Learn­ing to sit is just the start

The Invercargill Eye - - A LENDING HAND - JOANNA GRIF­FITHS

Dogs were made for walk­ing and that’s what own­ers should do.

The South­land Dog Train­ing Club are call­ing for peo­ple to get out and about with their dogs.

The club will be host­ing an agility cham­pi­onship on Novem­ber 19 at their clu­b­rooms at Turn­bull Thomp­son Park.

Trainer Marie McDon­ald hoped the com­pe­ti­tion would in­spire oth­ers to get ac­tive and build a re­la­tion­ship with their dogs.

Dogs and their own­ers would run through 10 to 25 dif­fer­ent ob­sta­cles in­clud­ing fenceweav­ing, tun­nels and jumps.

‘‘It’s pretty amaz­ing to watch. ‘‘I think peo­ple watch this kind of sport and think it is im­pos­si­ble for them, but it isn’t.’’

Ba­sic obe­di­ence train­ing was the foun­da­tion of the sport.

‘‘Once they get that, there is al­most noth­ing we can’t teach them.’’

South­land had a high dog pop­u­la­tion and it was im­por­tant that own­ers were ac­tive with their an­i­mals, she said.

‘‘Dogs need to ex­er­cise and they need to be so­cial.’’

The key to a healthy re­la­tion­ship with a dog was much like with a hu­man – com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

This was why train­ing was so im­por­tant.

‘‘When peo­ple have a well­trained dog and they don’t have to worry about its be­hav­iour, they want to do more.’’

Elaine Youthed couldn’t think of any­thing bet­ter than spend­ing a Sun­day morn­ing jump­ing hoops with her best mate, Time.

The ex-SPCA head­ing dog was once shy, a vic­tim of abuse.

‘‘She used to shy away from ev­ery­thing when she first started.’’

Now she sat anx­ious and ex­cited on the edge of the field, im­pa­tiently wait­ing for her turn on the agility course, she said.

‘‘When they start open­ing up and trust­ing peo­ple again and you are re­spon­si­ble for that, it’s just a re­ally cool feel­ing.’’

It was a grunty sport but any­one with a dog could do it, she said.

‘‘We have big dogs, lit­tle dogs, young dog own­ers and even 80-year-olds who come along.’’

The Agility Cham­pi­onship will run on the Novem­ber 19 from 9am. Spec­ta­tors are wel­come.

Obe­di­ence train­ing and agility train­ing are of­fered through the South­land Dog Train­ing Club.

Agility train­ing is held ev­ery Sun­day from 9.30am to 12.30pm at at the club, lo­cated at Turn­bull Thomp­son Park.

JOANNA GRIF­FITHS/FAIR­FAX NZ

South­land Dog Train­ing Club trainer Marie McDon­ald puts her bor­der col­lie through an agility course.

JOANNA GRIF­FITHS/FAIR­FAX NZ

Marie McDon­ald puts her head­ing dog Lad­die through an agility course

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