In a class of their own

PUBLISHED: 12:54 23 April 2009 | UPDATED: 07:14 30 May 2010

Dog training by Thea Barfoot.

Dog training by Thea Barfoot.

DOGS running loose around Hatfield Forest have caused such problems recently that wardens have decided to bring in the professionals. Trainer Thea Barfoot had just conducted the first dog training day school at the national trust owned park with a view to

DOGS running loose around Hatfield Forest have caused such problems recently that wardens have decided to bring in the professionals.

Trainer Thea Barfoot had just conducted the first dog training day school at the national trust owned park with a view to helping owners gain control of wayward mutts.

She said: "These days, laws and penalties for allowing dogs to run riot are a lot tougher than they were, and it can be a real problem for owners whose dogs tend to ignore their calls or will not come back on a leash."

She added: "Hatfield Forest has had many problems with dogs chasing cows, sheep and deer in the park and it was agreed that by running regular classes we could help train the dogs and help owners enjoy the park without the stress. That is why I was brought in."

Seven owners and their dogs attended the class on Saturday morning taking part in a range of exercises designed to teach dogs correct behaviour in real life situations.

Mrs Barfoot said: "We did a lot of recall work to build a relationship of command between owner and dog. Also we took a tour of the forest and used noisy areas for distractions tests, to try and teach the dogs to focus on instructions rather than the surrounding events."

She added: "It was a great success on the day for the dogs and the owners and the class is well worth attending. It can really take the pressure of taking the dog to such a popular area like the forest.

The next class takes place on May 9. Call 01279 874852 to enrol, places are restricted to eight maximum so one on one training can be done. Classes last for between two and three hours.

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