Finding your way through Clubs and Groups With Your French Brittany.

The choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself.

— Oprah Winfrey

Do you want to get to know other French Brittany lovers? Does your dog need a healthy outlet for socialization and exercise? Do you need those things too? Joining a dog club could benefit both you and your EB.

If you've ever seen a dog show, a dog agility contest, or other dog sporting activity, most

of those events are sponsored by dog clubs, and joining one gives you and your dog the

ability to participate. Additionally, joining a dog club allows you to meet other great dogs

people provide networking opportunities, and give you and your pup a healthy outlet for

your pet-related passions.

You can choose to be part of a breed-specific club (like the American Brittany Club or CEB US) or an all-breed club (like the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club) with members that are as diverse as their breeds. Many club members will join multiple clubs to give themselves and their dogs access to as much information and activities as possible.

It's always interesting to get tips and input from other dog lovers. It's also reassuring to know that you're not the only crazy dog person out there. Other club members are often willing to help out new members with access to their favorite dog products, programs, and information. In no time at all, your car will be appropriately outfitted with bumper stickers, and you'll be wearing the best "I Heart my French Brittany" gear that money can buy.

One of the best things I've discovered when joining a multi-breed dog club is that I have a greater appreciation and interest in a wide range of dogs. It's been fun to hear the stories of other dog breed patrons and see some very rare breeds up close and personal.

It was very interesting to go to dog shows and watch the judges get excited to get to touch a

French Brittany, when they may not have seen one live before since they are so rare. Hearing

the pride in the breeder's voice as they described the attributes and struggles they've encountered while trying to promote their breed was very inspiring.

By joining a dog club, I've learned that there are tons of fun events that your dog can participate in. In addition to the conformation shows where purebred dogs show off their structure and movement, many clubs offer performance events that may include:

Agility - lead your dog through a series of obstacles for time and accuracy. Dogs of all sizes and mixed breeds can participate in agility. Dock jumping - let your dog run down a dock and jump after a toy thrown into the water or after a target above the pool. The dog that jumps the farthest wins. Drag racing - small dogs want to have fun too! With drag racing, small dogs get to demonstrate their prey drive by chasing after an artificial lure after being released from a gate. The first one across the grassy field and the finish line wins. Earthdog trials - for dogs bred to hunt vermin (many terriers and dachshunds) these trials allow them to enjoy the sport through manmade tunnels. Pet rats are safely contained at the goal line to give dogs a safe environment to explore their heritage. Lure coursing - sight breeds will love to chase after a lure in a track where they can demonstrate their speed in a safe environment. Scent work/Nose work - for dogs that like to sniff out fun, scent work is an enriching activity modeled after working detection dog training. Dogs of all sizes and shapes will love the nose work game! Obedience - for the ultimate test of the bond of handler and dog, obedience trials offer the chance to show off your dog's listening skills. It's a great foundation for all of the other events as well. Rally Obedience - if basic commands are too easy, try going through an obstacle course with obedience directives given along the way! Tracking - this sport offers dogs the ability to track a scent over long distances and is the foundation for work involving avalanche rescue, and other types of rescue. Weight Pull - for dogs that love to pull, this event gives them a healthy outlet! Harnessed dogs pull heavy items on a cart or a sled for a distance for a set amount of time. Surfing - for dogs that like to surf! Canine Good Citizen/SPOT testing - show your dog's skills as a community member!

Not only can your dog learn new tricks by participating in

various dog events, but they can also earn prestigious titles

from winning competitions.

Of course, teaching your dog new tricks means you're also going

to learn some skills as well. You'll have the opportunity to join classes to develop your dog training skills. You may also learn enough about dogs to become a judge or perhaps run a dog event.

There will be plenty of opportunities to volunteer at events where you'll learn new things and meet lots of people and dogs. All of these events will help you hone your social skills, organization, dog grooming, and marketing skills!

Dog clubs give you an outlet to "give back".

Being part of a dog club allows you to participate in your local community as an ambassador for your breed for dogs in general.

Many clubs offer events for junior handlers to be involved. If your child isn't cut out for the usual team sports but really connects with their pet, dog clubs offer a unique place for a camaraderie that the whole family can enjoy together.

Finding a dog club is easy. Simply do an Internet search to find local clubs in your area. Since the EB breed isn't yet fully recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), I decided to reach out to the United Kennel Club (the UKC) and asked when their meetings were.

I quickly learned that the UKC club members freely participate in lots of other clubs, and I've been invited to join several other clubs as well, which is lots of fun.

As always, I welcome you to leave your comments about your feeling on this topic.

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