Batley dog club trainers celebrate after members place at Crufts

Organisers of a Batley based dog training class have spoken of their pride after several members placed at this year's Crufts event.

By Jessica Barton
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 6:00 am
Lisa Selby, left, and Ruth Copping, set up Soothill Ringcraft Club in November 2021.
Lisa Selby, left, and Ruth Copping, set up Soothill Ringcraft Club in November 2021.

Soothill Ringcraft Club, based at the Whitfield Centre in Batley, was set up by Ruth Copping and Lisa Selby in November last year, after realising there was nowhere local for dogs to train.

Although the club has only been running for a short period of time, more than 10 of its members placed at this year's Crufts competition, held earlier this month.

Ruth said: “We get dogs from as far away as Harrogate and Barnsley and they all come and enjoy themselves - everyone seems to be enjoying the club.

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Tracy Foster, at her first ever Crufts with her Maltese Terrier Missy.

“Around 10-15 of our members have been placed at Crufts this year - which is an added bonus.

“For some of them it was their first time at Crufts.

“We have got over a few teething problems with their dogs and they all said they showed really well at Crufts, which is amazing - it is great to know we have helped them.”

Crufts is the greatest and biggest dog event in the world and is organised by The Kennel Club.

Gaynor Pilkington pictured with her Whippet Austin.

It is held at The National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, and celebrates every aspect of a dog’s role.

Tracy Foster, one of the club members who placed at the event with her dog Missy, said:“Ruth and Lisa give you that encouragement that makes you feel like you can do it.

“They just make you feel so welcome.

“When you first go to some of these places everyone seems to know what they are doing with the dog.

Junior handler, Lena Tate, 11, placed second in her handling class at Crufts.

“When you go in and you don’t know anything it makes you debate whether you should be there or not - this club is just completely different.”

Missy placed fifth in the Maltese bitch postgraduate category at Crufts

Tracy added: “Missy is quite a nervous dog and yet she seemed fine - it was me that was nervous.”

Tracy’s daughter, Tanika, who is disabled, also attends the dog show training sessions.

Tracy explains: “My daughter has a lot of disabilities and they treat her like everyone else and give her help and advice, even though she only does fun dog shows.

“It is nice for her to be accepted and get the same treatment and training as everyone else.”

Gaynor Pilkington, club member, also placed this year with whippet Austin.

Gaynor explained how after getting lockdown puppy Austin, there was nowhere in the area she could take him to train.

After trying a few other clubs near Barnsley, she was delighted when she came across the club, which is right on her doorstep.

Gaynor said: “They have been really patient with Austin. He was nervous around other dogs, but he has overcome that, which has made a big difference to him and his progress.

“He has come on in leaps and bounds since going there.”

Gaynor “couldn't believe it” when Austin was placed in two classes at Crufts, undergraduate and graduate.

Gaynor added: “I didn't go with any expectations because the whippet classes are massive.

“I was shortlisted in the first class and was over the moon, but when she moved us all again he moved so well and we were pulled out second place. I was so emotional because it was beyond my expectations.

“I was sceptical about going to the second class because he had done so well, but I thought it was just practice, but he placed second in that class as well - I just couldn’t believe it.

“It was an amazing day.

“I just want to say a great big massive thank you to Ruth and Lisa for fulfilling the dream and helping so many people with their dogs - it’s fantastic.

“It takes me back years and how Ringcraft classes used to be. It is a really friendly club and everybody seems to be getting on with each other.”

The club runs every Wednesday, between 7pm-9pm, at the Whitfield Centre, 180 Soothill Lane, Batley, WF17 6HP.

Training is £3 per dog or £5 for two.

For more information email [email protected] or visit the club’s Facebook page.