Thursday, April 5, 2012


Much has been said, many hands have been wrung regarding the drop-off in competition obedience entries in recent years.  Clearly the task of beefing up entries in AKC obedience is multidimensional. This post addresses one of those dimensions.

It has been suggested to me that a letter to the AKC -- coming from many all-breed and obedience clubs --might prompt the AKC to look into how to tap the vast reservoir of "prospects" that take Petco or PetSmart obedience classes.  But it will be effective only if many clubs take the initiative to send the letter.

Here is a suggested letter.



Mr. Dennis B. Sprung
President & Chief Executive Officer
American Kennel Club
260 Madison Avenue
New York, NY  10016                 

Dear Mr. Sprung:

Much has been said and written across the past decade or so about the drop-off in competition obedience entries.

Various steps have been taken to make competition obedience trials more attractive and exhibitor-friendly.  Novice A people are offered an orientation walk-through.  New entry-level classes have been introduced, as have several intermediate classes.  Some clubs offer token gifts to Novice A entrants.

Those are steps in the right direction.  However, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is listening . . .  As someone said, “It’s hard to embrace something if you don’t know it exists.”

Which is the case with the vast majority of the thousands of students who participate in the beginner dog obedience classes each year at Petco and PetSmart.  Most of the instructors have no idea that a dog sport called competition obedience exists.  Hence, neither do their students.

The purpose of this letter is to suggest that the AKC seriously explore establishing working relationships with Petco and PetSmart to introduce their students, in an attractive way, to the lifetime joys available in AKC dog sports.



It would be nice to know to what extent a letter-writing campaign takes off as a result of this suggestion.  If your club acts on this and sends a letter, perhaps you'd be kind enough to drop me a note at



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