County Derry dog trainer nominated for prestigious NI Pet Award
A County Derry dog training company that prides itself on its ethical training methods has been nominated for a national award.
Established in 2014 by Robert Duddy, Drumagore Dog Training and Behavior has continued to go from strength to strength over the past eight years.
The business, located between Ballykelly and Greysteel, has now been shortlisted in the Dog Trainer/Obedience Class of the Year category of the NI Pet Awards.
Robert, who has over 30 years of industry experience, will face six other managers from Antrim, Derry and Tyrone, all vying for the prestigious title on June 4.
Robert, who spent 20 years at a local club before training service dogs, said he was “delighted” that his business was nominated for the top prize.
Explaining that he has “trained all his life”, Robert said: “I’ve always had an interest in dogs and dog training. Many years ago I bought myself a dog and then I joined a club and got really into it from there and I think the virus really hit me and I didn’t not left since.
Drumagore prides itself on its high standards and the safe and ethical training of its customers’ beloved pets, as the man from Waterside explains.
“I use ethical standards to train dogs,” Robert said.
“In this part of the world there is an increase in aversive trainers, some using prong collars, which are as awful as they look. In all my years I have never seen claw collar until about three years ago and I was shocked by it.
“We use ethical and science-based methods to train a dog, like treat training, it’s all about the dog and building a beautiful relationship with the dog. Dog training has come such a long way in the past 20 years.
Offering group and one-to-one tuition, as well as behavioral issues, Robert says he’s been “very busy” since opening.
“I always get a buzz when people say ‘you were recommended to me,'” he continued.
“Many vets will recommend dogs come here for behavioral work. Other dog trainers will also send dogs here, so we have become stronger and stronger, so much so that we are hiring two new trainers.
“It’s nice to have so much local support. I buzz with local support, I really am. I always say to my wife, “You know you’re doing something right when the locals start coming to you.”
Looking ahead to next month’s awards ceremony, which will take place in Belfast, Robert is now hoping
the inhabitants will support him by voting for him.
“It would be great to win. Dog trainers are very competitive, we are always competing to win,” he said.
“I would be really hyped to win the prize and ask people to vote for us. If we won it, I would be over the moon because it would be such a big boost for science-based ethical education.
“Dog training in general is an unregulated business. Anyone can come up and become a dog trainer after completing a six-week course,” he added.
“I’ve been doing it forever and I’m a member of the Pet Professional Guild, I’m a master dog trainer and I can’t or won’t get out of the code of conduct.
“It would mean a lot to Drumagore Dog Training, but it would also be great to show what the North West can offer.”
To vote for Robert, visit https://www.northernirelandpetawards.com/vote and vote for Drumagore in the category Dog Trainer / Obedience Class of the Year (Antrim/L’Derry/Tyrone).