Thai Dogs and Agility Training

Thais do not Train their Dogs

One hell of a racket this morning. All the wild dogs at the wat were barking and howling. Something had upset them. Of course, that set our dogs off.

In rural areas, dogs are kept to deter burglars. Many Thais can’t afford insurance. And police don’t patrol at night.

The dogs are rarely trained or even exercised. They can be quite vicious and, if they have not been immunised, can pose an even greater danger.

Guillaume’s Dog Training School

In his Thai wife’s name, because he can’t legally run the training school himself, Guillaume has set up a dog training centre. He has an uncanny way with dogs that gets them to respond to him quickly. He seems to understand how they think and react. Guillaume has built an agility course which dogs love and which is popular with his expat clientele. It helps in training dogs to be obedient and under control. Only one Thai family has joined his club and stayed. They see the benefits.

A dog going through the weave poles at speed
A dog going through the weave poles at speed

The majority of his customers are farang though he had a few hi-so Thais in the beginning as clients. His agility course includes jumps, tunnels, an A-frame, and a series of poles through which the dog has to weave. He starts each training programme with basic obedience drills: walking to heel off-lead, retrieving a thrown object, getting the dog to sit or lay down with the handler out of sight.

A dog coming to the end of the see-saw
There are “touch points” at the end of the see-saw and the dog must not jump off before he touches them

His foreign customers and their dogs enjoy the regular practice sessions and some are getting to competition standard. Most of Guillaume’s Thai customers tend to come for a few weeks and you never see them again. In their eyes, dogs are for protection and don’t require training.

Thais won’t put their pets down, and many unwanted dogs end up at the local temple. They live off what the monks can give them and scavenge around the local sois. You need to watch out for them when you are driving.

There are cases of strays being poisoned, but generally the locals will not harm dogs or even shoo them away. They thus become confident when lying on roadways and will not move out of a car’s way as readily as they would in the West.

Exiting the tunnel, moving quite quickly
Having exited the tunnel, the dog is running at speed to the next obstacle
Moving slowly up the A=frame
This dog is a novice and taking things slowly
The handler is making sure her dog touches the yellow touch point before completing the rest of the course

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