A Brief History
The Warragul Dog Club is officially Warragul and District Kennel and Obedience Club Incorporated (WDKOC Inc), reflecting its core functions: Conformation and Obedience.
Warragul Dog Club was established in 1968 as a Kennel Club for local dog enthusiasts interested in breed conformation, showing and breeding. The club has hosted a Conformation Show almost every year since.
The club incorporated the Obedience discipline in the late 1990s. It has since become very active in Obedience training thanks to dedicated volunteer instructors and committee members.
In recent decades, Obedience training has shifted its focus from the discipline of Obedience trialling to obedience training using reward-based approaches. This contemporary approach is informed by animal behaviour theory and a concern for animal welfare.
Our 50th Anniversary
In September 2018, Warragul Dog Club celebrated 50 Years since it began as a kennel club; and also 20 years since finding a home at Darnum Recreation Reserve.
After running a very successful 2020 Labor Day Championship Show on the weekend before the Victorian COVID 19 pandemic lockdown was announced, it missed out on presenting a Conformation show in 2021 due to the impact of COVID on event management. Our 2022 event went ahead under slightly modified conditions but 2023 should go ahead as normal.
Warragul & District Kennel Obedience Club Inc (WDKOC Inc) is a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers.
Club activities are held in Darnum, on the land of the Brayakoolong Clan of the Gunai Kurnai People. Our trialling members compete in various dog sport disciplines locally as well as across Australia.
Our club is an affiliate of Dogs Victoria, the Victorian member organisation of Dogs Australia, which aims to promote responsible dog ownership and sports. Responsible dog ownership involves appropriate socialisation, training, containment and control of dogs. (read more)
We serve the community by offering high quality dog training classes as well as an annual all-breeds championship show day.
Obedience training is an excellent focussed indoor and outdoor activity for dog owners and their dogs.
Beginners and Obedience classes at our club are held in groups at our grounds to provide opportunities for stimulating, disciplined activities which develop teamwork, trust and relationship.
Dog owners learn about dog behaviour and their dogs gain socialisation experience in a structured environment with the oversight of skilled instructors. Social connections are made in and often continue beyond these training groups as members share experience, information and successes.
Warragul Dog Club is dedicated to providing a service that promotes education and skills to support dog owners in their duty of care to their dogs, families and community.
We hold a committee meeting on the second Sunday of every month and all members are welcome to attend. We hold our AGM in August and elect our position holders and committee for the year.
Committee elected at the WDKOC AGM, 14 Aug 2022:
It is important to recognise the achievements of our instructors, members and their dogs – we regularly update the ‘Members’ page of our website with this type of information, so don’t forget to take a look!
Our committed volunteer instructors have a wealth of experience and skills in dog training, dog behaviour and body language and various dog sport disciplines. Most have completed training programs for dog instructors and they meet regularly to support each other in ongoing learning and skill development.
All of our instructors are passionate about developing the relationship between handlers and their dog through our classes which is an important part of a broader community education.
Responsible and caring dog ownership involves socialising our dogs so they can live happily and safely in our families and communities.
However, some ideas about how to go about socialisation and training of dogs are far from helpful and not in line with modern animal behaviour research and approaches.
Socialisation is not…
Training with any aversive or fear-based methods.
Assuming dog socialisation is meeting as many dogs as possible, regardless. The “We must make friends” approach.
Allowing enthusiastic puppies, who may not have learned dog manners from their canine mother, to bound up to an unknown dog down the street or at the dog park, even at training classes.
Fear-based training methods and unmanaged socialisation can result in dogs developing fear, anxiety or aggression, particularly in young puppies during their developmental period up to the age of 16 weeks.
Exposing your puppy or dog to the people and places that are part of your everyday life in a controlled and safe way.
Socialisation for your puppy or dog should be planned and include many and varied positive experiences.
We need to be aware of our dog’s behaviour and body language. There are subtle cues that dogs give us indicating fear or nervousness, and we need to learn what they are and how best to react.
Identifying these cues early, and anticipating potential trigger situations, allows us to adjust the experience to keep our dogs in a learning or calm zone.
A balanced experience is important for good socialisation and should be planned to be under experienced guidance and with dogs who can provide a positive role model.
Group training is a great way to achieve this. Instructors monitor dog responses to people, other dogs and a range of new environmental stimuli. They can provide feedback and suggestions about optimising handlers’ use of voice, stance, movements and gesture with their dogs for the best training and socialisation outcomes.
When dogs learns to be around other dogs and to experience varied stimuli positively, their confidence is developed. They trust their human companions more, and are less likely to expect all other dogs to be exciting playmates at inappropriate times or to be a threat. This all helps keep them, and us, safe and happy.
Meet & Greet.
Often called ‘the 3 second meet and greet’, a planned and controlled meet and greet may need a lot less time and a lot more distance than shown here.
For reactive dogs, it may not be possible at all without intensive training. Read about the Yellow Ribbon Policy