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Singing from the same hymn sheet...

The first Clear Q's Agility Camp took place on 1-4 July 2013 and finished in the Cheltenham sunshine. And what a glorious four days it was! Greg Derrett, Ant Clarke, Shaun Hunt and Jo Tristram hatched the idea of a four day, residential camp over a year ago. Their goal was to create an enjoyable environment where people would receive consistent, high quality training from a group of instructors with a proven national and international track record with multiple dogs. Jo Tristram reports...

 We felt it was important that our camp had four trainers currently competing at the top of our sport, all teaching the same methods, with a camp structured in a way that allowed a clear progression of understanding and training over the four days.

With 40 people attending, we spent time discussing our grouping and felt splitting by handler experience of the way we teach rather than size or grade helped to make the groups a comfortable yet challenging level for all. The excitement started to build as soon as I emailed out the group allocations a week before and built up to everyone’s arrival on the Sunday night. 

When we went around the site visiting all the campers and caravans and delivering the camp clothing and welcome packs, everyone was buzzing for the welcome brief at 8am the next morning.

The camp schedule was split in to two sections.

Day 1 and Day 2 saw each of the four groups working with each trainer who was focusing on a specific handling manoeuvre.

Day 3 and Day 4 took the knowledge learnt in the first part of the camp and then tested it by combining the handling skills, teaching decision making with the handling options and also going back to foundation skills to address any of the training issues we had uncovered. 

Whilst lots of work was done, handlers remained in their groups the entire week and it was nice to hear the cheering when achievements were made around the camp at different times. A real camaraderie had developed between not just existing friends but those who had arrived on their own not knowing anyone or from abroad!

The learning continued in the early evening with lectures on:-

  • Establishing Reinforcement

  • Preparing the dog and handler for events

  • Understanding Games

The days always ended for those that still had energy left with a nice cold drink at the bar as we had also been blessed with lovely warm weather!

The four days flew past and, in our final question and answer sessions on the last day of camp, the first question thrown at us was ‘please can you do this again?' So it seems we will! not just in the already planned August but next year, too. Exact dates will be released soon, but there will definitely be more Clear Q's Camps in the future. Keep your eyes peeled on Agilitynet Facebook and other agility press for news.

While the August camp is fully booked for handling spots, we can still offer spectator places. For more information or to register foe one of next year's camps, please email joannetristram@hotmail.com

Lastly I must thank our sponsors who were great and so generous, specifically Doggy Jumps by Poly Jumps, Muddy Paws On-line Shop, Burns Pet Nutrition, Clean Run, PetRehab and Tace Allen- Hunt.

First published 9 July 2013