Public Education News

Public Education News
AKC Public Education Department To Oversee Canine Experience Events

This past summer, the AKC transferred oversight of the Canine Experience program from the Events department to the Public Education department.

Formerly known as AKC Education Matches, the Canine Experience is a large, local, multi-club, educational and fun event that welcomes owners of newly-registered AKC dogs and educates them about dog shows and the many activities in which they and their dogs can participate.

The purpose of Canine Experience events is to attract new exhibitors and club members, educate the public about the benefits of owning an AKC-registered dog, and to spark an interest in AKC events.

The day-long event features educational presentations for participants of all ages on a variety of dog-show topics including show handling, what to expect in the show ring, how to fill out a show entry, and basic show grooming. Handling classes are often divided into separate sections for juniors and adults. Morning educational activities are followed by an afternoon match during which new exhibitors and future fanciers practice their newly-learned skills.

AKC Canine Experience Event

Canine Experiences also regularly feature Canine Good Citizen® testing, Agility and Obedience demonstrations, an Obedience match, information about performance events such as Herding or Hunt Tests, and breed-specific information.

Program founder AKC Vice President of Event Operations Robin Stansell, notes that one of the most important aspects of the events is the friendly and personalized nature of this event. These events require participation by many clubs and many club members so that every newcomer who walks through the door can be greeted in a friendly manner and be given the opportunity for one-on-one mentoring and assistance. As local clubs work together on these events, they not only share the expense and work of the event, but they also earn credit for holding a B match. And perhaps more importantly, they benefit by forging stronger bonds among dog owners and the dog clubs in their community.

The first Canine Experience took place in February 2007 in Raleigh, North Carolina. As evidence of the importance of this kind of outreach, several weeks after that first event, scores of new exhibitors participated in their first point show at a local cluster. Since then, local clubs throughout the country have joined together to hold their own Canine Experience events. In 2008, Canine Experience events were held in a variety of locations including Raleigh, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Hillsboro, Oregon; Bay Shore, New York; Long Island, New York; Stillwater, Oklahoma; Lancaster, California; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Many others are planned for 2009.

For more information about the Canine Experience program and to see pictures from Canine Experience events, visit the Public Education web pages or contact the Public Education department at 919-816-3712.