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Is your dog ready for the outdoors?

Contributed photo Joel, a German shepherd owned by Sharolyn Siever, is a recent "magna cum laude" graduate of the obedience class.

Spring has arrived - a time to enjoy the great outdoors.

However, the instinct to run can be a time of great danger to dogs and new puppies, which are not responsive to owners' commands.

To help along this line are experienced instructors, who volunteer to provide continuing education for the canine family members (and their owner/trainers) by conducting a series of weekly dog obedience training classes.

The classes are given for six consecutive weeks with each session having a separate kindergarten class for puppies and another class for adult dogs.

The six one-hour classes will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. each Monday starting on April 12 and continuing through May 17.

The curriculum will include socialization, basic obedience, and when appropriate, behavior problems will be addressed.

The final 15 minutes of the hour-long classes include a "recess" period, during which the dogs and the trainers will develop confidence by having fun on the agility course, consisting of hurdles, ramps, tunnels, and a teeter-totter. Only "gentle and reward" training methods are used.

The classes will take place in the Lakes Area Recreation's gymnasium, accessible through the county library's entrance off of Fillmore Street.

The fee for each series of six classes is $50 payable to Lakes Area Recreation (or LAR). To enroll in the class, call Donna Rae Pugh, (320) 762-8980 or email