Why Join A Dog Club?
Dog clubs provide an amazing source of help and guidance to dog owners, which is often totally underestimated by the uninitiated. Imagine the dog owner who does not have access to all the information available at a dog club. When they encounter a food intolerance or challenging behaviour where do they go for help? If they would like to find out about breeding and the best way to bring up puppies for re-homing, who do they talk to? Should they wish to take part in activities with their dog where do they look for that information?
Internet forums are many people’s first port of call when they require information these days, but it can be difficult to weed out the good advice from the bad and information may be based on anecdote rather than scientific fact. Dog owners who are members of a dog club have the benefits of being able to meet up with fellow enthusiasts locally as well as often having online journals at their disposal to get reliable, up-to-date information. They can discuss the merits of different diets and dog foods, compare notes on dealing with unwanted dog behaviour and learn more about their dog. They can pick the brains of a wide body of experts, from vets to law specialists. Extra knowledge which can only serve to make them a better and more responsible dog owner.
There are quite a few different types of dog club, including the following:
- Breed Clubs – When owners of a particular breed pool their resources in a Breed Club, they make an incredible network of enthusiastic, knowledgeable dog owners and breeders who can advise on diet, welfare, behaviour, shows, meets and all manner of things related to the breed.
- Breed Councils – Breed Councils offer those involved in the running of their local breed club the opportunity to be part of the regional and national councils and have influence on major issues impacting the breed.
- Puppy Socialising – These useful clubs provide valuable opportunities for new dog owners or breeders of puppies to meet people in the same position as them and to aid in socialising puppies.
- Training and Obedience Clubs – A great way for new dog owners to meet other people in their local area whilst working through valuable training and obedience classes.
- Activity Clubs – Agility, heelwork to music and flyball are just some of the fun ways to exercise with a dog and make new friends.
- Ring Craft Clubs – For those keen to get into showing their dog regionally and nationally, ring craft clubs are a vital source of information. They are often visited by show judges who can provide essential tips and advice on what will be expected in the show ring and run through practice judging sessions.
- Regional and General Canine Societies – Charities, dog welfare societies and dog clubs that are not centred towards a particular breed often need volunteers whose main concern is dog welfare, who are passionate about fundraising for their club and who are keen to improve resources for dog owners.
How to find a dog club:
- Local dog homes, rescue centres and charity shops that support dog charities will have contact details for local and national dog clubs.
- Telephone directories will also list local and regional dog societies and clubs.
- The internet can be a good place to search for dog clubs and may even help rare breed owners get in touch with other owners of the same breed around the world and discover international dog clubs.
- The Kennel Club is a nationally renowned club dedicated to dog health, welfare and training. One of their objectives is: “The compilation and maintenance of registers of relevant associations, clubs, societies and other organisations including registers of – Breed Societies, General Canine Societies, Dog Training Societies, Field Trial Societies, Working Trial Societies and any other Societies recognised as furthering the knowledge and understanding of dogs and their competition.” (http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/our-resources/about-the-kennel-club/)
The Kennel Club itself is the largest such organisation in the country and provides a wealth of resources to its members, including: the Petlog, the UK’s largest database for reuniting microchipped animals with their owners; the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, which is dedicated to protecting puppies and breeding bitches; the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme, the UK’s biggest training programme; the largest registration database in the country for pedigrees and crossbreeds; charitable trusts, research centres and screening schemes dedicated to improving dog health; www.findapuppy.org and www.thepuppyplan.com to help dog owners choose the right dog breed for their lifestyle, find a reputable dog breeder and socialise the puppy well to improve puppy welfare and cut down on rehoming; Crufts, the world’s largest dog event.
When it comes to dog clubs, it’s easy to see why so many dog owners join. The benefits are numerous, making it well worth the registration fee. With regular newsletters, meetings with expert guest speakers, online resources and members from a wide field of expertise in the world of dogs, it’s an opportunity to increase knowledge and experience about dogs, dog ownership and everything in between.
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