Last week some of the team from NTU Canine Centre spent the day at Crufts. If you’ve never been before you really must check it out – everything you have ever imagined for your dog is there! Be that diamond encrusted scissors, miniature leather sofas or brilliant dog toys/beds/ collars and so on. It isn’t just about shopping though… There are so many experts from the different canine fields that you can’t help but learn lots too. The KC do so much work to promote responsible dog ownership and to really make a difference to dogs. Indeed, this is what our Partnership with The KC is all about… How we can help make a difference to dogs and owners everywhere and promote kind, fair and ethical training.
This year was extra special as Emily Crookes (who teaches our agility classes here) was competing with her dog Lexie in the Obedience Ring. Emily came 2nd – seriously impressive when A) they only started competing this winter and B) Emily trains herself – and her team won the inter regional competition!
As an agility fan, the icing on the Crufts cake had to be the top level agility. It never fails to inspire me! The partnership between handlers and their dog is amazing – they make it look like poetry in motion (in my mind this is how I look when I am running my two at agility – in reality it was likened recently to a beginner rider buying a £20k horse and hoping for the best on a cross country course!). But what I love most about dog training is the journey. Its not about the winning really – its about the journey that gets you to where you want to be. Our journey with our dog is totally unique and for me it’s what keeps me wanting to learn more. Adapting what we do to help make things clearer for out dogs. One of the handlers in the Champ Final on Sunday evening started off only a few years ago in Grade One (indeed that is where we all start) but when you think of the journey he has gone on (in really what is such a short space of time) with his dogs it’s incredible.
We don’t always have to be at the very top in our field, but we can always be the best we can be for our dogs. I think that is all our dogs would ever ask of us. When I think back to advise I was given when we got our first family dog, a delightfully naughty rescue, I realise just how much I have learnt over the years. Indeed, it was the advise of a stranger (and it wasn’t good advise) that made me want to find something different – a better way of training. I joined my first training club shortly after that and I never looked back!
This is why I feel so passionately about ensuring that everyone has the option to attend ethical, humane and indeed fun dog training classes. Sadly, a recent TV show, aired just before the Crufts final, used outdated, unethical techniques that only scare dogs. The worrying part is how much impact TV programmes can have on the dog owning public.
I know I harp on about it a lot but this is why humane education is so very important. We need to lead by example – its not about shaming those who do things differently but instead about encouraging everyone to use kind, fair and ethical dog training. You and your dog will have so much fun on the journey and the results make every single moment worth it.
What began as a short blog about Crufts has turned into a longer more thoughtful one… So ask yourself, what is your reason for having a dog?