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Kids will hold leashes, not other way around

A few parents have the wrong idea when they call the Bay Vista Adult Center for information about their summer obedience school for children.

"I've had several parents call me and ask me what we're going to teach their kids to make them obedient," said Patricia Newman, center supervisor.

Though the obedience part applies only to dogs, Kids Canine Class is designed for pet owners age 10 and up. Beginning Wednesday, a canine training officer from the St. Petersburg Police Department will help the youngsters teach Fido some basic commands.

Most dog obedience classes target adults. In this one, organizers have divided the program into shorter segments. But the repetition and level of practice could still tax younger attention spans.

In fact, the kids may be working harder than the dogs, Newman said.

"The dog really isn't going to learn a lot in class," Newman said. "The handler has to practice every day with the dog for a minimum of an hour. It's just repeat, repeat, repeat. That's one of the reasons it's geared toward older children."

The fee is $8 for St. Petersburg residents, plus $2 for a city Recreation Department registration card. Non-residents must pay an additional $2.40. Also required are a county dog license and proof of shots.

Newman said any child would appreciate having a more socially correct dog. "Disciplined dogs are just better to be around. The dog should sit, not run out in the road and get run over by a car."

Classes will take place every Wednesday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. through July 7 at the Bay Vista Adult Center, 7000 Fourth St. S. For information, call 893-7124.