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University LINKs Scheme

Harper Adams University (UK) 

Mr Stephen Baugh
Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences
Email: sbaugh@harper-adams.ac.uk





This summer, students at Harper Adams University spent their link monies on training stray dogs at the local dog shelter to try and make them more attractive to prospective adopters. Their challenge was for the 22 inexperienced student handlers to take 22 untrained long term canine residents and train them to pass all ten tasks required of the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog bronze test – all in the space of five days.

Training stray dogsTraining stray dogsTraining stray dogs

With the help of top dog trainer, John Rogerson, the dogs were taught to walk nicely on a lead, an out of sight recall, stay on command and to accept being groomed. Lecturer and workshop organiser, Louise Buckley, commented “it was very emotional and there were tears all round when students had to part with their dog at the end of the week. Many have continued to visit their assigned dog.”

Students set up a facebook page, Hilbrae Doggy Boot Camp 2013, where video footage, pictures and updates were regularly posted to show the dogs progress through the week. Some videos were watched by over 400 people in 24 hours which helped spur everyone on.   

Training stray dogs

Training stray dogs

The big question is how did the dogs fair in the exam? Amazingly, 21 out of 22 dogs passed all ten tasks! Six of the 22 dogs have been adopted so far (two weeks after the workshop finished). Happily, this included one depressed wee dog (Amy) that had waited two years for a new home without any interest being shown. We call that a result – roll on Doggy Boot Camp 2014.