Friday, 16 October 2009

How it all began!

It all began when I was 11 years old. My parents had bought a gorgeous little Cairn Terrier puppy. His name was Khymzal - Kim for short. One day, whilst up at my grandmothers, Kim got out and ran round the estate. My mother and I chased him and when she finally caught him, she gave him a whacking with his lead!  I stood there watching her and I remember thinking "But that's not going to teach him to come back!" The following week I went up to my local library seeking books on dog training and my lifelong interest began.   You will see from this photo that not only did I have a long line attached to his collar (he had been learning what "Kimmy come!" meant) but that I was also wearing a very fetching little padded anorak and a fluffy brown bonnet!  But I was just eleven years old so please forgive my fashion sense!

25 years later I held my own dog training classes for the general public on that very same park and held them there for about 10 years.  I also held classes on 2 other parks, actually working on behalf of the council who subsidised them so that local people could do them free of charge!  Oh those were the days!  Everyone was taught up to the Kennl Club Good Citizen Dog Bronze award standard with a large number going on to do their Silver and many more also staying on to do their Gold!  I taught 'Practical Basic Obedience', not competitive style obedience.  Many different breeds of dogs attended my classes, from Newfoundlands, Mastiffs and Great Danes down to Yorkshire Terriers and Pomeranians!  No type was barred and if it was a Pit Bull, I put in the book as a Staffy cross.  ;o)  Never had any bother with them in the class as it happens.  (I did once in a private lesson but that will be a story related in a future post)  I had in my class mainly pet dogs but also quite a few show dogs as well whose owners were intelligent enough to realise that their dogs could tell the difference between 'sit' and 'stand' and would not sit when told to stand in a show ring!I also held further classes in two other towns in nearby Derbyshire - only for a couple of years each but during the ten year period when I held the original classes.  Dog training was more or less a full time hobby for me!  I was the only one in the area who actually gave away handouts and newsletters plus I banned the use of choke chains from the start.  I only ever had one person object to that rule and as he only have a 14 week old Doberman pup (such a baby to have the inch thick metal choker on!) I gave him a withering look and explained in words of less than two syllables exactly why he did not need such a contraption on such a delicate neck and that the only way that he would get to use one in my classes was if he wore it instead!  He was also told that it was my class and my rules.  I never did see him again but then again there are none so blind as those who cannot see!
Anyone who wanted to do even more with their dog would be invited into our 'Fun Dog Class' where I would teach distance control, send-aways (being sent away from the owner to a given point, increasing the distance slowly), searching for tiny articles dropped within a square marked out by poles (search square) and further obedience exercise plus fun agility over equipment I had bought or had the Other Half make for me.  We also did retrieves. 

The next post will be about a dog I met through being a dog training instructor who gave me one of my biggest challenges ever.  I was going to include her in this post but she deserves a post of her own.

No comments:

Post a Comment