On the 5th December 1974, the Waikato Canine Obedience Club was duly formed. The founder of the club was a lady by the name of Annelise Hamilton who passed away on the 8th December 2000. She was actively involved with the club to the very end.
Features of the club at that time: –
Puppy kindergarten classes for the first time in NZ. These classes consisted of making the owners aware of their responsibilities for their dogs general welfare and social behaviour ie. Hygiene, food value and basic first aid. Also, catering for dogs 6 months and over with first and second elementary classes. Some handlers achieving CDX titles. Edgecumbe Park was training grounds for a while especially during the winter months in the early days with domestic training sessions being held later at Te Rapa Hall.
First training assistants were Myra Grace and John Andrews.
A Xmas party in December 1975 was held to celebrate the first birthday.
The first Ribbon Trial was held on the 18th January 1976 at Taupiri Football grounds. There were 56 dogs and 84 entries. They also ran a specials event, heel on lead with jump, heel free with slalom, recall through A frame, retrieve over a jump. This event attracted 61 entries. The second Ribbon Trial was held on the 25th April 1976 on Harries property at Hautapu with 39 handlers and 54 entries. The 3rd Ribbon Trial was held at Annelise Hamilton’s (club founder) property at Matangi Road Hamilton with 50 handlers and 72 entries.
The first Championship show was held on the 17th October 1976 at Narrows Park with 73 handlers and 98 entries. Championship shows were held in March and October each year. The 2nd Championship show was held on the 20th March 1977 with 86 dogs and 119 entries at Narrows Park again.
In the Presidents report in 1977, the President (Betty Cousins) strongly recommended that we become Incorporated Societies, this happened on the 18th August 1983. Today, we are still an Incorporated Society. The name of the club changed to Waikato Canine Obedience Club Inc.
In 1980, the club purchased agility equipment and started offering agility training to the public. Today, the club does not offer agility training and all gear has been sold.
In February 1981, Council gave the club some ground in Te Rapa also gave permission to build a club house.
In 1984, Anneliese Hamilton purchased the clubrooms, arranged for them to be transported onto site (Bristol Park), and dealt with all financial and legal matters associated with this mammoth task. Ron Cordiner did the repairs as club builder as this building was a abandoned building with wild life making it their home. Sandra Holmes and Keith Neilsen dug the trenches and laid cable for the floodlights in the position they are in today. Toilets were under construction in 1985.
In February 1985, Bristol Park becomes the permanent grounds of the club and is where we still remain today. Renovations were slow. Interior walls, ceiling, storeroom and electrical wiring was completed during 1985. The deed was signed between the club and Hamilton City Council on the 27th June 1986.
The longest standing current member and now life member Mike Draper joined the club with his first dog a German Shepherd called Shaza in 1989. Mike has continued to support the club actively including when he lived in Auckland. Mike is the second longest Executive member with holding Vice President and President since 1993 for 12 years as well as a number of years as a committee member.
Other life members are Annelise Hamilton (late), Fred Ferla, Sheila Carkeek, Lou Carkeek, Rose Bowen (late), Allan Stretton, Anne Cordiner (late), Mary Ellen Bezzant, Sherie Draper (currently active), Mike Draper (currently active), Olivia Paley (currently active) and Dannie Jefferies (currently active).
Sherie Draper is actively involved as Treasurer and Head Trainer since 1992. She is the longest standing Executive member to date with holding Treasurer for over 20 years. Sherie has been the driving force behind the introduction of the training manuals and systems.
In September 2001, the club held its Silver Jubilee of obedience shows which was held after the Championship shows that year.
In January 2003, with dwindling numbers in competition obedience, the club made the decision to resign from the New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC).
In 2007, with increasing interest and a keen committee, the club returned to NZKC in 2008 and held their first ribbon trial in March with great support from our members, local competitors and other clubs.
Today, the club is run by an awesome committee of 11 people who are passionate about dogs and helping the public have well mannered obedient pets. The club has continued to grow and with the introduction of systems and training manuals is force to be reckoned with. The club prides itself on being professional, well organised, delivering excellent results.