Spreading the word dog wise

A great deal has been written, a lot of words have been spoken, and a lot of questions have been asked, concerning dog promotion and responsible dog ownership. Yet there seems to be no easy answer as to how we can get the message across to the family pet dog owners throughout the British Isles and how we can introduce new people to the world of dog sports.

We do of course have events such as Crufts and Discover Dogs, which are staged by The Kennel Club. Both excellent events which usually attracts enthusiasts, professionals and people who are registered with The Kennel Club, say in the region of about 200,000. There are also a vast amount of dog shows held each week throughout the country, but again, usually attract enthusiasts or professionals.

So how do we get the message across to the other millions of dog owners in Britain, who are not affiliated to The Kennel Club or a canine society or training club?

You could of course stage an event such as the hugely popular All About Dogs, held in May at Brentwood in Essex, which not only attracted the enthusiasts and professionals of the world of dogs but also encouraged and succeeded in attracting, thousands of dog owners and would-be dog owners to look, learn and take part.

One way that has proved to be very successful over the past 25 years, is the Canine Road-show, put on by The Essex Dog Display Team and Training Centre.

It is an extremely effective method of taking the dog to the people, rather than hope the public will come to the various types of dog events that take place each week.

There are very few people throughout Europe who would not have heard of or seen The Essex Dog Display Team in action. This very professional display, staged by volunteers, has travelled hundreds of thousands of miles, and performed in front of millions of people. They have appeared in over one hundred television programmes that have been seen worldwide.

Yet, to their great credit they have never become elitist. They have always maintained, that the canine world can be accessible to all.


Roy Dyer, Chief Instructor with The Essex Dog Display Team and Training Centre has a very clear view of how he would like to see more people involved in promoting dogs. In the winter months, after a very busy summer season with the display team, Roy and his team visit Scouts, Girl Guides, Schools and Townswomen's’ Guilds, in fact anywhere where the Road-show can put across the message. At their own expense they hire village halls and take along a team of people who can talk and demonstrate about obedience, agility, pet training, breed and behaviour. The roadshow also takes along various selections of dog equipment, to show what is good or bad and would include muzzles, collars and leads. They also use village greens, town centres, in fact anywhere where they can meet the public and put the message across. This is all done on a voluntary basis.

Dog food samples are given to the public, courtesy of the team sponsors, Purina. Roy would like to see a County Canine Roadshow in every part of the country. Possibly with each county being split into four sections and good local dog training clubs and societies taking on the responsibility of a section.

Care must be taken to ensure that the Canine Roadshow is staged for the correct reasons and not just as a product promotion or money making venture. Ideally, if the venue can be obtained free of charge, then no charge should be made to the public to attend the road-show. Equally if the venue could be sponsored, again no charge should be made to the public.

Many experts and good enthusiasts could be called upon to help out such as Dog wardens, dog trainers, vets, or breeders, in fact, anybody who has good sound knowledge of the Canine World.

The public always like to see dogs in attendance and doing something, whether its a demonstration on basic or competitive obedience, showing, agility or whatever. It really doesn't matter if the standard isn't that great, so long as it is explained in a positive and enjoyable way.

There would of course, need to be a set standard of practice, but not governed in such a way as to have an adverse effect on the overall aim. The idea is to make the whole exercise fun for all concerned and give the correct message to the public.


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