Two purebred dogs (border collies) in the background of the platform for training dogs.

BELONGING TO A DOG CLUB

I’m breaking this post down into a few important themes. It’s mostly a motivation that I’m leading on to here. I don’t know if the AKC actually has a record of this, but of the two hundred and eighty million American citizens, how many of them have dogs. And of the number that do own dogs, I wonder how many belong to dog clubs, of which there are quite a number right here in Chicago. For a good number of positive reasons, I think it’s a great idea if every dog owner in the country could, in some way or another have an association with a local dog club.

THE AKC

Guys, this is the acronym for the USA’s, and one of the world’s most foremost dog associations and/or authorities. It’s the American Kennel Club. Easy to remember but put it in your dog-eared notebook so long if you’re still new to the scene. If I can just get this off of my hairy chest for now, once more, I may have mentioned this before somewhere else but for now, just for posterity as well, I really think it’s highly unfair that the AKC is far too focused on what they classify as purebreds. As in the term used mainly for horses, they service the needs and interests of thoroughbreds. What about the rest of the gang? What happens to those lads many folks commonly refer to as mutts, whether derogatorily or endearingly.

Is this dog apartheid, or what?

Anyway, the AKC is officially a registry of purebred dogs in the US. In order to maintain its registry, it promotes country wide events on behalf of the thoroughbreds, but not the mutts.

JOINING A CLUB

Guys, if you have just a little puppy right now, I’d like to recommend that you sign up for a dog club today. Get in early while you can. You and your dog will have a long and happy association with the local or right club in town. Joining up with a club is easy and usually only costs you a few bucks a year. This is usually just for the local club’s admin fees, things like the electric bill and the coffee and milk. When this happens, do not be miffed. There are those clubs that will ask for you and your dog to have a sponsor standing by.

Still new to dogs in general, and dog clubs in particular, please ask as many questions as possible. That’s the best way to learn about anything, or forever make yourself look and feel stupid. No such thing as a stupid question and plenty of clever dogs in this neighborhood. Yes, most of them were born that way, but more still got a helping hand. That’s one of the benefits of being part of a club. You and your dog get to share things of common interest with others and you also get to be helped out every now and then when the time comes.

AKC PROGRAMS

A quick, informational note for those interested in the finer details. The American Kennel Club is not part of the worldly World Canine Organization. For the sport types and fiercely competitive likes, here’s more info. Train and discipline your (purebred) dog up nicely, with a little help from the AKC and affiliated dog and kennel clubs in or near your area, and you can enter your best friend into the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, among dozens of others in your state. Who knows, if you and your dog do that well, you could be entered to try out for the AKC National Championship and/or the National Dog Show.

BENEFITS OF BELONGING

Education was foremost in my mind when I was writing up this paragraph. Before that, I was reading up on what the AKC does, what it stands for and all the affiliated and associated dog clubs under its watchful umbrella. The one program that I picked up along the way had a focus on education. It does outreach work for, mostly less privileged, folks on how to look after their canine pets good and proper. One thing I really like about many of these clubs across the country is that they often arrange for visits to junior schools or for the kids to go on field trips to learn all about man’s best friend.

DOING GOOD DEEDS

Unfortunately, not everyone can join a dog club. There are perfectly understandable reasons for this. Such are the vagaries of busy urban city living. But what a pity, I guess. Anyway, you don’t even need to belong to a club if you’re too busy or unable to be physically present. You can contribute in other ways.

  • CANINE GOOD CITIZEN – For instance, the American Kennel Club initiates the Canine Good Citizen program. This club I like. It’s open to all dog breeds. It is a goodwill program that tests our dogs for good behavior and temperament. It determines whether dogs are ideal for being home bodies or safe in public spaces. Who knows, there’s always every good reason and chance that a poor dog’s behavior and circumstances can be improved.
  • REUNITE WITH YOUR LOVED ONE – This is Reunite, an AKC affiliation previously known as Companion Animal Recovery. Its deeds are obvious. Finding those little ones that got lost along the way.
  • SERVING HUMANITY AND ITS BEST FRIENDS – The Humane Fund supports rescue programs for dog breeding. It contributes to shelters that take in dogs that have been harmed through domestic violence. It’s a community outreach program that educates folks about how to take proper and responsible care of their dogs.Well, that’s it folks. I’ve said all I’m about to say on dog clubs for now. My thing is this; I hope it’s provided you with more than enough motivation for you and your dog to join a club. In the meantime, I’m off to take my boys for a walk to the park.

bob