What is the purpose of dog training class, and what can a dog club contribute to the community? The answer to the first part of this question is easy: to teach people how to train their dogs. Unfortunately, dog training groups are not really doing a whole-hearted job if they adopt a policy of accepting only purebred dogs in class. But, you say, only purebred dogs can be shown in obedience and breed competitions. Very true, but that mixed-breed dog is loved by its owner and needs to be trained. Many owners of mixed-breed dogs have been forever turned off and will want nothing to do with registered dogs because of the attitude of superiority displayed by some purebred dog owners.
We are very hypocritical if we profess the advancement of purebred dogs and then ignore those who do not have purebred dogs. Responsible pet ownership is not limited to the purebred dog owner. Legislation which restricts dog ownership does not single out the mixed-breed dogs. A purebred dog allowed to run free can sire or give birth to just as many puppies as the mixed- breed down the street. This restrictive type legislation is brought about by dogs becoming a nuisance and public danger.
If we do not allow non-purebred dogs in our classes, we are missing a golden opportunity to educate people about responsible pet ownership. If this individual finds he likes our sport and we have made him feel welcome, we may have a customer for a registered dog. What’s even better is that he has had a dog to practice and improve on as a trainer. But what’s more important is that if we have shown a sincere interest in him as a dog owner, we have created a type of good will that no amount of advertising can obtain.
People are funny; most love a dog for what it is to them, not what it is to you or me. If we degrade that dog, they don’t stop loving that dog, but simply stay away from us. A person cannot learn if he is not listening.
©1980 W. H. Morrison, III