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Dog events can only happen with the help of dedicated volunteers, and dog clubs are always in need of more volunteers to help with their shows, seminars, and other events. There are also some key benefits to being a volunteer. One of the best ways to learn about a new sport or breed is to get started volunteering with a local club. But what is a dog club, and how can you and your dog get involved?

What Is A Dog Club?

There are a variety of different kinds of dog-specific clubs that you might come into contact with in your local area. A kennel club is a local organization that is centered around the showing of purebred dogs of multiple breeds. There are also sport-specific clubs such as Agility or Obedience clubs whose members have a variety of breeds of dogs and mix-breeds but share a passion for a specific sport. There are also local or regional breed- clubs dedicated to the preservation of specific breeds.

Each of these clubs can be a great resource. If you’re looking for support around dog training, showing, and competitions chances are someone in the club can provide you with resources to get involved with your dog. If you’re thinking about adding a puppy to your family, getting involved with a local club is a great way to meet and get referrals for breeders.

Two volunteers holding pug dog

If you want to get involved with a local club, you can attend one of their public events or visit their website for outreach information. Most clubs will have someone whose responsibility is to coordinate membership, this includes new members, prospective members, and volunteers. This individual’s role with the club is to help get people involved, introduce new members to existing members, and help you find volunteer opportunities.

If you’re curious about how to get involved or get more involved with a sport, volunteering with a club is the perfect way to meet people who can become your friends and mentors.

Volunteer Requirements

For some clubs volunteering isn’t just encouraged — it’s required. These dog clubs require a certain number of volunteer hours before someone can become a member, in order to renew membership, or before being able to take advantage of certain club benefits, such as renting out private training time if the club has a training facility.

These clubs often have a robust volunteer program and will help new members find ways that they can volunteer and get involved. Requiring volunteering is one way that clubs can make sure that they have the membership support they need to keep holding events.

Benefits of Volunteering at a Dog Club

Dog shows and events don’t run themselves. These events happen only because individuals volunteer to organize them, but you get something out of the experience, too. Local clubs are an incredible resource for learning more about a breed of dog, a particular sport, or dog events in general.

Volunteering with your local club is a fantastic opportunity to give back to your local community to ensure that shows, training, and social events can take place. One of the main benefits of volunteering with your local breed, training, or kennel club is the opportunity to build connections with other dog owners in your area. This can build friendships, as well as get resources and referrals for dog professionals like groomers, trainers, veterinarians, as well as breeders.

Puppy being shown to children at event
David Woo

If you and your dog have been training in a sport, you likely will be preparing to compete. As a handler, volunteering at a show can help you get competition ready. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how a trial operates that you would never get as a spectator. Seeing the ins and outs of how competitions work can help quiet your nerves and leave you more prepared to step into the ring for the first time with your dog.

Can I Volunteer If I Don’t Have A Dog?

Dog lovers that may not have a dog (yet!) or haven’t begun training their dog in a particular sport are also encouraged to volunteer. Clubs are always looking for volunteers, and you don’t need to have a dog to get involved. Depending on the kind of competition, show, or event they are organizing, the volunteer roles will look different.

Most clubs are excited for all and any volunteers and will be more than happy to train you on the day of an event to volunteer. Regardless of your skills, there will be something that you can do to support your local breed, training, or kennel club. If going to a show or event to volunteer feels too daunting, there are always a wide array of volunteer tasks needed that can be done in advance and even from home, such as design work or contacting attendees.

Related article: How to Attend a Dog Show as a Spectator
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