So I run this Meetup group called IDOGS (Irvine Dog Owners' Group for Socialization). I figured we'd get 10, maybe 20 people. Membership/participation is free, and the goal is to use principles of Control Unleashed, Behavior Adjustment Training, and Progressive-Reinforcement training to help dogs overcome their social ineptitudes. No one is judged for having a misbehaving dogs, and everyone gets 15 minutes with a partner to "bounce off of." It's a supplement to a Growl Class, or Rescue Rehab -- not a replacement by any means, but we see real progress in those 15-20 minutes and week to week. We meet once a week on Sundays, and also offer a socialized pack walk for the well-adjusted K9 members.
Well, my initial plans have been totally blown out of the water by the level of interest and member involvement. We got our 58th member today (!!) and I barely ever even get to work with Dolce there's so many people. Last week I tried having Dolce "marinate" on the sidelines in his travel crate. That actually worked very well, and I intend to continue doing that in the future.
So, my brain got to thinking about what all this could mean. I think I'm really on to something. I want to do good by the dogs in this world, and I think turning IDOGS into a legitimate non-profit organization is a really good idea. I have absolutely NO experience with this sort of thing, though. I'm already busy enough running my own violin/viola studio(s) and dog walking/training businesses. I don't need to take on another project, especially one that won't pay any bills. But this idea just won't go away, and I don't think I can ignore it.
Does anyone have any thoughts about or experience with something like this?
Here's Dolce at last week's session. He was SOCIAL with this little shih tzu, Lily! Lily is only reactive to strange dogs. She's completely fine with dogs she's met before. I had Dolce in a sit-stay, acclimating to Lily's presence before he up and decided he HAD to go and investigate this cute little girl. I was grinning with pride from ear to ear. So was Lily's owner, who is a dog trainer herself. We were both very proud of our pooches that day.