Coff Harbour Dog Training Club

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Coffs Harbour Dog Training Club has been based in Coffs Harbour for over 20 years. The club is run by volunteer members and is open to any members of the community who wish to train their dog. Throughout the year the club holds many statewide and national competitions. The dog trainers use reward based techniques, with food, toys or game play and teach socialisation with other people and dogs in a safe setting.

How did you first get involved with Coffs Harbour Dog Training, and what is the history behind the club?
I joined the club five years ago when I was interested in training my dog in agility.
The club has been going for over 20 years, providing a service to our community in training dogs to be good canine companions. We are part of Dogs NSW and run obedience trials three times a year. We moved to Rex Hardaker Oval about 10 years ago, where we hold our training classes, workshops and competitions.

What are the aims of the club?
We assist people to train their dogs and participate in the sport of obedience and agility. We also provide a service to the Coffs Harbour community and their dogs by helping create well socialised and well behaved pets.

What is RallyO, and how is it different?
RallyO is a competitive sport for people and their dogs. It is a discipline that shows teamwork between people and their dogs for doing the required tasks at each station. The owner is able to praise the dog during RallyO, whereas other obedience trials are more regimented, with the dog working without encouragement but still as part of a team effort.

In your opinion, how important is it to have your dog trained?
It is very important, as the dog needs to be under control in the community setting and also needs to learn to act safely around people.
Legislation is also becoming more onerous, and owners of dogs must be responsible for the dogs’ actions or suffer the legal consequences.

There is an event in March; where will it take place, and what is involved?
The trial will be held at Rex Hardaker grounds in Toormina on the 13th and 14th March. It involves judges and competitors from all over NSW as well as interstate, who stay for the weekend and compete in the disciplines of agility, jumping, obedience and RallyO.
All our volunteers work hard all weekend setting up equipment, running the trial and assisting by the rings.
We also run one of the Royal Qualifying Heats (RQH) for the NSW Champion Agility Dog of the Year at this trial.

How many instructors does the club have? Can instructors obtain formal qualifications?
The club has about ten trainers at different levels of training and experience. Formal courses have been held by Dogs NSW over the years, but now more formal qualifications are becoming available, such as Delta Dog Training Certificate 4.

How do the official body, Dogs NSW, support the work of your club?
They assist with insurance, training, advice and participation in ongoing issues such as input to government bodies on changing dog laws. They also provide the basis and rules for all trials to be run in NSW.

How many lessons does a dog need to become trained?
This varies with the breed and type of training that is required and on the intelligence of the dog and how the person who owns the dog can relate to the dog.
We have the first basic course, “Canine College of eight weeks, which provides knowledge to the owner on how to train their dog with basic commands (sit, stay, come) and socialisation with other dogs. Sometimes if a dog has a behavioural issue, we refer them to an expert for one on one training.

What are the basic principles when training a dog?
We base our training on reward based training techniques, with food, toys or a game play and teach socialisation with other people and dogs in a safe setting.
Interview with Lisa Hagelstein.

PHOTO CREDIT: Pohler photography

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