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Agility training classes for dogs offered

January 15, 2014
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Every Tuesday morning, Paula Clegg (and her dog Penny) and Linda Stark (and her dog Sandy) travel from Pine Island to Pleasant Run Dog Training in Punta Gorda for dog agility training classes with Don Soucy.

Soucy is a 13-year veteran of agility training and agility competition and has the designation "MACH" Title Status. MACH stands for Master Agility Champion. To obtain MACH Title status, a trainer's dog must exhibit superior performance on the agility course. Speed and consistency are the two major qualities that denote "superior performance." He works closely with students and their dogs to achieve excellent results.

"I had started agility training back in Michigan," Clegg said. "I found out about Don by Googling him and discovered he's quite the trainer. He and his dog Raven have a couple of MACH's (the highest designation in agility training).

"The benefits are many," Clegg continued. "It's one of the events where both the owner and the dog get some physical exercise. Most importantly anyone can do this because there are so many levels. There are beginner classes, intermediate classes and advanced classes. You can even get into competitions if you want to take it that far."

"We have about 40 students right now," Soucy said. "Dogs can begin training very young and classes are set up from beginners to advanced and competitive training. You have to make it exciting and fun for the dogs and fun for the owners.

"We believe in a method that doesn't force dogs to do anything and it's all reward based training," Soucy continued. "Patience is a important facet in training your dog. It should be fun for both of you! Dogs do not ask to come to class, if they make a mistake it is because the handler did not train it properly, or the next obstacle was not conveyed to them clearly. Harsh corrections will never benefit a dog in training and is not allowed within our classes."

Fact Box



Programs taught at Pleasant Run.

Don Soucy

Agility & focus instructor

Pleasant Run Dog Training Facility

Punta Gorda Florida

1-941-637-8779 house

1-603-493-5254 cell

Pleasant Run Kennels

- Dog Training and Grooming

25310 Zemel Road Punta Gorda Fl 33955

Telephone: (941) 575-4022

"This is especially good for rescue dogs and dogs with confidence issues," Clegg said. "My dog Penny is a rescue and she was afraid of everything. She's an entirely different dog after these classes."



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