Paw-some club celebrates 50 golden years

Speed: Azura the border collie (above) in agility training. photograph alyssa fritzlaff

Alyssa Fritzlaff

Tunnel time: Small, but mighty Kit in
agility training (left). photograph alyssa fritzlaff
Obedience: A dobermann enjoying training. photograph alyssa fritzlaff

THE Gippsland Dog Obedience Club (GDOC) is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

It was in 1971 when locals, originally led by Sergeant Kevin Robinson and Constable Fred Vermay, banded together to form a small group of people passionate about dog training.

Since then, the club has had many homes, originating at Travers St Oval, Morwell and eventually ended up at Toners Lane – where GDOC remains today.

Committee member Elaine Collier has been with the club for 15 years, beginning when she decided to take her kelpie-cross to obedience training.

“It’s a fantastic way of getting people to socialise their dogs and it’s a great socialisation for the people as well,” Ms Collier said.

“It’s all about bonding and connecting with your dog, because if you don’t have that connection it’s just so hard to train them.”

The club teaches members about responsible pet ownership, and classes range from general obedience to disciplines like Agility and Tracking.

The introductory classes for puppies and adults teach basic commands, like sitting and recall, helping owners to better understand their dogs and instil good behaviours.

Members take part in competitions throughout Victoria and interstate, in events such as Trick, Herding, Obedience and Agility, Tracking and several more – with past and present members earning Australian National Kennel Club titles.

The first members to receive recognised titles were Joe Langenakker with his Samoyed dog ‘George’, and Eddie Wienand with his German Shepherd ‘Rex’.

A demonstration team was established to represent GDOC at events, and eventually found themselves in high demand, performing at events like the Traralgon Show, Latrobe City’s Pet Expo and the RSPCA Million Paws Walk.

All work at the club is voluntary, and those involved are dedicated dog lovers who spend time mentoring new members and help train their dogs.

Like many other sporting clubs and groups, GDOC was impacted by COVID-19, and 2020 was a lost year for many members.

However, in 2021 the club was able to hold their first Scent Works trial with Dogs Victoria, for which they hold many events each year.

Training is held at the Toners Lane club grounds on Saturday mornings, with members travelling from all over Gippsland to participate.

For more information on GDOC, visit,