ANDERSON, Ind. — Max rolls around on the floor. He naps for a bit. Then, he starts playfully pawing at his neighbor, tail in full wag.
When it’s go-time, however, the young pup gets right with the program, paying attention and responding to simple commands. The 11-week-old Labrador puppy is already acquiring the demeanor of a well-behaved dog, thanks to the love and care of the Jariwala family – with a helpful assist from puppy kindergarten.
Every Tuesday night for five weeks this summer, the Jariwalas loaded into their car in Fishers and made a beeline for the National Guard Armory in Anderson. That’s where Anderson Obedience Training Club offers classes. The not-for-profit organization seeks to promote dog training and responsible dog ownership.
The Jariwalas made the puppy project a family affair.
“It is an exciting ride. Just like a baby. After he came along, we had to make so many adjustments,” said Ritesh.
Ritesh, along with his wife, Jayana, 10-year-old Aakash and 15-year-old Aditya got Max on a Friday and brought him to kindergarten the following Tuesday.
Training the family
Michael Kennedy has been teaching the class for puppies 7 weeks to 5 months for years.
“It’s more training for the family than the dog,” said Kennedy. “I try to give them a good background as to what to do and what not to do.” Kennedy brings Becky, his 3-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, to class with him – the model of a well-behaved dog.
At puppy kindergarten, Kennedy seeks to get owners to consider how the dog looks at his world, and what the best methods of training are with that perspective in mind.
“I teach about dog behaviors and how the dog will look at the family unit as a pack,” said Kennedy. “If we get them as puppies and start them out right and people are knowledgeable, it reduces a whole lot of problems.” Part of starting them out right is providing consistency in training, and Kennedy applauds families like the Jariwalas that take on the training challenge with linked arms.