing their skills for competition.

Lana Kline, (right) owner of Paw & Hand Dog Obedience School recently acquired another ribbon from one of the judges with her prized 7 year old Border Collie, Jypsy at an obedience training competition in Westmoreland County.

Kline added, “We’re balanced trainers, extremely positive, but we do let our dogs know when they make a mistake – then we help them to be right. We make it fun!”