Dog School Volunteers

by Kevin Holden // August 2017

Dog School Volunteers

At Dog School not only are there two members of staff at each class but we also have a lot of help from our wonderful volunteers.

This is a day in the life of Kevin, one of those volunteers!

Since last September, I have helped out at the Tuesday night classes at Huyton and more recently on Wednesday night at Warrington.

Michelle and Luke are excellent trainers who I’ve learned lots from since starting volunteering. They are great to get on with and are up for a laugh which makes the classes’ relaxed and great fun to be in. 

Depending on which class, or which week in the five week course it is, the first thing to do is to help set up the room.

Stations are set up and Kong’s or snuffles mats are filled with treats ready to help the dogs settle.

Everyday objects are placed around the room. Sometimes I’ve been dressed in a wig and hi-vis jacket as well as having a walking stick, an umbrella or even a handbag to walk around the barn and the dogs with to help them get used to ‘sights’ they may come across in the real world.

Hopefully, other volunteers do this too (and it’s not just for Michelle’s amusement!!)

The main thing though about volunteering is to be there as an extra pair of hands and eyes for Michelle and Luke while classes are taking place.  Talking to the dog owners while they are practicing and helping out with activities such as recall training, four on the floor, sits and downs as well as being ready with treats for the dogs are usual parts of each night.

Cleaning up little accidents or taking the dogs out for a toilet break can also be part of helping out. 

As there are two or three classes each night, as soon as one is over everything needs to be ready for the next one and then at the end, all of the equipment has to be packed up and the room cleaned ready for the next day, so everyone mucking in gets the job done quicker. 

It’s great watching how much the dog’s develop over the five weeks and knowing that in some little way, you’ve been part of it is very rewarding. 

Volunteering at Dog School is great and it’s something I would recommend other Dogs Trust volunteers and members of the public try out if they get the chance.

If you are interested in volunteering at Dog School Merseyside then please contact the team at merseysidedogschool@dogstrust.org.uk