Question about schutzhund clubs and other dog clubs in general - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Question about schutzhund clubs and other dog clubs in general

I have been to a few clubs in our area and I have gone to the websites of some of the clubs and read the rules for membership. I am amazed that in some of the clubs that you have to be voted to be a member, and if there is one no vote you cannot be a member. This seems strange to me. I would think that if a club is trying to promote membership they would want to be encouraging to new or interested members. Can someone please explain the rational for this type of rule?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by GROVEBEAUTY View Post
I have been to a few clubs in our area and I have gone to the websites of some of the clubs and read the rules for membership. I am amazed that in some of the clubs that you have to be voted to be a member, and if there is one no vote you cannot be a member. This seems strange to me. I would think that if a club is trying to promote membership they would want to be encouraging to new or interested members. Can someone please explain the rational for this type of rule?
Not all clubs are trying to promote membership. Having a new member is a demand on club resources and some are already at their max. Let's face it, you spend a LOT of time with these people and if you have a member that just doesn't click I would imagine it could cause a lot of drama.

I was actually glad that my club had to vote on me joining. I came in knowing that everyone was welcoming me.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 12:24 PM
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i'm not in a Schutzhund Club
but i'm in a GSD Club. i had to voted
in. now that i think about it i shoudn't have
joined a club that would have someone like
me be a member.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 12:28 PM
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Yes, it's different for Schutzhund clubs because there's a lot of work involved.

I belong to an AKC dog training club with over 300 members. Associate Membership is by majority vote and there are certain participation requirements before you can be voted on. After one year, if you wish, you can apply for full membership which includes voting priviledges and a key to the building so you can train anytime you wish. Our membership fees are $50 per year, plus we get a deep discount on training ($25 for 8 week classes).
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 12:39 PM
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Having to be voted into membership at a SchH club is pretty standard. Most clubs do this.

Look at it this way..

All members, but especially new ones, take up a ton of club resources. We're not just talking space and equipment usage, we're talking time and effort from other club members. They need to be coached through training their dog in 3 completely different disciplines. They require a skilled helper to develop their dog in protection, and that is a person who works his butt off for hours on end and only has so much energy.

Most SchH clubs are not set up like training classes. You don't go for an hour, train your dog, and leave. You are there all day. Some of that time is working your dog, most of it is waiting for others to work their dogs. During this down time there is a lot of socializing going on, but also people helping those who are working their dogs by serving as spotters, groups, fetching equipment, handling a line, etc...

Now add in that in most areas, there are more people interested in doing SchH than there are clubs to accomodate them. There is more demand that supply. And there is a huge wash out rate, especially with newbies.

If a club is going to give a membership slot to a new person, of course they are going to want to make sure they are giving it to someone who will stick with it, be worth their investment and will bring something positive to the club. If they're going to put all that effort into someone, they want to work with someone who shows commitment, who is trainable and will listen and follow instruction, who will put thier own effort into learning rather than expect to be spoon fed or pick it up through osmosis, who is going to use resources wisely, who is going to try to give back to the club by helping out whenever possible, and is also someone they get along with well enough that they can stand spending 8hrs on a Sat or Sun with that person.


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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 12:51 PM
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Schutzhund clubs have limited time and resources. They are non-profits with all the work done by members volunteering. Our club is very selective about allowing new members, we love to get newcomers to the sport, but after almost 20 years in clubs, you get tired of the folks who join, ask zillions of questions and then drop out after a few months, or when the weather gets bad... Helpers have a greater chance of getting injured with an inexperienced handler on the field, so we always have a "mentor" on the field to instruct new folks so the helper can concentrate on the dog, etc. This is another reason for a probationary period, the member can see if the sport is really for them and the club can see if the member is committed.
We have a core group of about 8 people who are ALWAYS here, every week and do all the heavy lifting as it were. It is a nice size group to work every week, we can get everyone worked in a reasonable amount of time with 3 helpers not getting totally worn out and not be standing around for hours waiting to work. Since most clubs prefer everyone stay for the whole practice, more members means more time. When you are working for free then a really long practice twice a week gets tiring. If you get many more members than can reasonably be worked in a session then you have to add additional practices, which is more scheduling...
So, while we love to get new people involved and excited about the sport there is a level of standoffishness for a reason.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 12:55 PM
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Think of it like trying out to be on a team. It doesn't work if you don't fit well with the group, regardless of your commitment or how good you or your dogs are. You show up and get a few tries to prove your commitment to the breed, the sport, and the club. In my experience, people generally don't come back after the first or second visit if they aren't a good fit. Not very often is someone not voted in.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 06:48 PM
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There are many people who club hop and a few may cause trouble within a club, that is one reason the voting in is done. Many clubs have longstanding members that don't want to put up with pettiness or troublemakers.
The club I became a member of didn't have any formal board meetings for about 6 months from the time I first visited as the president was working out of state. When they finally had a meeting they voted in the new members, and a few they decided not to let join.
That was because those few were not commited and only showed up sporadically.

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 07:08 PM
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The club I train with - after the evaluation of the dog, a member may be offered a one year probationary membership-by vote. After that year is up the club can really see the level of committment and what that individual and team brings to the club. They are voted on again to be offered full membership privileges. It is a ton of work, but we are welcoming. I am on my first dog and the learning curve has been steep, but I have risen to the occasion. Yep , newbies like me take a lot of resources, but now I feel I can give back a little now!

Sarah

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-29-2010, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
Not all clubs are trying to promote membership. Having a new member is a demand on club resources and some are already at their max. Let's face it, you spend a LOT of time with these people and if you have a member that just doesn't click I would imagine it could cause a lot of drama.

I was actually glad that my club had to vote on me joining. I came in knowing that everyone was welcoming me.
This is exactly true.
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