Like every puppy owner we wanted to make sure we got started on the correct route with her, so we found a local dog training club that had a puppy class and also promoted dog agility (which we hoped to do with her as she got older). Our initial contacts with them were positive and we learned a lot. After 8 weeks she was deemed to have graduated and we moved “up” to a different class in late January.
Given her age (6 months) and her breed (Border Collie) she soaked up the lessons like a sponge and progressed well in the various tasks set by the classes. We were told we were working towards the “Bronze Good Citizen” as managed by the Kennel Club. Tess continued to improve but all was no longer as positive as it had been.
Our initial positive experiences were replaced by a growing sense of unease at the lack of progress. If we were indeed working toward a test, then surely there should have been a date for it? The class kept changing members and would “reset” back to the start at regular intervals – hardly ideal. The instructors would sometimes change from week to week, with the quality varying from excellent to poor. Months passed and the class was still practising exactly the same things.
As anyone who has done any instruction or teaching will tell you, constant repetition of the same thing has it’s uses and place, but eventually leads to boredom and inattention. So it was for Tess. The class held less and less interest for her and she got bored.
At the start of July we were told the date for the test was to be yesterday, the 31st July. By this point we had decided that the club offered us nothing more, so we wrestled with whether to add Tess to the list. I argued that we may as well given all the effort we had expended to get to the test, and so we added her to the list.
The evening of the test saw 12 dogs appear and it soon became apparent that the club’s usual lack of organisation and incompetence were going to prevail. What should have been a relatively simple series of exercises turned into a long drawn out evening. Tess performed well enough up until the penultimate exercise, but the combination of boredom (we had been there for over 90 minutes by this point) and lack of interest showed through and she couldn’t stay for the required 60 seconds – something 3 months ago she had no problem with!
We’re never going back to the club, and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone 🙁 As our discomfort with the club grew we started looking around and have found another group that offers us a far better experience – friendlier, less condescending and with an excellent instructor!
So, if you’re in Perth, Scotland and are looking for somewhere to train your dog, I’d recommend that you don’t go to the Fair City Dog Training Club.
- The clubs facilities are in need of a deep clean (all those dogs passing through every week mean accidents do happen!), are noisy all year round and very cold in winter.
- The instructors are volunteers and while we’re obviously grateful for them giving up their time the club really should ensure that they are of a suitable standard and temperament before allowing them to take a class.
- Organisation isn’t their strong point and the lack of a structure to the classes means that things were seemingly arranged “on the fly” each Wednesday evening.
- As with many small clubs, personalities often play a larger role than would be ideal and there is always a split between the “in” people and everyone else.