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Mrs ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Madam President, I rise to speak today on the Tasmanian Dog Training Club. This club has been conducting dog training for people in Launceston and surrounding areas for 53 years. The Tasmanian Dog Training Club was formed in 1958 and was initially known as the Obedience Dog Club of Launceston and trained at the former Elphin Showgrounds.

Ms Rattray - Same age as me.

Mrs ARMITAGE - Well. Have you 16 volunteers helping you as well? It was set up to provide puppy training and basic obedience training classes to around 500 dogs each year - both new and ongoing. The club now operates from Churchill Park in the electorate of the honourable member for Windermere. It is important to note that the Tasmanian Dog Training Club is a non-profit organisation. All workers are volunteers and no payment is received. There are around 16 volunteers providing approximately 1 700 hours per annum. If we had to pay these volunteers the cost would be outside the means. Each week there are approximately 16 classes consisting of eight beginners groups, one puppy class, classes for grades 1 to 4, plus agility classes. At various times there are tracking classes as well.

The Tasmanian Dog Training Club is a fully affiliated member of Dogs Tasmania, the Tasmanian Canine Association Incorporated, the governing kennel authority in this State. The TDTC conducts Australian-recognised sanction trialling events and in 2011, the club conducted nine agility trials, nine jumping trials, two agility games trials, five obedience trials, two tracking trials, one track and search trial and one endurance test.

The aim of the TDTC is to provide great value training and advice to the public so that more dogs in our community are well mannered and well socialised. Evidence shows that training provides mental stimulation and adequate exercise for our dogs, not to mention training the owners. Training also reduces barking and aggressive dog issues such as biting and chasing of humans and other dogs. Training also assists people to understand the importance of correct breed selection to suit their lifestyle and location and anyone wanting to purchase a dog can go down to the group on a Sunday morning at any time between 10 and 12 and see probably about 80 dogs there at any one time. It is a great place to go if you do want to choose a dog because you can see how they act and talk to their owners.

The TDTC provides training for a wide range of community members from young to old, able-bodied as well as for people with a range of physical and intellectual disabilities. It is a place where people go along and interact, particularly on a Sunday morning, and it is a great outing for many of them. They provide information on requirements of local councils and any possible upcoming changes to dog-related legislation. They offer a range of dog activities that can be undertaken by young and old and are aligned with the State Government's Get Moving Tasmania program, set up by the Premier's Physical Activity Council and with Active Launceston.

The TDTC provide a newsletter that contains lots of useful training advice and articles, addressing a range of canine issues. You can also seek advice seven days a week via the website. Some of the core courses available through the club include puppy socialisation, which is a four-week course of one-hour sessions and this course is an introduction to owning a dog and teaches controlled socialisation experiences. It also instructs owners about the responsibility they have to their dog and to the community and offers advice on solving puppy issues, such as toilet training and jumping and biting. There is also a beginner's introductory obedience course which is an eight-week course consisting of one hour per session. This course gives an introduction on the basics of owning a dog and focuses on basic skills of dog training by way of teaching a range of commands that will be useful to owner and their dog. It provides access to advice on solving a full range of dog problems such as aggression, jumping and biting, and completion of these classes enables progression to more advanced classes for increasing levels of obedience. There are higher levels of training from grades 1 to 4, all of which are one-hour sessions.

Classes also provide a lead-in to other activities and sport that can be undertaken with dogs including the agility, the timed obstacle courses, the endurance tests, track scent and track and search and rally obedience.

The TDTC also participates in fundraising and event support - for example, fundraising and collections for the RSPCA Million Paws Walk, fundraising support for animals injured in bushfires, in the Victorian bushfires particularly - and provides demonstrations of agility, obedience and tracking at various Million Paws Walks.

In conclusion, I think we would all agree that with a little time and training, dogs can become wonderful companions. The aim of the Tasmanian Dog Training Club is to provide appropriate training to as many owners and dogs as possible. This is a wonderful group of volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise to provide a valuable service so that dog owners can enjoy the companionship of their animals and that in the community dogs become much more sociable and not a danger.

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