AGILITY IN ATHENS 2003
|Having returned from Helsinki a few days before, I was once more flying
over Europe to Athens to work with Yiannis Arahovitis founder of StarDogs
Positive Training (www.stardogs.gr), who I have worked closely with
for almost a year now.
||I found it particularly rewarding to see the amazing progress
the dogs and handlers had made since my last visit in November,
bearing in mind that there was no knowledge of these dog sports in
that part of the world, nor any equipment available to them a year
ago. With incredible ingenuity these dog enthusiasts had
managed to build all their own equipment (including a rigid
tunnel!) and were even able to give an agility demonstration at a
big indoor show.
|The Greek audience were absolutely amazed to see the dogs going
through tunnels, over jumps, through tyres, and over dog-walks as
most of the population see dogs either as a nuisance (the State is
well known for leaving poison to rid themselves of the "noisy
vermin" and so many pet dogs and strays die in long and
excruciating agony), or chained up to guard their
property. The audience were struck by the enthusiasm
and intelligence of the different kinds of dogs that were in the
display (many of which had been street dogs) and were keen to learn
more about these new, positive and above all kind training
||Although Greece is far behind Britain in its treatment and
attitude towards dogs, these pioneering dog handlers are helping
not only their dogs enjoy working as part of a partnership, they
are showing their fellow countrymen that dogs and humans can live a
far more harmonious life together.
|As well as doing various agility training sessions in the
beautiful surroundings of an orange grove (but very bitter wind -
hence the warm coats!) I also gave a talk to various dog trainers
on the Give Your Dog A Bone Diet (based on the book by Dr Ian
Billinghurst), and took part in a Web Chat with dog owners and
trainers from various parts of Greece (luckily it was in English!).
Also the Greeks love to dance and party and I was feted and looked
after to such a degree that I came home an awful lot heavier than
when I went out (and the luggage as well!).
I look forward to returning, perhaps later this year, to give
further help and advice and also promote DOG-GAMES in Greece.
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