Tuakau Districts Dog Training Club came into being back in 1975, when Pam Martin,
with assistance from Mrs Win Alexander and Nancy Williams started weekly training
in the Tuakau Domain Hall.
In 1989, the training venue was moved to Counties Racing Club and then, four
years later, to 'Massey Hall', at the A & P Showgrounds in Pukekohe (right).
In 1991, Tuakau Districts Dog Training Club became Counties Dog Obedience Club.
Another name change occurred in 1999 to reflect the earlier inclusion of agility training, and the club was given its current name, Counties Dog Training Club.
The Club was privileged enough to secure the lease on the 'Jersey Hut' at the Pukekohe A & P Showgrounds, which is believed to be around 90 years old, and was the original showgrounds office (below).
The club had the use of 'Massey Hall', which enabled them to continue training indoors during the winter months, as well as being able to utilise the clubs new 'front lawn' over summer.
At long last, the club had a comfortable home base, where members could get together after training for a cuppa and a chat, and this certainly contributed to boosting the Counties club spirit.
Many thanks must go to all of the club members who kindly donated furniture, time and effort in helping to get the clubrooms completed. A Special mention must be made of the fabulous deck built virtually single-handedly by Bob Pitt, and floodlights erected by Graham Wheeler.
In Early October?? 2009, after 15 years at the Pukekohe A & P Showgrounds, Counties Dog Training Club was on the move again, this time to their very own grounds at Kidd Elliot Park in Te Hihi, which has serviced Junior Cricket teams over the years in Te Hihi.
In the legendary team spirit club members banded together in inclement weather to paint, mow lawns, trim hedges, and generally tidy up the grounds before the Counties Championship Show in October.
A History of Agility at Counties...
By Jill Wheeler
In October 1995, Alan Willox and Dave Hughes obtained permission from the committee to begin agility classes on Thursdays under the name of Counties Dog Obedience Club. They were loaned a trailer full of agility gear from the Auckland Rottweiler Club.
As my husband Graham, along with Glenys Fairley and Paula Hull were the only committee members interested in doing agility, it became their job to organise the class. They were all training, and as I was chief observer, I was seconded to take the training fees, membership forms etc. Thus I became involved right from the start and I didn't even run a dog!
Early the next year, Graham was the first Counties member to compete in agility, with his first English Springer Spaniel, Pippa, when he entered a ribbon trial run by Hibiscus Coast at Puhoi and judged by Alan Willox. Shortly thereafter, Shelley Berger and Gypsy began to compete, followed by Bruce and Denise Ireland with the Kelpies, and Kathy Munson and Sheila. Bruce and Drum were the first Counties trainees to reach senior level.
We held our first ribbon day at the Drury Sports Complex beside the motorway at Drury. I never realised until then how much work goes into these things. I became Show Secretary from that time, and had to arrange flyers to clubs, judges contracts, officials on the day, purchase stop watches, time pads, ribbons - the list goes on. But hey - we had a great day! Even if we had a thunderstorm in the middle of it all, and our jump poles were being scattered by the wind all day. Our entries were good, and everyone said we had done a great job.
For the next couple of years, Graham and I virtually ran the agility side of the club, but we had plenty of assistance from the people doing agility. Bruce and Denise were elected on the committees as well. The purchase of the club tent proved very adventageous to our people, as we began a new trend in the agility world. We all congregated at the tentat shows, and supported each other at prize-givings. It really introduced a fantastic 'club spirit' and our calls of COUNTEEEEES! soon became the norm at all competitions in Zone 1. It is a trend that's begun to spread to other clubs, but still Counties is the most vocal club around. We have grown from our first 5 competitors to regularly fielding 40-55 dogs at events and are no longer considered the 'new chums on the block'. We continue to be innovators instead of followers.
We joined the National Agility Link Association in 1997, and began running the Link course once a month. Eduard is the club's co-ordinator. In our first year, we won the 3rd division and so entered division 2 the following year. Our 2nd placing there enabled us to be in Division 1 in 2000 and we finished up in 4th place. So we go from strength to strength. We also now participate in IAL - an international competition via the internet, which enables our dogs to be ranked with others from all around the world.
In 2002, we linked with Zone 3 DAC to bring from Australia, Mr Steve Drinkwater, a well-known innovative trainer/judge/competitor. We held a weekend seminar, which was very successful. His motivational training methods have changed considerably the way we train at the club.
Even though I was doing all this work behind the scenes, I never actually went on the committee until 1998, the year that Graham became President. At this point, the committee people were, in the main, agility minded people. I still continue to work for the club, but these days the load is more evenly spread with tremendous help from such people as Kim and Roger van Huene, Denise and Bruce Ireland, and all the other willing people.
I consider agility my 'sport' (and I still don't run a dog!)