Groucho Marx once said, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”
Fortunately, the Concord Dog Training Club wants your dog -- you just happen to have the opposable thumbs that make paying for it possible.
This is a hidden gem right in our own West Concord backyard. I had no idea the club even existed, but then I don’t own a dog, much to the dismay of my children. And apparently, it’s one of the oldest dog-training clubs around: It opened in 1948 and has been teaching dogs to heel ever since.
You don’t really even need to be a member to take their classes or attend their seminars, but it does get you a discount. Plus the club members do social stuff like banquets and special photo sessions, for anyone looking to join a community of like-minded people.
The Club is located at 20 Beharrell St., right across from the Post Office, in the lower level of the building. I went to visit one night when they were holding a class. The floor is nicely padded, and each dog was in its own gated area, along with its owner, each one taking turns with the command at hand.
Janice, the teacher, clearly knew what she was doing, as do all the trainers hired by the club. In fact, the trainers have all owned dogs forever, who are of course very well-trained themselves, competing in AKC (American Kennel Club) obedience trials and the like.
The classes range from Puppy Kindergarten to AKC training to more advanced classes that can ultimately lead to rallies. Some classes, such as the obedience run-throughs, are drop-in, while others require registration for the four to eight week sessions.
If you’re one of those wonderful people who has picked up a rescue dog, or if you own a dog that needs a little extra training, they offer a Reactive Dog class. This is where you’ll get an opportunity to learn how to address the unique behaviors of dogs that didn’t receive training early on.
Helen Sullivan, the club’s current president, told me that ideally people will bring their dogs in as puppies, and then keep working with their dogs over time, to continue to reinforce the training. Just as kids need ongoing education, so do dogs, according to Helen. You can’t just take one class and think you’re done.
Their next series of eight week classes begin the first week of February, so head over to the club's website and check it out. And if you don’t have a dog, well, this is your excuse to get one.
As Groucho Marx also said, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
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