DogFest kicks off training

DOGFEST: The Leave It dog training program will be launched at DogFest to be held in Capalaba Regional Park on June 4.
DOGFEST: The Leave It dog training program will be launched at DogFest to be held in Capalaba Regional Park on June 4.

A dog training program will be launched at DogFest, being staged from 10am to 3pm on Sunday, June 4 at Capalaba Regional Park.

The Leave It program is an initiative of Social Marketing @ Griffith, in partnership with Redland City Council. It stems from a Griffith University survey of Redland dog owners which found that 57 per cent of dogs dug holes, 32 per cent chew furniture, 10 per cent have caught wildlife and nine per cent killed wildlife.

DogFest will feature live music, food trucks, giveaways and dog competitions and demonstrations.

“Free puppicinos, temporary tattoos and dog tea will  be on offer,” Director, Social Marketing @ Griffith Sharyn Rundle-Thiele said.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the fun-focussed event had a more serious purpose  and that was encouraging dog training.

“This is an exciting initiative that uses innovative techniques supported by science to train dogs to follow commands. The program has shown that dogs that are trained to ‘leave it’ are more likely to live in harmony with native Australian animals, including our local koala population, which we know is vulnerable to dog attacks,” Cr Williams said.

“Social Marketing @ Griffith was awarded a contract by Council to develop and implement a pilot behaviour change strategy, to complement our revised 39 point Koala Conservation Action Plan – adopted last December. We are delighted to see this come to fruition.”

Professor Rundle-Thiele said the Griffith University survey showed that just 38 per cent of dogs came back when called on a consistent basis and only a third of pooches could be trusted not to chase things.

“We surveyed people to understand more about dogs and we investigated a range of ways we might be able to help working with Redland dog owners to design the Leave It program,” she said.

Beginning in June, Leave It will offer a variety of training sessions for dogs of all ages and abilities.

“Enriched dogs are better behaved dogs. We all want to be able to co-exist together. We have listened to what Redland dog owners want and the time is here to see what we can do together,”  Professor Rundle-Thiele said.

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