Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Obedience Club Fun Night

Me as Master of Ceremonies
The dog training club I belong to wanted to start doing Fun Nights again after a long hiatus.  I volunteered to organize since they!  The first one was in February and went off without a hitch.

The objective of this first event was to get people who had never trialed a dog, those from our puppy elementary, puppy kindergarten, Home Companion and sub-Novice classes to try out obedience and rally.  We offered Beginner Novice and Novice Obedience and Beginner Rally run-throughs.  Where is the fun, you ask?  We started out with a few rounds of musical chairs!

My version of musical chairs for people and dogs goes something like this:  Arrange chairs in a circle facing out with lots of space in between.  In front of each chair place a hula-hoop.  When the music plays, dogs and handlers walk the big circle around the outside hula-hoop circle.  When the music stops, handlers get their dogs into a hula-hoop and they must sit-stay while the person sits in the chair.
Musical Chairs and Hoops
We did have some new faces show up and try their hand at something new to them.  But for the most part it was familiar faces from the club, which is fine.  We all had fun.  It can be hard to get beginners to join something as regimented and formal as obedience.  It is an intimidating sport but I hope these fun nights (with candy and prizes as incentive) will bring out more and more to see that we all mess up and we were all beginners once.

What does your club do to encourage newbies to try out dog sports?


  1. It IS intimidating to join a dog club, especially if you're not sure what it is or if it's what you want to do. And then people start talking in a foreign language (DQ, OTCH, Novice, Rally, Front . . . what?) I waffled back and forth for YEARS.

    The K-9 Obedience Club of Jacksonville (shout out!) is asking similar questions. We're a great club with our own property (albeit not in the best part of town). Our prices are great (especially for members), we have a lot of friendly, knowledgeable trainers and a lot of fun members active in conformation, obedience, rally, nose work, agility and freestyle, So why doesn't anybody want to join us?

    We're holding an Open House this month, hoping it'll draw people in. We've blanketed the town and social media with the news. We're hosting demos, and will have several local vendors, trainers and club members on hand to answer questions. Cross your fingers!

    1. Kelley, that's awesome! Good luck with your outreach efforts. Our club is fantastic too, one of the best facilities in the area. We have a really good member base but our trouble is our trial entries seem to be slipping even though our classes are full! So we are investing how to get people to try their hand at competing. Does your club host trials? Have you seen entries falling too?

    2. We do host trials, both AKC and UKC. I can't tell you about the numbers. I'm focusing on conformation right now, and will hopefully start working on obedience/rally in the fall when my work schedule slows down -- I'm not smart/focused enough to teach both simultaneously!