KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation dog obedience training classes are held every Saturday, rain, snow, or shine, at the Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation Motor Pool on Pulaski Barracks. Classes are for one hour, with time slots between 9 a.m. to noon and are for dogs starting at eight-weeks of age.
Led by certified dog-obedience trainer and instructor, Raffaella Burriss (who goes by Raffie), the informative classes aim to help dog owners successfully train their four-legged friends in a safe and engaging environment using positive training techniques that help develop dogs into the exceptional pets and family members that they are meant to be.
Raffie has been training dogs since 2004 while working with her own dog in K9 Search and Rescue, the American Red Cross Pet Visitation Program at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) and started teaching dog obedience classes at the Kaiserslautern Rod and Gun Club. She has been working with Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation since 2015. She is an American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator as well as an AKC Temperament Test (ATT) Evaluator.
The training classes are set up around an agility course, which provides the dog owners and their dogs fun and challenging obstacles that help them work on developing trust and improving communication, while also building up the self-confidence of the dogs that participate in the weekly classes.
“I have an agility course set up because I think that working with your dog and having fun with your dog at the same time, is very important,” said Raffie.
For Martin Killinger, a materiel examiner for the Defense Logistics Agency, and his dog, Penny, coming to training with Raffie has made all the difference in Penny’s confidence and his ability to communicate with her.
“Penny would always be right beside me, afraid and scared of everything,” said Killinger. “Since we’ve been coming to the training on Saturdays, she has become more engaged with the world around her, she has been learning, she’s more social and, she pretty much does whatever I say.”
Killinger’s dog Penny, Raffie points out, is a great example for the new dogs who come to class. She describes how Penny used to be timid, but to look at her whiz through the agility course now, you’d never know that –she is a different dog, full of confidence. In fact, these days during classes, Martin and Penny often spend time helping the new dogs and owners try different obstacles on the course by demonstrating how to do them (and sharing treats)!
“Communication with your dog is key. A lot of people don’t know how to do that,” said Killinger. “Raffie has a lot of tips and advice on how to get you to better communicate with and train your dog.”
Raffie is an exceptional dog trainer who not only observes the interactions between dogs and their owners during each class, but also takes the time to engage with every single one of them. She provides invaluable advice not only for the agility course, but also for the home environment, and is always ready to re-direct both the dog and the owner, whenever necessary. She is prepared to meet both dog and owner where they are and help train them both on communication and living skills.
“People should know, before they start coming to the training, that they will have to adjust how they engage with their dog, and they need to understand that dog obedience classes are not a ‘quick fix’. Owners need to work with their dogs daily,” explained Raffie.
“My dog loves to come to training on Saturdays,” one dog owner said. “His favorite part is the playtime afterwards when all the dogs in class get to run around and play with each other in a separate fenced in area. While they play, us owners/humans exchange helpful information about living in Germany with our dogs as well as information on where to buy the best treats, find the best veterinarians and pet-friendly places to go, and so on. It’s very nice.”
When asked what she hopes that people and pets get out of her training classes Raffie responded, “I hope that people learn to enjoy their dogs by engaging with them, and having fun with them, whether it be through basic training classes, agility training, search and rescue, or even hunting,” said Raffie. “And always remember, dogs are living creatures -once you purchase a dog, you have a life commitment.”
The Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation dog obedience training classes for dogs are held Saturdays at the Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation Motor Pool, Bldg. 2902 on Pulaski Barracks. Classes are one hour, with time slots between 9 a.m. to noon depending on the age, level of training and size of the dog. Cost is $15 per dog. This fee must be paid in advance by close of business Friday either in person at Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation or by calling 493-4117 or 0631-3406-4117.
For more information about the dog obedience training classes, go to: https://kaiserslautern.armymwr.com/programs/outdoor-recreation
https://dvidshub.net/r/5tyagi Martin Killinger, with the Defense Logistics Agency distribution services, and Raffie Burriss, a certified dog obedience trainer/instructor, discuss the importance of dog obedience training on Pulaski Barracks, Kaiserslautern, Germany, Apr. 29, 2023. Dog obedience training is hosted by Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation on a weekly basis. (U.S. Army Reserve video by SGT. Logan Swift)