Training a dog can be a daunting task, especially if the pet suffers from serious problems, like aggression.  Help is available to those struggling with their canines, and pet owners had a preview of what a local club has to offer at Keystone Canine Training Club’s Expo and Open House Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Keystone Canine Training Club recently moved to a new location, at 5167 Brownsville Road in Baldwin Borough, due to the former facility in Bethel Park not being large enough for their clientele of dogs.

Dan Goldberg, board member and office manager for the club, said there are multiple purposes for the nonprofit organization. 

“We train dogs to be well-mannered, and we start with puppy obedience,” he said.  “We get them socialized and can move them on to adult obedience.”

The club’s number of dogs has nearly doubled.  Keystone Canine had 15 classes before and now has about 30, with about eight dogs in each class, Goldberg said.  “Any more than that and the dogs tend to get distracted.”

Goldberg has been with the club for 15 years, and has seen growth and progress within the organization.  “We had to move because we had too many dogs for the other building,” he said.  He added that everyone who works at the club is a volunteer, and their hearts are in the work.  “Something important to remember is to have fun with your dog.”

The event was an opportunity to give exposure to the club, and there was a turnout of about 100 people before the event was even over, according to volunteer Mary Benedetti.  “This is definitely helping (the club),” she said.

The event included free workshops on dog training topics like getting your dog’s attention, the “come” and “stay” commands, and also had free door prizes, demonstrations of dog activities including an agility obstacle course, vendor and groomer booths, and free samples of dog treats and products.

The club’s main courses focus on obedience and agility.  Goldberg said there are separate areas for the small and larger dogs.  “The teacup (small) dogs sometimes are intimidated by the larger dogs,” he explained.  Dogs that succeed in the agility training move onto compete in formal competitions.

Marian Roznowski, a basic obedience instructor, said she hopes the event increases exposure to the club so people know they have somewhere to turn to for canine training.  “We have to get people to train their dogs,” she said.  “Sometimes it’s not just a sit-come-stay issue.  We have so many classes, it’s hard to find an issue that’s not covered in our training.”

The club also offers training to help canines become therapy dogs, so they can participate in visits to hospitals, assisted living facilities and schools for demonstrations such as dance routines, agility performances and even “dog weddings.”

These dogs are known as the K-9ers, and are certified by Therapy Dogs International, and they also are approved as Canine Good Citizens by the American Kennel Club.

Caroline Chapman, a volunteer, said they don’t advertise because word of mouth usually lets people know the service is available.  “People call and make a request, and we come.”

Other training classes offered include Puppy Kindergarten, Kids Basic Obedience, which helps children understand responsibilities of pet ownership; Nose Work, which teaches owners how to encourage and develop their dog’s sensing abilities; basic and puppy obedience classes; Novice Obedience; Rally Obedience, which includes an obstacle course; agility; aggression; and even a class to help socialize shy dogs.

For more information on the club’s classes, visit the club’s Website.