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Man’s best friend learns new tricks

Man’s best friend learnt a lesson or two at junior dog handling classes held at the Victoria Stadium.

The furry friends had fun showing off tricks such as sit, stay and paw. The workshops were an opportunity for their young owners to learn new training methods and to guide their dogs through a small assault course.

International judge and dog trainer Elizabeth Gonzalez organised the classes in conjunction with the Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority. The workshops formed part of the Gibraltar Summer Sports and Leisure Programme.

“They have got to practice their heeling, sit, stay and retrieve where they play with their toy,” Mrs Gonzalez said. “They have been practicing showing us as a group what tricks they can do with their dogs.”

“It is really all about control and we go walkabouts all around the stadium so they get used to different surfaces and then teaching them how to cross the road with their dogs.”

“I am here to train the handlers.”

Mrs Gonzalez added she expected the handlers to be in control of their dogs at all times and if there was any scuffle the children had to make sure they could manage their own dogs.

“The kids have a super time and dogs with children are more manageable because dogs will usually follow what children do as children tend to be gentle with dogs.”

The children used ‘treat therapy’ and the dogs also were pampered with a massage.

12 year old Mariah Davis and her 11 month old Labrador mix Caspa attended the classes and Mariah hoped through the workshop her and Caspa would form a closer bond.

“I hope I will get closer with him and he will learn new stuff and how to behave because he is still a puppy,” Mariah said.

“He is very playful but he is also very calm, he is not too over active but since he is a dog he loves running around and playing with everyone but he is very gentle. I would say he is like a gentle giant.”

Caspa already knows quite a few tricks. Mariah said Caspa has been taught sit, beg, paw, high ten, high five, speak, down, and whisper.

Briana Crome, aged 13, and her 11 month of dachshund Biscuit had a good time at the classes and Biscuit definitely enjoyed the extra treats.

“It gets him tired and he is a very loud dog and he likes to play a lot of the time so it is fun to play around,” Briana said.

“It is more for him to get used to other dogs and people and he learns to listen to me a bit more, and just to stop barking at dogs. He likes to play a lot and is a very hyper dog but he is very smart and he understands and likes to tell you what he wants.”

The dog handling workshops have now come to a close but resume annually within the Summer Sports and Leisure Programme.