December 9 2013 Latest news:
by Lauren Rogers
Friday, November 1, 2013
It takes patience and experience to teach man’s best friend to shake a paw, walk on a lead and resist the urge to pinch food off the table.
But at Martham and District Dog Training Club, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary, there is an air of calm which has helped local owners and their animals learn everything from puppy basics to agility for more than three decades.
The club, now known as MAD dogs, was founded by Reg Hudson in 1978.
It branched out from the Great Yarmouth training club when owners in the Flegg villages wanted a club closer to home. Classes were held in the church hall of St Mary’s in Martham for 28 years, but moved to the indoor equestrian arena in Pump Lane, Caister, in 2007.
“We’ve all shapes and sizes, pedigrees and mongrels,” said Clive Edwards, a trainer and current chairman of MAD dogs.
“Through the years we must have helped thousands of dogs and owners.
“Dogs are a great leveller. We’ve had surgeons, doctors, undertakers. It doesn’t matter what your profession is, you all love dogs.
“We often have people who come with a new puppy and when that dog is trained, they finish but as time goes on they get another dog and they’ll come back for training with the new puppy.”
The club runs classes for puppies, rehomed rescue dogs and dogs with behavioural issues. There are also display teams that perform at village fetes, obedience training and agility for the past two years.
Members past and present celebrated the 35th anniversary at the club’s annual summer garden party in Martham earlier this year where dozens of dogs were invited along, former trainer Anne Sewell made a special cake and Clive said a few words.
The club currently has five full time trainers, with two more learning the ropes.
“Every 10 weeks when the new classes start, you meet a new group of people and dogs. That’s what I enjoy about it,” said Clive, who became a trainer in 2003.
“We don’t shout or drag the dogs about, it’s a very informal club. A lot of people are actually quite surprised when they first walk into the arena by how quiet it is. We want a relaxing atmosphere because we find that makes the dogs more responsive.”
New trainer Hollie Mayhew, 23, is currently studying for a diploma in animal behaviour and hopes the course, which gives her insight into why dogs behave they way they do and how owners can understand their animals better, will come in handy in the dog training classes.
“I decided to become a trainer because I have real a real passion for helping dogs and owners alike,” said Hollie, who lives in Great Yarmouth and also volunteers for the RSPCA Norwich and Mid-Norfolk Branch kennels.
“It’s so rewarding to see owners bringing their dogs to the club each week and achieving results. And there have been many memorable dogs that I have seen come and go from different walks of life.”
As well as celebrating a milestone anniversary, MAD dogs has this year raised £858 with a six-mile sponsored dog walk in aid of Pets as Therapy and supported Faith animal rescue centre in Hickling.
MAD dogs’ training classes, held every Thursday, will take a break over Christmas before new courses start in January.
For more information call Jill Turner on 01493 749042 or Clive on 01603 714305.