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May 30, 2017 03:03PM

For the dogs: Local club brings together people and pups

By Sharon Wren
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Quad Cities Dog Obedience Club member Tracy Rice poses with her 3-year-old golden retriever, Cooper, and AKC judge, Ms. L. Lazzara. Ms. Rice and Cooper finished their American Kennel Club Rally Novice title.
Whether you're looking for help to train a new dog, or you and your four-legged baby want to make more friends, you don't have to search online or try to meet people at the canine equivalent of a single's bar: the dog park. The Quad Cities Dog Obedience Club offers training and social events in its spacious, heated and air conditioned clubhouse and training facility in Milan.

"Our mission is to help people train their dogs to be well-behaved family and community members," says club president Linda Brown. "We'd like people to know how important it is to socialize our puppies and dogs around other humans and canines. At our club, dogs receive socialization and positive training through the classes we offer. Any dog is welcome at our club — pure-bred dogs, mixed breeds, big or small. We try to help all."

It's not all business at the club, Brown says. "We have quite a few activities that we do throughout the year, including a Halloween party for our dogs, a holiday party, cookouts, parades, library visits and the Radish (Healthy Living) Fair, where a few of our members and their dogs have been Pet of the Year. We attend the Mutt Strut that benefits our neighbor, the Quad City Animal Welfare Center, where we promote the AKC's (American Kennel Club's) Responsible Dog Ownership Month."

Brown says the club will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, so it is planning a fall open house at the club, 803 W. 2nd Ave., Milan. "People will be able to come in, meet us and see the things we do."

Joining the club takes a small investment of time, but it's worth it, Brown says. To become a member, dog owners must pay for and attend six weeks of a puppy or beginner class, and then submit a membership application at one of the monthly meetings so the club may "meet you and vote you in for membership," Brown says.

An annual membership costs $35, plus training fees. "Dogs that have been adopted from any area shelter or rescue within the year of their class (with proof) can receive a 50-percent refund on their class fee" if you attend at least four of the six classes, which are taught by experienced and educated member volunteers, Brown says.

Membership entitles owners to attend any appropriate level of classes with their dogs at any time, as well as occasional seminars on dog training and care.

The club, which is affiliated with the American Kennel Club (AKC), offers obedience classes at the puppy, beginner and family-dog levels; AKC obedience, or rally obedience classes for those who want to compete with their dogs; conformation classes, and a drafting class, where dogs can be taught to pull a cart or wagon.

Instructors beyond the puppy level have earned at least one competitive title with a dog. "Some of our members compete in AKC events such as conformation, obedience, agility and rally; hunt tests," and more, Brown says.

A few of the members also work with the AKC. "Some of us are AKC testers for the Canine Good Citizen program and STAR puppy. We run the CGC test every few months, and it is open to any dog that can pass the 10 items. We encourage all of our class participants to try this."

At its Healthy Living Fair booth, Brown says the club will offer information and class schedules, and answer any questions attendees may have.

"We usually have a friendly, well-behaved, obedient dog or two at our table," too, Brown says.

If you happen to have your pup with you at the fair, too, on June 17, stop by the Radish booth just before 11 a.m. to enter into the Radish Pet of the Year contest.
Sharon Wren is an occasional Radish contributor. For more information about the Quad Cities Dog Obedience Club, call 309-787-4700 or visit qcdoc.com. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month.


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