Level 1 is the first of two classes that focus on basic control of the dog and house manners. It is the ideal class for the pet owner. This class can also be of benefit to those who are interested in competing in performance events with their dogs, as they can build on the skills they learn in this class. Handlers are taught basic concepts of dog training, such as how to show a dog what to do, proper use and timing of positive reinforcement, and how to use, but not abuse, corrections (negative reinforcement). Emphasis is placed on lifesaving skills, such as coming when called, as well as skills that make a pet easier to live with, such as sitting for a pill or a treat, staying for short periods when directed, walking on a loose leash without pulling, and behaving politely around other dogs.
Prerequisites: The dog must have a fully mature attention span. The age at which this occurs varies from breed to breed and individual to individual, but usually does not occur until the puppy is at least seven or eight months old, and often occurs later. Puppies and young dogs that cannot pay attention for an entire hour-long class should be enrolled in Puppy Kindergarten. All NDTC classes require proof of current rabies vaccination for dogs age six months or older.