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Discussion Starter #1
So how do I get more involved with dogs? I mean, is volunteering at an animal shelter pretty good? What can volunteering teach me? What's something else I can do?
 

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the decoy is the goofball in the bite suit. lol. Its something i've always wanted to experience.

Volunteering you get a chance to see different breeds, handle different breeds, and get to know some of the dogs so you can describe their personality in the event of a possible home. I dont volunteer because i dont have the schedule for it but i also would have a VERY hard time not bringing animals home. By volunteering at a shelter, you get the chance to be with animals but not have the entire responsibility you would if they lived with you. Its a tough job if you love animals because not all make it out and its heartbreaking. You could be a dog walker. theres any number of things. You can volunteer to help out at adoption days for rescues and such.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay. I do have a pretty good schedule. I'll look at it and see if I can fit in volunteering at the nearest animal shelter.

As for schutzhund decoy, . . . I don't know if I could handle that. I'm too much of a scaredy cat!
 

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It depends on what you mean by "involved with dogs". Volunteering at a shelter is a good thing to do. It is a way to get involved with the rescue aspect of dogs. But be prepared for many of the people you volunteer with to bash breeding dogs and buying from a breeder (I see you're on a waiting list). Another way to get involved with this aspect of dogs is to volunteer to foster for a breed specific rescue.

If you want to get more involved with the training aspect of dogs, your best bet is to join a training club or find a good private facility and start taking classes with your current dog.

If you are interested in showing, join your local kennel club and volunteer to help with whatever they need you to do. Most KCs need show workers, people to return phone calls, people to help with getting speakers at meetings, ect.
 

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Good point, Agile. A lot of people involved with shelters and rescues will try to make you feel like buying from a breeder is killing puppies.
 

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What you want to gain/learn from your involvement? That might help someone point you in the right direction.
 

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Join a local obedience training club. I joined one and besides training and classes the club is active in the community. I assisted a trainer teaching classes, was a steward at an obedience/agility trial, things like that. I've really learned a lot, got to interact with all kinds of dogs at different levels of training
 

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you could also volunteer at a vet's office, walking dogs, cleaning kennels, that would expose you to the medical end of things:)
 

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Another good way to get involved with dogs is to volunteer to help out at training facilities and to volunteer for set-up, ring stewart positions in trials for Agility, Obedience, tracking events, and so on. They always need people to help organize, set up equipment, usher people in and out. In obedience trials, they need people in the ring for the dog to heel around. For tracking, people will fall on their knees and worship you if you go and help with track laying, LOL.

I'd check into the different clubs in your area, find out what different classes and activities are available, and offer your help. For example, I used to help out as an assistant in obedience classes. It was unpaid, but I got to wear a snazzy "staff" official shirt, and got to participate in different classes for free with my dog in exchange for my time. I really enjoyed it, but don't have the time to devote to that anymore since I'm working with two dogs towards different training goals.

Just go to events: Obedience, agility, Rally-O, Schutzhund. See what they are about. Talk to the people there. You will learn so much!!!
 

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My mom needed someone to walk her gsd after she had some surgery and couldn't give her dog the exercise she needed for a few weeks. Some volunteers from the shelter took turns walking her everyday until my mom was able to.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What you want to gain/learn from your involvement? That might help someone point you in the right direction.
I'd like to learn more about dogs and all kinds of dog breeds.

Whenever I talk to a breeder about mentoring, they always suggest I get more involved. I should have asked them to be more specific.
 

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In addition to the volunteer jobs, helping with clubs, etc., you could get a job at a dog related business like a kennel, grooming salon, pet store, etc.
 

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Well personally I started out with walking dogs in my neighborhood and then added petsitting, but that was when I was a kid so I was too young to volunteer at shelters... I also fostered dogs (strays, not for an organization mostly.) Once I had my own dog I started training at an obedience club and also went to any dog-related events I could find, and eventually I volunteered for a shelter in the area, and also worked at boarding/daycare kennel. I also started doing animal-assisted therapy with my dog and other dog activities which also gives some experience with dogs even though you're working with your own dog most of the time. If you don't have a dog, many AAT organizations do need volunteers without dogs as well. I also have fostered for breed rescue more recently, which is also a great way to get dog experience.
 
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