Since Liverpudlians Richard and Joan Cartwright made the move to Kilkerrin five years ago, they have been putting their years of experience working with dogs to good use and have now established a dog training school in Glenamaddy.
The group meets once a week indoors on Wednesday evenings in Glenamaddy Equestrian Centre and Joan and Richard this week paid tribute to the owners of the equestrian centre for their support and co-operation.
The dog training school Ė one of very few in the country under cover Ė is available to any dog, not just pedigree varieties. A new basic course in obedience is now coming up, which will ensure that handler and dog have all the necessary skills to go for a walk safely, i.e. sit, stay and recall among others.
Richard also has a word of caution for new dog owners. ďIf you have got a puppy and donít socialise it with other dogs, the problems will start,Ē and he urges dog owners to get their dog used to being around other dogs.†
This basic course is an eight-week course, which begins with puppy and dog socialisation. They say you canít teach an old dog new tricks, but when it comes to socialisation, Richard believes that no dog is too old to be taught the basics.
Joan and Richard have been working with dogs since the 1970s. Richard recently spent every Saturday for the past two and a half years travelling to Tullamore for training, which is now completed.†
Apart from running the training school, the only one of its kind in the west of Ireland, the couple also rescue dogs and have nine dogs at the moment. If that didnít keep them busy enough, they also have two African grey parrots, a gold and blue Macaw, two tortoises, four cats, one sheep and nine dogs!
They hope, through their work at the dog training school, to create an obedience team and an agility team so that teams can be entered for competition.
Richard also plans to run a summer school for child dog owners during the summer months, teaching children everything they need to know to care properly for their dog.
ďMany people donít know how to look after dogs. We see people throwing dogs in the boot or just tying them on a rope and the dog goes stare crazy,Ē said Richard.
The idea to set up their own club came after Richard and Joan attended an ISPCA event in Longford and discovered that agility clubs were present, but unfortunately they were based in Dublin. As active members of the ISPCA, they have also run car boot sales for the ISPCA.
The dog-training club is a non-profit affair. The first session is free, to let people see if they would like it or not. Otherwise, itís Ä15 for a two-hour session or Ä8 per week if you are a member of the club. All equipment is provided, but donít forget to bring your dog, it has been known to happen!
For further information, contact (086) 1522813.