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Tasmanian Dog Training Club

[11.37 a.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, today I pay tribute to an organisation that has been active within the Launceston community for 60 years. As a patron, I am pleased to speak about the Tasmanian Dog Training Club. The club was formed in 1958 and was initially known as the Obedience Dog Club of Launceston. It then trained at Elphin Showgrounds, but the club now operates from Churchill Park.

The club was set up to provide puppy training and basic obedience training classes to about 3600 dogs each year, both new and ongoing. Approximately 345 classes consisting of puppies, tweenies, beginners, grades 1 to 3, advanced agility and Rally-O operate from the club. The club welcomes people and dogs with all levels of experience.

It is important to note that the Tasmanian Dog Training Club is a not-for-profit organisation. There are 22 volunteers providing in excess of 6500 hours per annum. If we had to pay these volunteers, the cost would be outside the means of the club.

The club is a fully affiliated member of the Tasmanian Canine Association, trading as Dogs Tasmania, the governing kennel authority in Tasmania.

The aim of the club is to provide good value training and advice to the public so that dogs in our community are well socialised and well mannered. Evidence shows that training provides mental stimulation and adequate exercise for dogs. It reduces barking and aggressive dog issues such as biting and chasing other dogs and humans. The member for Windermere might like to bring Alfie along.

Mr Dean - I don't think he would participate - he is not social.

Ms ARMITAGE - Training also assists people to understand the importance of correct breed selection to suit their lifestyle and location. The club provides training to a wide range of breeds. Anyone wanting to purchase a dog can go down to the group on a Sunday morning at any time between 9.30 a.m. and noon and see up to 90 dogs at any one time. It is a great place to go if you want to choose a dog because you can see how they act and relate to their owners.

New studies show that training makes puppies more confident. It teaches them proper behaviour and gives them an outlet for their extra energy. They learn healthy habits, how not to engage in destructive behaviours, and it sets them up for life with fewer cognitive problems.

The Tasmanian Dog Training Club 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. The club offers a range of dog activities aligned with the state Government's Get Moving Tasmania program set up by the Premier's Physical Activity Council. The club is an inclusive organisation that offers, actively promotes and encourages community participation in fun physical activities.

The club also provides information on the requirements of local councils and any possible upcoming changes to dog-related legislation. They provide advice to the public about desexing, microchipping, dietary requirements and animal husbandry, and all the necessary obligations to being a responsible dog owner. A regular newsletter is produced by the club, which contains useful training advice and articles addressing a range of canine issues. Through the newsletter, the club welcomes new members and their pets and recognises those who have achieved pass or a title.

One of the core courses available through the club is puppy socialisation, a four-week course of one-hour sessions. This is an introduction to owning a dog and it teaches control and socialisation experiences, instructs owners about their responsibilities to their dog and the community and offers advice on solving puppy issues such as jumping and biting. It assists puppies to be prepared for experiences such as visits to the vet and groomer. There is a beginners obedience course, which provides an introduction to owning a dog and focuses on dog training by way of teaching a range of commands useful to owning a dog.

The course provides access to advice on solving a range of dog problems such as aggression, jumping and biting. The member for Windermere and his dog might like to come along one Sunday morning - not that the member needs help; I was thinking about his dog.

Completion of these classes enables progression to more advanced classes for increasing levels of obedience. There are higher levels of training - stages 1 to 3 - and an advanced class. Classes also provide a lead-in to other activities and sport that can be undertaken with dogs, including agility, timed obstacle courses, endurance tests, tracking, track and search and rally obedience.

The Tasmanian Dog Training Club participates in fundraising events to support, for example, the RSPCA Million Paws Walk. In May this year, club members volunteered their time to promote the club and its activities at Dog's day out at the picturesque Woolmers Estate. The club's dogs and handlers showed off their skills with demonstrations of obedience, agility and tracking.

More recently, the club's committee agreed to donate half its earnings from its August intake day and funds raised from its August training classes to the drought relief charity Drought Angels. The charity assists farming families affected by natural disasters, in particular our local farming communities. The club will hold a fundraising day on 26 August, this Sunday, with proceeds going to assist Drought Angels.

I commend the work undertaken by this organisation, which has provided 60 years' service to the community and is a wonderful group of volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. They provide a valuable service enabling dog owners to enjoy the companionship of their pets and ensuring that dogs are sociable and not a danger in the community. They have told me at times it is the people they teach, rather than the dog. I wish them continued success in the future.

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