Agenda for the meeting of The Obedience Liaison Council to be held via conference call at 10.30am on Thursday, 23rd July 2020

A g e n d a

ITEM 1.           APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

ITEM 2.           APPROVAL OF MINUTES

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 6 February 2020 (copies previously distributed).

ITEM 3.           MATTERS ARISING/RESULTS OF RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The Council is invited to note that the Board, at its meeting on 7 April 2020, approved the following amendments to G Regulations:

Regulation G31.

TO:

  • On application for a person’s first appointment to judge Championship Class C the minimum conditions which apply are:

A person must:-

(1) judges must have at least eight years judging experience which must include 30 championship and/or premier and/or open show appointments of which at least 15 must be Open Class C and two each of Beginners, Novice, Class A and Class B.,and

c.    (2) At the time of judging a first Championship appointment the

Judge must have attended a Kennel Club Obedience Regulations and Judging Procedure Seminar and passed the Regulations and Judging Procedure examination. have completed and passed an Obedience Regulations and Judging Procedure examination on the Kennel Club Academy prior to attending, and passing, a Kennel Club Obedience Test Design and Practice of Judging seminar.

(Insertions in bold. Deletions struck through)

(Subsequent sub-paragraphs to be renumbered)

(Effective 1 January 2021)

  • d. Qualifications for judges at premier and open shows and for the non-certificate classes at Championship Shows-

On first appointment judges must satisfy the show committee that they: 

  • have judged a minimum of four appointments within at least two years at a lower level including limited/companion obedience shows and matches/club or fun competitions.
    • have won out of Beginners at a licensed championship, premier or open obedience show as a handler, and have acted as a caller, scribe or marker steward on six occasions at licensed shows; and
    • have attended a Kennel Club Obedience Regulations and Judging Procedure Seminar and passed the Regulations and Judging Procedure examination. completed and passed an Obedience Regulations and Judging Procedure examination on the Kennel Club Academy prior to attending a Kennel Club Obedience Test Design and Practice of Judging seminar.
    • have attended an Obedience Test Design and the Practice of Judging Seminar. a Kennel Club Obedience Test Design and Practice of Judging seminar and passed the assessment.

(Deletions struck through, insertions in bold)

(Effective 1 January 2021)

Note: the wording for Regulation G31(b) as shown above is slightly different to that recommended by the Council as it also incorporated changes recommended for approval by the Activities Committee in order to clarify that judges must have fulfilled all criteria prior to applying for approval to judge at championship level.

Regulation G29.f(3)

TO:

Where a draw for the complete running order of classes other than Championship Class C is not made, show managements must conduct a ballot to determine a running order for at least the first 10 6 competitors/dogs in these classes: this may be reduced to 6 at shows with less than 200 dogs entered or where there are less than 25 dogs entered in a specific class.

Sub paragraph (3) does not apply to limited shows.

(Deletions struck through. Insertions in bold.)

(Effective 1 January 2021)

Regulation G(C)4.h. – Stays in ALL classes

TO:

The judge or steward will direct handlers to positions in the ring.  The command ‘last command’ will be given and handlers should then instantly give their final command to their dogs.  Any further commands or signals to the dogs after this ‘last command’ will be penalised.  Handlers will then be instructed to leave their dogs and walk to positions indicated until ordered to return to them.  These are group tests and all dogs must compete together, but where this is impracticable at an indoor any show, the class may be equally divided but the judging for the groups must be consecutive. The stay ring shall be large enough to cater for the largest expected attendance for each class.

(Deletions struck through. Insertion in bold)

(Effective 1 January 2021)

  • Stay exercises
  • Out of sight stays

At its February meeting, the Council wished to recommend that out of sight stays be discontinued as soon as possible, and removed from the list of exercises. With regard to other stay exercises where the dog remained in sight of the handler, it recommended that with immediate effect all handlers should be required to stand sideways on to their dogs, not with their backs to them, so that they would be in view of the handler at all times.

In view of the seriousness of the issue, the Council was unanimous in recommending that the matter be considered by the Activities Committee and/or the Board as a matter of priority. It is invited to note that the Committee, at its meeting on 19 March 2020, had noted that the Council was in the process of formulating the necessary Regulation amendments to support its recommendations, and that these would be considered at the Council’s meeting in July. The urgency of the issue was lessened in view of the current situation in which no shows were taking place due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it was agreed that no further action was required until the Council’s further recommendations were available.

  • Review of all stay exercises and amendments to G Regulations

The Council had agreed at its previous meeting that all aspects of the stay exercise should be reviewed. It is requested to consider options and proposals which have been submitted by Mrs Allen, Mr Luckock, Mrs Patrick and Mr Wakelin.

  • The Council’s views are sought in respect of stay exercises relating to individual classes (two options are provided)
  • It is invited to consider proposed amendments to Regulation G(C)4.h.

(Annex A refers)

  • Training for commentators

At its previous meeting, the Council was advised that subsequent to its request, the Board had approved the principle of practical training for commentators but with the stipulation that such training should be available company-wide, as appropriate. It was informed that the scheduling of a Commentators Seminar (to encompass all disciplines) was currently on hold due to resourcing. It had noted that work on the business case, to be submitted on the Council’s behalf, would commence shortly.

It is invited to note that a business case is being prepared and will be submitted to the Finance Committee for consideration as soon as possible.

  • Height classified classes

This issue is on the agenda as part of Item 7.a relating to the Obedience Working Party.

  • Capping on number of wins

         At its last meeting, the Council discussed a suggestion that a cap be placed on the number of wins in each class, except Open Class ‘C’ and Championship Class ‘C’, in order to allow more competitors to progress through the classes, while handlers having reached the cap could compete in the class until such time as the relevant closing dates have passed, but may not accept a win.

A suggestion was made that a ’21 day rule’ be introduced whereby all wins up to and including 21 days before the start of the competition would be counted when entering for any class. Should a dog become eligible for the next class at a particular show, after the entry for that show had been sent, it would be the competitor’s responsibility to notify the show secretary so that the dogs may be moved into the appropriate class.

The Council had noted that a similar issue had been discussed by a social media group for UK obedience show secretaries and it was agreed that the views of the social media group should be sought in order to inform further consideration of the suggestion. Mr Harlow undertook to contact the group administrator to seek further information, however the Council is invited to note that it had not been possible to obtain details of the views of the social media group.

The Council is invited to discuss the matter further.

  • Progression on points

The issue of progression on points was referred to the Working Party for further discussion and is noted on the agenda under item 7.b.

  • Obedience Excellent award

At its February meeting, the Council noted that it was necessary to make an amendment to the number of points required to claim the Obedience Excellent award in Pre-Beginners in the light of an amendment to Regulation G(A)6.a. which stated that to compete in Pre-Beginners a handler or dog must not have won two (previously one) first places in either Pre-Beginners or Beginners nor gained a third place or above in any other Obedience class (Introductory Class excepted). Currently, 10 points were awarded for a first place.

It is invited to consider the following proposal submitted by Mrs Allen for an amendment to the claim form for the award:

CLAIM FOR AN OBEDIENCE EXCELLENT QUALIFICATION

The required points to achieve each qualification are as follows:

10 20 points required for Pre-Beginners

(Deletion struck through. Insertion in bold)

ITEM 4.           ACTIVITIES JUDGES SUB-GROUP

The Council is invited to note that the Sub-Group’s meeting due to take place on 22 April 2020 had been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ITEM 5.           ACTIVITIES HEALTH AND WELFARE SUB-GROUP

The Council is invited to note that the Sub-Group’s next meeting will take place on 14 September 2020.

ITEM 6.           YOUNG KENNEL CLUB

The Council is requested to note a written report from Mrs Lavender relating to the YKC Obedience.

(Annex B refers)

ITEM 7.           RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE OBEDIENCE WORKING PARTY

  1. Height Classified Classes

Discussion of issues relating to height classified classes will be deferred until the Council’s next meeting.

  • Progression on points

At its previous meeting, the Council noted that the Working Party was in agreement with the Council that use of the Obedience Excellent points scheme was preferable to introducing a new scale of points solely for progression purposes.

A proposal will be submitted to the Council at its next meeting.

ITEM 8.           PROPOSALS FROM SOCIETIES/PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS

No proposals have been received.

ITEM 9.           DISCUSSION ITEMS

No discussion items have been received.

ITEM 10.        FIVE YEAR STRATEGY

Representatives are invited to propose further items to the Council’s Five Year Strategic Plan.

(Annex C refers)

ITEM 11.        OBEDIENCE INFORMATION STAND

The Council is invited to note a report on the Obedience Information Stand at Crufts.

(Annex D refers)

ITEM 12.        ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Please give at least two weeks’ advance notice of matters to be raised under ‘Any Other Business’ as this assists the office if research is required. These items are discussed at the discretion of the Chairman.

ITEM 13.        DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The date of the next meeting will be confirmed in September 2020.

NOTES:

  1. The Kennel Club will reimburse standard rail fares to all representatives attending the meeting, from their addresses as recorded at the Kennel Club. Claim forms will be available at the meeting.
  • Those resident in Northern Ireland or Scotland may apply in advance for authority to substitute shuttle air travel for standard rail fare, although it is requested that tickets are booked well in advance to take advantage of any reduction in fares.
  • Please give advance notice of matters to be raised under Any Other Business. This assists the Office if research is required. These items are discussed at the discretion of the Council Chairman.
  • Kennel Club Liaison Council Regulations state that the Kennel Club will bear the cost of all reasonable and externally incurred costs connected with a Council, if agreed in advance. Therefore, representatives should apply to the Kennel Club for approval of any costs they may wish to claim prior to the expense being incurred.

STATEMENT REGARDING COVID-19 AND KENNEL CLUB EVENTS

The safety and security of competitors, spectators, volunteers and staff at Kennel Club events continues to be of paramount importance. In light of the continued restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kennel Club has taken the decision with regret to extend its strong recommendation that clubs and societies cancel forthcoming events until the end of September and that serious consideration should be given to events due to be held after this date.It is vitally important that those responsible for organising events, large or small, conduct a risk assessment which will include ensuring that the event is Covid secure, i.e being compliant with Government advice and guidance on COVID-19. We will be working on further advice to clubs and societies on the issues which need to be addressed in a risk assessment once the Government publishes further guidance or instruction.This latest recommendation is based on all advice issued by the Government so far which continues to restrict non-essential travel and maintain social distancing. The Kennel Club also recommends that alternative arrangements continue to be put in place regarding other activities such as meetings, seminars and training classes.It is appreciated that clarity is important in order to be able to plan, budget and mitigate costs and therefore we will provide more definitive advice as soon as the position is clearer from the Government.The latest advice on the situation regarding COVID-19 is regularly updated and changes daily and we strongly suggest that clubs and societies keep aware of updates as issued by the Department of Health at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.The Kennel Club’s current cancellation policy and FAQs, in relation to breed shows, can be accessed at bit.ly/2x5DuzQ and, in relation to all other disciplines, can be accessed at bit.ly/2AjuyZm.Please contact the KC office on email sass@thekennelclub.org.uk to confirm the cancellation or postponement of any licensed events. If your event is cancelled, please also advise whether you require a refund for your licence fee or require the fee to be carried forward for a future event.Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time.

Dog training clubs and coronavirus (2nd April)

Given the rapidly changing situation, please regularly check the latest government advice and continually assess your own situation based on this information. The Kennel Club is in regular contact with Defra to keep up to date on developments.

The most recent government measures everyone must comply with are:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

The full guidance on complying with these measures is available on the GOV.UK website:

Announcement – The Kennel Club and The Kennel Club Charities Emergency Relief Initiative

Can I run training classes at an indoor or outdoor or on my private premise at this time?

Unfortunately not – the government measures require you to stay at home and only leave your home for essential reasons, i.e. collecting food and medicine, and one form of exercise a day. You also must always remain 2 metres away from others.

Can one-to-one training carry on?

Unfortunately not – the government measures require you to stay at home and only leave your home for essential reasons, i.e. collecting food and medicine, and one form of exercise a day. You also must always remain 2 metres away from others.

Can I run training classes online?

Yes, online classes are a great way of keeping in touch with your class members and helping them to train their dogs at this difficult time. With a change in their daily routine, and in some cases restricted exercise, dog training can be a very important ‘at home’ activity at for dogs and their owners during this pandemic.

If and when I am around dogs belonging to others, are there any extra precautions I need to take, in addition to social distancing?

The government measures permit one form of exercise a day such as a run, a walk or a cycle, so dog owners, as long as they are well and not showing any symptoms, can walk their pet once a day as part of these exercising guidelines. Households with two or more adults can take it in turns to walk their dog if they usually go more than once a day. When taking your dog out, no one should be making unessential journeys, so don’t travel in your car to walk your dog, and avoid others, staying at least two metres (around three steps) away.

It is also advisable that dogs are exercised on lead to prevent them going close to other people – as this could lead to owners needing to come into close contact with others. Wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you get back from your dog walk and try not to pet other people’s dogs.

Are dogs at risk of contracting the virus and/or spreading the virus?

No, there is no evidence that dogs can get coronavirus. For further information click here.

Training Club FAQs

My listed status annual renewal is due. With all this disruption how am I going to do this?

If you are concerned about paying your Good Citizen Dog Scheme listed status renewal, please contact the GCDS office by email gcds@thekennelclub.org.uk.  For other listed status clubs, please contact sass@thekennelclub.org.uk.

My dog training business is going to struggle during this time. Can the KC help?

The Kennel Club has set up an emergency relief fund with the Kennel Club Educational Trust. There aren’t endless funds of course, but the Kennel Club is hoping to be able to help where it can and each application will be carefully considered. More information about this fund can be found here.

What if my club will not be able to run the required two Good Citizen Dog Scheme testings or courses per year?

An extension will be granted to all GCDS clubs during this difficult period, and will not recommence until clubs are able to start work again. The time period to achieve this will also be extended.

Can we run GCDS Puppy Foundation courses online?

Unfortunately not, as all the Puppy Foundation syllabus exercises cannot be recreated without exposure to dogs and people outside of the family house. However, there will be an interim GCDS Award available very soon and we will provide further updates on this when we can. 

Can our club hold GCDS Bronze, Silver or Gold tests online?

Unfortunately not, as above – all syllabus exercises cannot be recreated without exposure to other dogs and people which is not possible in the current climate.

Will my insurance cover me, if things go wrong? 

Your club will need to provide its own risk assessment or disclaimer where applicable and advise participants accordingly. You will also need to contact your insurance provider.

THE KENNEL CLUB AND THE KENNEL CLUB CHARITIES EMERGENCY RELIEF INITIATIVE

The Kennel Club, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust (KCCT) and the Kennel Club Educational Trust (KCET) have announced their intention to support canine organisations in their communities which may be suffering genuine financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kennel Club has agreed to credits totalling £25,000 for licence fees on those events cancelled between March and June 2020.  However, the Kennel Club is aware of potential problems coping with the financial consequences of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.  It is imagined that many clubs and societies will have a financial reserve to protect against hard times and cancellations. But some, for their own reasons, may now find themselves without adequate reserves or in significant financial hardship.  These clubs are invited to contact the Kennel Club who will consider loans or grants in the following circumstances:

  • Where the cancellation of a club show may have a further direct adverse effect on the annual provision of services to club members and others (e.g. support for rehoming, educational events).
  • The KCCT has agreed to help support those community-based canine organisations which require emergency funds in order to prevent the unnecessary suffering of dogs such as providing additional support for small to medium sized rescue centres.   
  • The KCET will look to support those associated with the Kennel Club offering dog training services which may have been affected by the negative consequences for dogs, due to Covid-19. 

In the first instance, the Kennel Club and the charities will work to seek to understand the scale of the challenge and, therefore, how best to respond to it within their financial and other resources.  As such, clubs, societies and others mentioned above are invited to apply by 30 April 2020 to the Kennel Club by using the form, which can be found via the following link – https://thekennelclub.formstack.com/forms/emergency_relief_initiative – to explain the scale of financial hardship they face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Kennel Club, will evaluate each application to match the available funds against those evidencing significant hardship.  Contact will be made with the applicants when further details of the financial and/or other help the Kennel Club and its charities may be able to offer are available.

OBEDIENCE LIAISON COUNCIL MEETING 23 JULY 2020

The next meeting of the Kennel Club Obedience Liaison Council is scheduled to be held at the Kennel Club in London on Thursday 23 July 2020. Proposals for inclusion on the agenda should reach the Obedience Liaison Council Secretary by 24 April.

Each eligible society or an individual may submit items for the agenda, through a council representative. Proposals must be concise and, if an amendment or an additional regulation is proposed, the regulation number must be given. All submissions must be signed by the society/individual and the representative.

All items for inclusion on the agenda should be sent to Working Dog Activities Team, The Kennel Club, Clarges Street, London W1J 8AB or by email to obedience@thekennelclub.org.uk.

A full list of Obedience Liaison Council representatives can be found at bit.ly/2Tx8YVk.

Please note, due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, it is possible that the Council meeting will be postponed or cancelled, depending on Government guidance nearer the time. Please keep abreast of Kennel Club announcements in this respect.

SHETLAND SHEEPDOGS HAILED NATION’S MOST OBEDIENT BREED AFTER WINNING ‘OBREEDIENCE’ FINAL AT CRUFTS

A team of four Shetland Sheepdogs won the Obreedience competition at the world’s biggest dog event, Crufts on Thursday 5th March.

The Shetland Sheepdogs team, named the Sheltie Superstars, proved themselves more obedient than the nine other breed teams that made it to the final at Crufts in Birmingham. The other finalists were teams of German Shepherd Dogs, Cocker Spaniels, Manchester Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Standard Poodles, Papillons and Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Obreedience, an exciting team obedience competition, was introduced at Crufts 2014 as a special display event. Now in its sixth year as an official competition, obreedience continues to grow and entertain the crowds that come along to support their favourite breeds.

The winning team members were:

Vanessa Hardin with Jelly Tot (Sheltysham Medley of Gold AW(G) RL6.Ex) from Milton Keynes

Carol Dare with Rafa (Lavika Mirror Image Nov.Ex) from Buckley, Flintshire

Rowena Steady with Toes (Tooralie’s Just the Tonic P.Beg Ex RL3.Ex) from Bridgwater

Jean Tuck with Zac (Tooralie’s Masquerade at Craygill AW(P) Beg.Ex RL3.Ex) from Uttoxeter

The team’s captain Vanessa Hardin said: “We are delighted with our win! We are geographically challenged as a team so practice times were limited to shows only – this speaks volumes for the dogs’ temperaments and sociability.  

“The dogs on our team are multi-talented, most of them have awards from agility as well as working trials and rally.”

Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Show Manager, said: “Huge congratulations to the Shetland Sheepdogs team on their amazing win. These dogs are fantastic examples of happy, well-trained dogs that have an incredibly strong bond with their owners.

“The obreedience competition is a brilliant way to show off the fact that any breed, given the right training and socialisation, and of course patience from their human counterparts, can do well in competitive obedience. We look forward to seeing which breeds excel in obreedience at the heats being held throughout 2020.”

Each obreedience team comprised four handlers and dogs, who took part in two rounds.  The first was a heelwork round completed as a group, with the dogs being assessed on their ability to complete different moves whilst remaining synchronised with their team mates. The second round featured four set exercises and each member needed to successfully complete one of the four different exercises. Points were deducted for any faults and the team with the most points won. The exercises were a retrieve (handler’s own article), a send to bed, stop the dog, and scent over articles.

For further details about obreedience, please visit the Kennel Club website www.thekennelclub.org.uk/obreedience.   

Crufts took place from 5th – 8th March at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information, please visit www.crufts.org.uk.

KENNEL CLUB AND CHARITABLE AND EDUCATIONAL TRUSTS ANNOUNCE EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Kennel Club and its charities will help support canine organisations and rescues which have been affected

The Kennel Club, The Kennel Club Charitable Trust and The Kennel Club Educational Trust have today (24 March) announced the creation of an emergency relief fund to support dog rescue centres and other canine organisations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

In response to the emerging situation, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust has announced that it will help support those in the community which require emergency funds in order to prevent the unnecessary suffering of dogs, such as providing additional support for rescue centres. The Trust, which was established in 1987, has distributed grants totalling over £11 million to a wide variety of causes supporting its charitable purposes across canine health, support dogs, welfare and rescue.  

In parallel, the Kennel Club Educational Trust will be setting up an emergency fund to support training clubs affected by the negative consequences for dogs, due to Covid-19. Meanwhile, the Kennel Club is currently exploring funding and support arrangements for clubs and canine societies worst hit by the outbreak of the virus, particularly those societies affected by cancellations.

“The coronavirus pandemic is devastating for so many communities, including all those involved in dogs,” said Reverend Bill King, Chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. “Many of those affected run small but incredibly vital and dedicated organisations, clubs and rescues which make a huge difference for dogs, and now urgently need support to be able to survive these unprecedented times.

“We are only as strong as our community and the Kennel Club and its related charities are fortunate to be able to help those hardest hit through this challenging time.”

Details of the funds and how to apply will be announced shortly by the Kennel Club and its charities.

The Kennel Club has dedicated information pages and further information on how to care for dogs during the coronavirus outbreak available via the homepage on its website: www.thekennelclub.org.uk

CORRESPONDING WITH THE KENNEL CLUB DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Clubs and societies are advised by the Kennel Club that, in order to assist in dealing with correspondence efficiently, it should preferably be sent to the Kennel Club by email rather than by post during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Correspondence posted to the Kennel Club may result in a delayed response as the offices are currently closed, with staff working remotely.

In view of societies having their Annual General Meeting delayed, the Kennel Club will allow the late submission of annual returns depending on when meetings are able to be held.

With regard to the above matters, the Kennel Club will allow sufficient leeway and no penalties will be incurred as long as there is a realistic and reasonable approach all round.

For clubs and societies which use the Kennel Club’s scrutineering service and which have ballots currently running, the provision of results cannot be guaranteed until the situation surrounding the outbreak becomes more stable.

Any clubs and societies which have booked this service for ballots which have yet to begin should put these on hold for the time being or an alternative scrutineering method should be used in urgent cases, as the Kennel Club cannot guarantee the service at present.

For any queries relating to annual returns and show licensing, including cancellation and postponement, please email sass@thekennelclub.org.uk.

Societies submitting correspondence relating to judges, including nominations and questionnaires for Challenge Certificate judges should, wherever possible, submit these via email to breedshows@thekennelclub.org.uk or for activity disciplines to wda@thekennelclub.org.uk.

If this is not possible, these nominations will be dealt with once the Kennel Club offices are open for business as usual. Leeway will be granted if submissions are within the required 12-month period.

The Kennel Club thanks all clubs and societies for their patience and understanding during these difficult times.

KENNEL CLUB OFFICE CLOSURES

Kennel Club customers are advised that members of staff will transition to working from home during the course of this week as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. By the close of business on Friday, the Clarges Street offices will be closed. Soon after this, the Aylesbury site will also close, once the Kennel Club is confident that calls and business processing will not be compromised.

The Kennel Club will endeavour to keep its services running as smoothly as possible in these times, with Aylesbury staff working between 10am and 4pm. Please note that during this closure period, there may be delays to respond to postal correspondence, therefore we would ask our customers to use email to contact staff where possible.

The Kennel Club will be making further announcements as the situation develops and will continue to update its website with current information as appropriate. Please note that Kennel Club goods and services are also still available direct from this website. Please visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk.

For Petlog enquiries, please continue to use the Petlog Help Centre at https://support.petlog.org.uk/.

To contact the Kennel Club via email please use the link listed below and include in the subject line which area you require assistance with:

Kennel A further announcement will be made once the Clarges Street and Aylesbury offices have reopened. We thank all our customers for your understanding and patience during this challenging period.

GCDS AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED AT CRUFTS

Success for dogs, handlers and trainers from Staffordshire, Middlesex, Northamptonshire and West Yorkshire

The winners of the annual Good Citizen Dog Scheme (GCDS) awards were announced at the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts, on Sunday 8th March.

The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme is the largest dog training programme in the United Kingdom, with over 680,000 dogs and their owners graduating through the scheme’s Bronze award. The GCDS awards were created in recognition of the hard work, efforts and contribution made by dedicated canine clubs and enthusiasts.

Twelve individuals, dogs, clubs and organisations were vying for the top prize across four categories: Best Kennel Club GCDS Listed Status Dog Training Club Award, Best Kennel Club Registered Club Award, Royal Canin Dedicated Person Award and Royal Canin Most Inspiring Dog Award. The nominees were all put forward to a public vote, with the winners announced at the GCDS awards ceremony, which took place at Crufts.

The winners for each award were:

Royal Canin Dedicated Person Award – Gwynneth Williams from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Gwynneth’s 48-year service to the Danesford Obedience Dog Training Club in Congleton, Cheshire, saw her pick up the Royal Canin Dedicated Person Award. She has been based with the club for nearly half a century, after starting as one of the founding members. Teaching the Bronze and Pre Beginner classes, through the GCDS, Gwynneth and her team have managed to get many dogs through to the semi-finals and the finals of GCDS Pre Beginner Stakes.

Members of the club had travelled to Birmingham to watch her pick up the award and afterwards surprised her with a special collage showing photographs of her with her first dog, a collie, and training dogs over the years.

Speaking about winning her award, Gwyneth said: “I still do nine hours a week dog training at the club and what drives me is seeing the relationships people get to have with their dogs and because it’s still enjoyable.”

Best Kennel Club GCDS Listed Status Dog Training Club Award – Best Paw Forward, based in Hayes, Middlesex

A chance meeting at the vets between Lyn Bowers and Lyn Church led to the pair setting up dog training club Best Paw Forward four years ago, and they haven’t looked back since.

The two Lyns work together to offer a motivational approach to training, for dogs and puppies of all breeds and ages, with both group classes and one-to-one training. The club offers all levels of the GCDS, as well as agility, heelwork to music, ringcraft, rally, hoopers and scentwork. The club achieved a runners up finish in 2019 at the GCDS awards, but returned this year to claim the top spot.

Speaking about their win, Lyn Church said: “It’s a wonderful recognition of the fact that we started the club from nothing and have grown to the point where we have now had more than 1,000 dogs go through training at the club.

“I hesitate to even use the word club because we are a family really. We train together, we socialise together, and we all love our dogs. This is just amazing.”

Lyn Bowers continued: “I am absolutely elated. I have been training dogs for 30 years and it is lovely to have this kind of recognition. Our lovely club members organised a party for us at Crufts and we will have a club meal soon.”

Best Kennel Club Registered Club Award – Wakefield Dog Training Club

Wakefield Dog Training Club was set up 62 years ago to make dog training affordable to all members of the public. The club has more than 21 trainers who work there as unpaid volunteers, running at least one class a week each for the 300+ membership.

As well as promoting the GCDS, consisting of puppy courses, Bronze, Silver and Gold, the club also holds junior handler classes and platinum classes for those handlers and dogs who want to go a little further.

The club has also been trying to raise funds for a new building. The projected cost is £130,000 and over the last 15 years the club has raised more than £100,000.

Speaking about the award, Catherine Chadwick, chair of the club said, “It isn’t something you expect to win, because there are so many dedicated clubs, so we are especially pleased.

“Now we are hoping the publicity from it might get us the final push to raise the money to preserve the club and what it does for many years to come.”

Royal Canin Most Inspiring Dog Award – Rupert, a Working Cocker Spaniel, owned by Antonia Mellor, from Brackley, Northamptonshire

Antonia Mellor and her seven-year-old Working Cocker Spaniel, Rupert, were presented with the Royal Canin Most Inspiring Dog Award.

Rupert went blind suddenly last year and was initially too afraid to leave the family home. Antonia decided to take him along to training classes alongside one of her other dogs, where he started with some basic Bronze exercises. His confidence grew and he has since achieved both Bronze and Silver GCDS awards, now working towards Gold.

Speaking about the award, Antonia said: “I know he is amazing, but to have other people recognise him in this way is just wonderful.

“I have had him as a puppy and it was an enormous shock to everyone when he went blind. Now when I tell people they say you wouldn’t know it. He is such a courageous dog.”

Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Show Manager, commented: “Congratulations to all of this year’s winners of the Good Citizen Dog Scheme awards. We’re so proud of all the work that both our clubs and organisations carry out, as well as the remarkable results that are achieved as a result from the dogs and handlers that attend.

“It’s great to see that GCDS clubs and enthusiasts are getting the recognition they deserve and we are very thankful for the valuable work our clubs, organisations, trainers and volunteers do.”

For further information on the Good Citizen Dog Scheme and to find a local club, please visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/training/good-citizen-dog-training-scheme/.