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History

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John and Betty Tallentire founded Barnard Castle Dog Training Club approximately 18 years ago. The club offered classes in obedience from puppies to adult dogs. Dogs from the age of 1 year old were then able to begin agility training. The club has grown over the years seeing changes in its members and the classes offered.

At the current date Barnard Castle Dog Training club has approximately 30 members. It offers training in agility and also flyball.

Mr. J. Tallentire was one of the founders of Barnard Castle Dog Training club. He has recently retired from the world of agility and will be missed by many people (and their dogs of course). During the many years that he has been associated with dog agility he not only formed Barnard Castle Dog Training Club, but has continued to train its members until a couple of years ago. And he certainly put them through their paces.

John was a very popular judge and has had many judging appointments not only in this country but several abroad. He judged at some of the leading dog agility shows, including Olympia. His last judging appointment was at Northern Agility week earlier this year, which was held at Pecknall farm, Barnard Castle. It was quite apt that the appointment was for some of the newly formed championship classes, what a note to retire on.

John was a representative on the agility council of the Kennel club (the governing body of agility) until earlier this year.

We can’t forget Betty, John’s wife, who has trained agility alongside John for many years. She also trained obedience for puppies and new starters. These classes where essential for those wishing to do agility. The classes where later taken on by Pat Ralph another Barnard Castle Club member. Betty also Judged on many occasions throughout the numerous years with which she has been associated with agility.

Barnard Castle club members wish to thank both of them for all the help, support and training they have received over the years.

Below is the story of how the club started as told by Betty Tallentire...

It started about 1978/9.  We had two dogs and we had some problems, one a serious recall problem that led to us loosing the dog concerned in the end so we looked about for dog training classes.  The nearest was Darlington but we couldn’t get on the night of the Obedience class so they suggested this
new thing called Agility.  It was only just being formed in those days. All the equipment was home made and varied a great deal.  After a few months John was hooked and started building his own equipment.  The baby’s cot was dismantled to make jumps, an old swing frame supported the tyre. We acquired some old mining ducting (complete with dust) for tunnels, fortunately it was a warm summer so I could wear an old bathing costume while I was inside scrubbing it clean with the kids holding the hose pipe.
It was all good amateur fun in those days.

We kept the equipment in out back garden and carried it all over to the field at Woodside each time we wanted to practise.  We got a few friends involved and other people passing by noticed what we were doing and we soon had a small group training.  It soon became obvious that some basic obedience was needed before agility training could be effective, so we started a small class.  As things continued to grow it was obvious we had to get organised.

A Dog Training Instructors Course was held annually then in Totnes, and is still going though at a different venue.  Betty attended first in 1983 and after that BCDTC was officially formed.  Training started in the community hall at Stainton Grove as most of the Church halls in town didn’t want anything to do with dogs.  John went on the course in 1985 so the Club then had two Instructors.  Over the years the Club has sent several other members on this course.  As the Clubs reputation grew we were able to move Obedience training into town, first into the Congregational Church Hall and then into the Parish Hall where for many years we offered three levels of Classes – Beginners, Improvers and Advance.  We also held Responsible Dog Handlers Tests for which we awarded certificates, an idea that has subsequently been taken up by the Kennel Club.

Agility competition began mainly as demonstrations at various country fairs throughout the country.  Notably Lowther and Lartington.  There were only about six big shows but one or two smaller demos’s here and there.
Competitions run by Clubs began in the early ‘80’s.  BCDTC’s first was held on Glaxo sports field before the Sports Centre was built.  We had sponsorship from Glaxovet and awarded an annual shield for the winner of an
accumulator, one agility round and one jumping round.The first show was in 1985 and annually shows have been held ever since, two at Glaxo, five or six at Startforth Park and the rest at Pecknell.

Agility Training in the field at Woodside was threatened when the land was put forward for planning permission as building land so we looked around for an alternative venue.   We saw this deserted wilderness at the back of the allotments on the Desmesnes, they had originally been four allotments but the condition of the soil was so bad nothing would grow and everyone had given up on them so the Council agreed that we could rent the area for training.

Everyone got together one weekend in August, we had the shoulder high weed growth taken off mechanically, then we got going with the hired rotavator, a lot of buckets for stone collecting and rakes for levelling.  It took quite a long time and it never really got levelled but in the end we were able to through the grass seed around then sit back and watch the grass grow.  We bought a container for the equipment, moved in the following spring, and the Dog Club had it’s own home.

Memories by Mr. Peter Jennings...

My earliest/first recollection of Barnard Castle Dog Training Club was way back in the 1980’s. I then ran a border collie by the name of Sweep. Barnard Castle trained at the top of Montalbo road those days when John and Betty Tallentire where starting/establishing the club. Each year they used to put on a dog agility display at the annual Barnard Castle Meet weekend on the field next to the present training ground. With Barnard Castle club been so small John asked us if we could make the numbers up for the demo and this was my introduction to the club. We had a great time then went to a local pub for our lunch. I must take my hat off to John and Betty they certainly organised some good fun days.

Then there was our annual own show, which was first run at Glaxo Sports field. If we had 100 entries we considered it a big show, how times have moved on, and talking about moving on.

My first collie Sweep was my most successful collie. He qualified for Olympia on three successive years and we ran at Crufts in the Team competition. He was a wonderful dog that took very little training. His career was brought to a premature end when he was run over by a car and had his leg broken. He successfully competed after this, indeed winning an open class. But arthritis set in and I had to retire him from competition at the age of 8.

But on the lighter side I am now running his great grandson Wag, who is doing well for me, winning into senior in his first season and competing well at senior level. My Wife is running his father now who is also a senior dog and also Margaret’s first dog. I am very proud of the standard she has achieved and over the moon to be able to share my sport with my wife.

Well Barney dog training club must have been in existence for approximately 20 years now and I look forward to the next 20 years, and good luck to the flyball team at crufts for the 2nd time and keep yourselves fit for Saturday’s training sessions. - P Jennings

Note from Club secretary – Peter continues to train our competition standard dogs each Saturday afternoon in the winter and he certainly keeps us on our toes, bottoms and anything else that comes into contact with the ground. Fit!!! You have to be to complete a training session run by Peter. Thanks a lot Pete we are grateful to you for putting us through our paces and lots of us hope to join you in seniors one day. - G Russell