Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Why Won't People Do Things With Their Dogs?!

Stock photo, not one of mine
When I took over as president of the Dog Club, one of the things I wanted to do was get people out and doing more with their dogs. (We have German shepherds -- these are not good dogs for sitting around the house doing nothing.) Well, this goal has proved to be more difficult than I thought. I've found all kinds activities for members and their dogs that were inexpensive (if not free). Very seldom do I get more than a half dozen people to show up. It's disheartening.

Last Saturday the Club held a Canine Good Citizen test. I put a lot of work into this. I found a park and tried to pick a date that didn't conflict with anything. I sent the requirements out via email months in advance and told people to practice -- it's not as easy as you may think. I sent out multiple reminders. I had the club member administering the test do a presentation at our monthly meeting. The Club charged $5 -- just enough to cover the cost of forms -- and the administrator promised to retest any dog that didn't pass for free at a later date. (Seriously, you can't find a better deal anywhere!) Well, four people showed up. FOUR. I was disappointed. So much so that I've deleted the first few drafts of this post because they were too negative -- even for me. *sigh*

Me and Jedi in St. Augustine
I can't understand why people don't want to do things with their dogs -- especially people who go out of their way to join a dog club. I've been trying to reinstate the Club's weekly training get-togethers for over a year now. Members all say "Great idea!" but when I ask for specifics like "Please scout out locations" or "Pick a regular day and time" the membership instantly becomes apathetic.

Roxy and I enjoying
a picnic at the beach
I'm frustrated. I estimate that 75% of the dogs in our club seldom leave their houses. What kind of life is that for a dog? (Even more tragic for a breed that needs physical activity and mental stimulation.) After every lackluster turnout a nagging voice reminds me that all the time and energy I spend setting up activities for members and their dogs takes away from time and energy I could be spending with my own dogs.

OK, enough whining. I know it's not productive. When I was elected president I told the Club that I would only do two years, so I'm done in June regardless of what happens. I'll continue to do my best until then, hoping that the few who do show up enjoy themselves. In the meantime, do you have any ideas to increase interest? How do I convey the fun, excitement and -- dare I say -- emotional fulfillment you get from doing things with your dog? Or should I just say "Screw it, let them figure it out themselves" and play with my pups instead? -- K