Free dog obedience classes taught in Horseshoe Bend

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Lace Cruze now teaches free dog obedience classes in Horseshoe Bend.
Glynda Lomax

Lace Cruze, a dog trainer formerly of Myron, recently started offering free dog obedience classes on Saturday mornings in Horseshoe Bend.

“My passion is working with people and their dogs, helping them have a better relationship. I didn’t want to give that up when I came up here, so I thought ‘How can I get to know my community?’” Cruze recently came to Franklin from South Carolina for her parents.

Also in attendance at Saturday’s class was Cliff Summey, of Horseshoe Bend, who trains therapy service dogs. “I have attended every class she has offered,” Summey said. “Most of what Lace talks about is for beginners, or basic stuff, but she shares a lot of information on dog handling, that in my opinion, helps with dog training in general, no matter what their age or how long you’ve been doing it.”

“Kelly Smith and Cliff Summey are the reason this came together,” Cruze advised. “I ran into Cliff a few visits back and I’ve been helping him with a few training challenges over the last year. I talked with him that I thought it would be fun to do some classes. He put me in touch with Kelly, and Kelly put it on her Facebook page.”

When asked who can most benefit from the free classes, Cruze responded, “The ones that benefit the most from this are the dogs because if the owners learn how they’re not communicating, why their dog is behaving the way it is, they’ll keep their dogs. The main reason people lose dogs in a community is excessive barking and the dog is barking because it’s unfulfilled and misunderstood. A lot of the barking is boredom and distress. We think they’re just over stimulated. No, they don’t have a leader in their home so the dog is put in the position of being the leader, so that means now they are responsible for everything, so they go around barking at everything because the average dog was never meant to be the leader. They were meant to be in a home with someone guiding them through life.”

When asked about her two German Shepherds, Rainey and Dreamer, who watched quietly from a blanket under a nearby tree in perfect obedience during the entire class, Cruze replied, “I hear all the time, ‘your dogs never bark,’ and I tell them, because they don’t have a reason. Cliff’s dogs are a good example of what you get when you give your dogs good leadership. They’re very quiet as well.”

Cruze joked that she has been training dogs since she was five-years-old when she picked out her first German Shepherd puppy. Her mom, who lives in Franklin, was a German Shepherd breeder from Cruze’s childhood up until just recently.

Cruze said that she has no plan to end the free obedience classes any time soon. “My idea is to contact iCare in Melbourne and set up some Saturday classes there if they are interested, and rotate Saturdays between Horseshoe and Melbourne.”

If you are interested in attending the free dog obedience classes, Cruze asks everyone to please note the following: “For everyone’s safety, all dogs should be kept a full leash length apart. If your dog is so rowdy that you find this impossible, then please leave the dog at home and come to the class. We will go over techniques that you can practice at home and prepare for the next class. If your dog is human or dog aggressive, they should be wearing a cage muzzle in public until the behavior is completely corrected.”

The next class will be in Horseshoe Bend at Garden Club Park, 865 S. Bend Drive, behind the shopping center on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 9 to 10 a.m. Anyone can attend, no signup required. Dogs must be on leashes and kept four feet apart. In case of emergencies, any class cancellations will be posted on Facebook – see the Kelly Aco (Animal Control) Facebook profile or call Horseshoe Bend Animal Control at 870-670-4474. Cruze recommends bringing a chair. “As the class has been growing, we are running out of places to sit. And bring water for your dog.”

“If you’re nervous about bringing your dog, just come to the class by yourself. Ninety percent of the training is for the human. It really is. The dogs are fast. If you understand how to communicate with the dog, the dogs pick it up fast.”

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