Thursday, February 3, 2011
Dog events are held around the country every year, and they are all sponsored by a dog club. Whether it's an event in obedience, a conformation dog show, agility or field trials – it was organized by a dog club. Even if you have never participated in a sponsored event, joining a dog club is to your advantage and may even inspire you to enter your dog in one of their events.
Before joining any dog club, you must first decide what it is you want from one. You can find a variety of dog clubs, each with their own area of interest, and not all dog clubs are AKC sponsored. Clubs are for people and their dogs who share a love for a specific breed, or an enthusiasm for hiking, surfing, field trials, agility, obedience and many other interests. The one thing they all have in common is a love for dogs and an activity the members are interested in. Some dog clubs have a relaxed atmosphere while others are more demanding and want the dogs to be well behaved. It depends on the individual club, so you need to understand what's expected before joining one. However, all clubs expect dogs to be socialized with other dogs and people.
Advantages of Dog Clubs
Dog clubs hold around 5,000 events each year sponsored by the AKC. If you're interested in earning points for your dog, these are the types of dog clubs that would fit your needs. AKC sponsored events are more structured and regulated by rules, but if you want to get into showing, agility, herding or field trials, and you are serious about promoting and improving your dog's performance, this kind of dog club would be a good choice. Dog clubs can give you networking opportunities, advice and possible contacts.
Another advantage of belonging to a dog club is that it gives you access to a lot of different people and dogs. It's a great place to take a new puppy to help him learn proper socialization skills. You will meet people who can help you learn the ropes if you are just getting into showing, competing in agility, or any other activity. You can find a huge amount of expertise at a dog club, and most people are happy to help a fellow club member out. Plus, it gives you quality time with your dog in an environment where everyone loves dogs.
Many dog clubs visit schools to help teach kids about responsible dog ownership. It's an opportunity to introduce kids to different breeds, so they have a chance to meet a well mannered dog regardless of what his breed is. Clubs have had good success promoting responsible pet ownership, and if this is something you might like to get involved with, a dog club is the place to go.
Joining a Dog Club is Easy
Once you've found the right club, you will need to fill out a membership application and pay a small membership fee. Some clubs may require someone to vouch for you or have one of their members sponsor you, but not all clubs have this requirement. Don't be afraid to ask questions so you know what you need to do. Once you've been notified of your acceptance into the dog club, you can then participate in club sponsored activities and events, attend meetings and vote. Most dog clubs give you discounts on entry fees for planned events, training sessions, seminars and classes.
Belonging to a dog club does have responsibilities. As a member, be prepared to jump in with both feet and volunteer to help out at sponsored events or share your expertise with others. It's always good to attend monthly meetings so you can stay abreast of what's going on and add to any discussions taking place that are meant to make the club better for everyone. Learn what their rules are and make sure to follow them.
You can find dog clubs for every breed and any activity you can think of, and probably some you've never even heard of. If you're interested in joining a dog club, go to some of their events first to see how they are run and if it's a club you would like to join. It could turn out to be the best thing you've ever done for you and your dog.
Photo by Boxercab
Read more articles by Linda Cole