I first met Judith in mid 2005 when I spotted her running one of her gundog training sessions on Alfreton Park. My pack of Dalmatians had become rather out of hand and although perfectly well behaved in the show ring they were unruly and disobedient when out on walks. Judith’s outside classes were just what was needed so I went over and introduced myself and enrolled the whole lot at once!
The diversity of the classes, in that there are several each week on different days, venues and times, meant that I could give all of my dogs some work each work and their general behaviour soon showed a great improvement. I found Judith very flexible in her approach to the training believing that the methods and equipment used for each client should be geared to the individual and that there was no hard and fast rules. There are only 3 prohibitions as far as I recall and they are corporal punishment, choke chains and playing with sticks! (although she isn’t very keen on flexileads either)
Judith operates the KCGC training scheme to, although clients are free to opt out of this if they prefer. Personally I find this a great incentive to persist with the work and decided to systematically put my gang through all the grades. The last test, the Gold, if done properly, is actually quite stretching even for an experienced handler and the sense of achievement when a difficult dog eventually passes this one is really fantastic.
After 4 years my Spotty (yes, honestly!), Conner, Azalea, Calli and Polly have their Gold, and Cranberry, Silvie, Panda and Essie have Silver. Little Hula, who has the attention span of a gnat, just has Bronze so far and young Shadow the Whippet has not started yet. However some training is now needed as he is getting quite naughty!
Once they have their Gold I like to continue some sort of activity with the dogs so they keep up the good work and keep their brains active.
Judith also runs fun agility courses from time to time and these are great fun for the dogs and good exercise for the owners too and well worth a try.
There are also gundog classes a couple of times a week and these too are great fun for both dogs and their people. My Spot had no interest in retrieving 2 years ago but with gentle persistence and trying numerous different objects he eventually got the hang of it and now loves his weekly gundog class. He was also extremely nervous of other dogs but is now completely different and will play happily with his gundog friends – a sight I never thought I would see. To cap it all I entered him in a Scurry (a Two Dummy Retrieve) while at the East of England Championship dog show in July 2009 and he won with the fastest time from an entry of 25 – I was over the moon! He had been the most difficult dog and all the work had paid off.
All these classes are FUN. They make the dogs into well balanced members of their human family and keep them socialised with other dogs too thus avoiding angry scenes on outings in public places. They also give owners proper control and thus more confidence and enjoyment of their pets.
Joining this club was the best thing I ever did for my pack. I would recommend anyone to give it a go!