Down District Dog Training Club
  Obedience and Agility Dog Training Club

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    Want to know more about DDDTC? Read our frequently asked questions below and hopefully it will answer your questions.

    Q:How old does my puppy have to be before I can start training it?

    The sooner you start the better as without early socialisation, your puppy may grow up fearful or strangers and/or other dogs. Also, young puppies are very receptive to learning new things and you will learn how to prevent bad habits from developing. Most puppies come to classes after they have completed their vaccinations.

    Q:My pup is 7 months, is he too old to join a puppy class?

    Puppy classes work best for young pups. If your young dog is over 6 months old, we would recommend that you bring him to the Companion Dog Training Classes


    Q:Can my children take part in the training of our pup or young dog?

    Children are welcome to attend the training classes, particularly the puppy classes which tend to involve more than one family member anyway. However dogs can be unpredictable animals and some of the adolescent dogs may have behavioural problems, so it is essential that accompanying children are of an age where they can sit and concentrate and not want to run around.

    Q:I have 2 dogs, can I bring them both to classes?

    It is possible if there are 2 handlers. However we would not recommend bringing 2 dogs from the same household to the same class, as the dogs will nearly always be more interested in each other than in their handler/owner. This can make training very difficult and handlers may become frustrated and disillusioned with their lack of progress. It would be better to bring one dog and then apply the same training methods to the other one.

    Q:What are the range of courses available and how often are they held throughout the year?
    • The puppy courses last for six weeks and there could be 6-7 of these in a year depending on demand
    • The Companion Dog courses are on-going but we ask that handlers sign up initially for 8 weeks to show commitment to training their dogs.There is usually a start date at the beginning of each month.
    • The Silver/Gold pet dog training, competition obedience training and agility training are all on-going throughout the year.

    Q:How much do the courses cost?

    As of the 1st Jan 2010, the 6 week puppy courses cost £40 and the 8 week Introductory Companion  class costs £50 - these charges include a £15 membership fee. The other classes cost £4 per session. There may be reductions for owners training across the different disciplines or who wish to train several dogs

    Q:What training methods do you employ?

    Our training methods are motivational and reward-based. Dogs are rewarded for offering correct responses (positive reinforcement).Dogs will repeat behaviours that they find rewarding. Rewards are mainly food or tug games.

    Q:Do I need to do the basic obedience course before I can do agility?

    Yes - we would ask that dogs have at least completed the 8 week Companion Dog course, either with this club or with another recognised organisation, before being considered for agility training. Agility is highly distracting for dogs, so it is essential that owners can play, train and interact with their dogs in a stimulating environment

    Q:At what age can a dog start agility training?

    Much of the early training (groundwork/shadow handling) can be done from a young age as it does not involve the use of agility equipment. Younfg dogs can be taught to follow their handler's body language to negotiate through and round the wings of jumps

    Young dogs, from about 6 months, can be run over jump regulators on the ground and can be taught the end behaviour on contact equipment or to balance on a 'wobble' board. Weave training would not normally be introduced until the dog is a year old.

    However most newcomers to agility are unlikely to start agility training until their dog is 10 -12 months old.

    Q:At what age can my son/daughter start doing agility with our dog?

    Much will depend on the age and temperament of your son/daughter and the type and nature of the dog they will be handling. Some children as young as 8-10 can cope with training but they generally will have had some background of working with animals eg horse-riding or working with a parent's dog.However they would be expected to complete a basic obedience class first, during which time the trainer will assess their ability and maturity to continue with agility training.

    Q:What do I need to bring with me to class?

    Apart from your dog of course!

    •  Normal clip lead and collar. Haltis/headcollars if used.
    • Tasty treats are a must -something like bits of chicken, sausages, cheese. Food must be different from normal kibble or bonio type treats. The fussier your dog, the more tasty your treats have to be.
    • Something to carry your treats in eg a bum bag or small pouch in your pocket.
    • Favourite toy - tuggy type is best and small enough to be easily carried

    Q:What should I wear?

    Obedience training is mainly done indoors, so flat shoes/trainers would be suitable.

    Short fleece/waistcoat with pockets -long flappy coats get in the way.

    Lots of layers in winter as the hut can be very cold.

    Agility training is outside, therefore all of the above plus weather appropriate gear is required.

    Suitable footwear is important especially if weather is wet - competitors wear studded hockey type shoes

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    Majority of agility photographs courtesy of Simon Rogers