Lori Jo Turner is “tapping into the unconditional love of dogs” to continue her passion as a canine trainer.
Josie, her adopted border collie, is credited with a return to a childhood passion.
Turner has initiated Agape Dog Training, classes now being held at the Akeley Regional Community Center. Courses are limited to six dogs and owners.
The training includes beginner obedience, with “homework” involved.
• Dogs graduating from the beginner class will know how to heel on a leash and figure eight, and understand commands - sit, down, stay, stand and recall, along with clicker and shaping training. A class is currently underway, with another eight-week class beginning Saturday, May 4.
• Novice obedience covers the same exercises as the beginner, with the addition of off-leash exercises. This class begins Saturday, April 13.
• Open obedience is the second level of these exercises.
• Utility leadership is the highest level of obedience and includes signal exercise, scent discrimination, directed retrieve, moving stand and examination and directed jumping.
• Rally obedience is a newer dog sport that is a fun way to use obedience training in a more relaxed way than competition obedience. This class also begins April 13.
• Foundational agility is patterned after equestrian show jumping, combining the dog’s agility and confidence with a handler’s control on an obstacle course. The course, holding spectator appeal, begins in April, but is currently filled.
• She also introduces Canine Good Citizen, which promotes responsible pet ownership, the dog completing a series of 10 exercises. Among these are accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, walking through a crowd, reaction to another dog and other distractions and supervised separation.
Turner, who grew up on a small farm, began training dogs at 12, teaching at 14, determining early this would be her profession.
Life would send her down some detours, but ultimately find her at the “commanding end” of a leash.
In 2006, she headed to an animal shelter in search of a black and white dog. The year-old border collie, sporting one blue eye and one brown, found a new home.
Training Josie – “the diva” - led her back to her role as a teacher.
The name of her business, Agape, stems from “the need of us all to be loved unconditionally.
Dogs are a great example of this, she explained.
“We’re not all meant to be dog trainers, but we all appreciate a well-trained dog.”
Turner plans to work with other trainers, sharing space and equipment.