***A Brief History of the Club***

A long, long

Time ago in a galaxy

Far, far away..
Or was it over 35 years ago in a

Paddock not so far away?
 The Whangarei Dog Obedience Association had its inaugural meeting on 28 February 1980 in the Morningside Scout Den in Jellicoe Street. This Meeting effectively formed a training club which was a break-away from the Northland Canine Association, which still operates as an all breeds club.

The first President was Dale Hannam and Vice President was Don Ross. The Chief Instructor was Mack McDougall, and other founding members of the committee of note were Nadine Walker, Margaret Gardner & Barbara Massey.

The first Obedience Championship Show was held in November 1980 at Kensington Park in conjunction with the Northland Canine Association Show. Indeed, the NCA helped to run the first show. Judges at the first show were Margaret Murray (Steward Jane Black) and Miss Sue Elton (now Sue Howe). The cost of an obedience entry that year was raised to $4.00

Meanwhile in that paddock nearby...Pam Tong, Heather Routley and Sue Hersey started agility training in the ’80s. That famous empty paddock on Western Hills drive is now the Jennian Show Homes site. Later on the training moved to a paddock in Tikipunga next to Heather’s house.
The next move was to the current site in Otaika. Rod Pearce was a member of the club in the late 1980’s.
He was often Show Manager for us, and did a smashing job.

Early attempts to raise the profile of the club saw the WDOA doing a display (obedience and agility) at the Whangarei A. & P. Show in 1987. The people involved in those early years included Colin Mackey (compere - President & Chief Instructor), Peter Norgate, the Slaters, Sue Hersey, Pam Tong, Gillian Bicknell, Peter Hesen , Liz Wright (she is now Liz Shi), Sybal Graham, and later Adrian Fooy.

In the early quest for information on training techniques, approaches were made to the Police Dog Training School in Trentham for some advice, to which they replied and sent some useful information. Wayne Tong made most of the early wooden equipment and Pam, his wife, and others painted it (brown!!) - David made the seesaw. Early training gear was pretty basic with big cardboard boxes from washing machines and other appliances, used as tunnels and an old cable reel used as a stay table.

The first club member to become Obedience Champion was Barbara Massey with her German Shepherd Dog, Bonny. Other club members to achieve Obedience Champion status are Anthony Scott and his Golden Retriever Beau, more recently, October 2008, Ed Knynenburg with his dobermann Tui. This combination also went on to gain their Obedience Grand Champion title in 2012.
To further prove his skill as a trainer, in 2014, Ed gained another Obedience Champion title, this time with his young dobermann Wodan.
Vivian Webb achived her Obedience Champion title with her working dog Alfie in 2015, with a 2nd placing in testC at the WDTA Champ Show in November of that year.

We have yet to achieve any Agility Champions in the club but Anne Cozens and Suzie were the first to make it to Senior Class. Suzie was later joined by three other members who made it to senior level.

The club became Whangarei Dog Training Association in 1996 to reflect the addition of the sport of Agility to its training regime. Crys and Nigel Mewitt were heavily involved in the promotion and development of the sport of Agility in the club.
The first Agility Championship Show was held in November 1999 at Otaika Sports Park.
Since those early days the club continues to develop, weekly dog walks in public spaces and Rally-O have been included in the trainings offered and Rally-O was added to our Championship Show in 2012 (organised and run with the assistance of the Mangawhai DTC). We are one of the few clubs that holds combined Agility and Obedience Shows.

WDTA is well represented at shows around the country by a small band of hardy and dedicated competitors. We continue to provide weekly group classes in dog training and good manners to dog owners in the community and club members.

Stay tuned....there is more to come.

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Last Updated 24 February, 2015