Eventually in your dog-life, you are going to get bored. Training alone is hard. No one can tell you when you’re wrong. No one is there to bounce ideas off of except maybe your dog (who is always game for a snack break) and unless you’re willing to film yourself for hours and cover a room with mirrors actually seeing when you’re out of position, it’s pretty hard to have any clue if you are doing it right.
At some point other people have felt the same way so they came up with a marvelous invention… The Dog Club. Bored, financially stretched, and in severe need of conversation beyond whuffles, snorts and barks these individuals banded together, typically found a building, created a not-for-profit, started teaching classes, hosting trials and shows, upgrading facilities, and shortly thereafter went batshit insane.
We can’t tell you if it’s a product of some kind of power-rush, actual mental deterioration or personality defects but it inevitably becomes a shitshow. For examples of such insanity, just read the minutes of any large training club or read up on the history of the JRTCA, ASCA, or ABCA. Despite that, dog clubs in general can be a wonderful place assuming you do have a sense of humor, you can appreciate the degree of anal retentiveness it requires for people to quote Robert’s Rules, and you’re willing to pitch in when required. So here kids, are reasons why we like dog clubs.
1) They’re for Joiners
Yeah, we’re those kids. The ones who had ten thousand clubs and commitments in high school. Any and all of your volunteering hopes and desires can be met by the dog club. Some of those things you learn are also translatable to cash or club cash at least, which can be helpful if you spend your life there.
2) They make stuff cheaper
One of the big perks of joining a club is that it knocks down the price of everything. Classes are suddenly cheaper, trials can be cheaper, group buys make those pesky shipping charges halve themselves, and the second hand stuff you can acquire triples. A lot of clubs also have their own retail setups which are typically closer to wholesale prices than you’d find in a store.
3) Other People Who know what they’re doing
Need a clue? Someone at your dog club probably has it and can tell you what you’re doing wrong. Agree or not, it’s usually an endless vat of opinions.
Who you know can sometimes be more important than what you know in dog training. While we don’t abide by this philosophy, the major name dropping that occurs can be hilarious. Also in the process of getting to know people your own network grows to include some people who are “droppable” as it were.
5) Free Stuff
So you know we’re cheap, but this stuff is better. Count us in. Seriously. We’d do almost anything for free stuff. And we don’t mean advice. We mean gloves, bags, dumbbells, and while it’s yet to happen keeping an eye on the older obedience people may yield you a set of articles.
Want to buy a well-bred puppy? You’ll probably need references and what better references then training club members? Much of the time, they’re the ones who bred the dog in the first place so, double-bonus. They’re obligated to see you frequently so odds are good you’ll get one they like.
7) Real training equipment
As handy as we might be with PVC pipe and a blow-torch, it’s fair to say that our homemade equipment can’t compare with the good stuff that you can find at most training clubs. Full sized jumps? Traffic cones? Other people to act like posts when required? It’s worth the floor time.
8) More drama than a soap opera
Who needs reality tv when you have a dog club? Whether it’s name-calling, victim-playing, or voting people off the island, a dog club has it all. It’s like episodes of “Toddlers & Tiaras”, “Days of our Lives”, “Dance Moms”, and “Survivor” all rolled into one. Ever witness a grown-ass-woman pout for forty-five minutes with her back turned to the meeting? We have! Bring popcorn and it’s dinner and a show.
So the moral of the story kids; support your local club. God knows they need the help.