2023 New Year, New Opportunities
By Jessica Freni
Happy New Year! A new year with fresh opportunities to enhance your time with your dog, be an asset to your breed and contribute to the community! Try these 12 steps throughout the year to make an impact! Save, share, print out this checklist and try to commit to even just one a month
- Build a social media presence! There’s no shortage of hashtags and accounts with huge audiences devoted to mixed breeds, rescue or fad colors. Well bred purebreds and their breeders are woefully underrepresented or difficult to find and contact. Be accessible, be communicative. Share content that is “pet friendly” intermixed with educational about your breed or breeding. Take advantage of popular formats like Instagram reels and TikTok videos and popular hashtags to increase visibility.
- Join a new club. Not only do clubs need your financial contribution, more importantly they need you! Join a new breed or all- breed club, it’s a great way to meet new friends and bring new skills or ideas. Many clubs are facing declining or aging membership and are desperately in need of bolstering active members to stay afloat.
- Sponsor a Club trophy. Supported entries and Specialty shows are always in need of trophy sponsors. Money tight? Donate your skills if you’re crafty or creative. Trophy sponsorship is a great way to memorialize a dog or a mentor.
- Attend a Specialty show. There are few better opportunities to see the state of your breed and be seen than to attend a regional or National Specialty. Enter the special classes, bring out that Veteran, puppy or brood bitch. Host a clinic or attend a seminar. This is a great opportunity for breeders to engage in meaningful dialogs and support clubs.
- Volunteer on a club committee or steward at an event. The show can’t go on without the help of volunteers. Work as a steward or commit time on a show committee, you’ll come away with new insight and appreciation!
- Participate in breed education, such as a Meet the Breed event. The pet public can’t care about breeds they don’t know, have never seen and don’t have opportunity to interact with. Connect with your breed parent club about helping at a Meet the Breed event. If you are chairing a show consider dedicating a space with shifts available for Meet the Breeds.
- Bring someone new to a dog show! Commit to having someone new tag-a-long to a show, give them a tour, introduce them to the sport and try to foster any interest
- Donate a suit. Spring cleaning is a great time to not only lighten your tackle box or declutter your closet, but pass something in good condition along to a junior, new exhibitor or someone who needs it!
- Mentor someone new to your breed or sport. Mentoring is undervalued and underutilized, but invaluable! Share your experience! Has someone expressed interest in your breed? Could you teach a clinic? Share your grooming technique. Offer support to someone new in any dog sport. Passing along the keys and support to success keeps new people engaged.
- Try a new dog sport! Did you know AKC has an ever growing and very popular catalog of sports and performance activities? Try something new, earn a new title, engage with a new community, good your dog a new outlet for enrichment, socialization and exercise
- Breed a litter. No better way to contribute than to help produce the next generation! There’s a shortage of well-bred purebreds! Stop shaming breeders for breeding.
- Engage someone in a conversation about preservation breeders. Out on a neighborhood walk, at the local pet supply store, your vet staff, family holidays- take any opportunity to educate! Explain how to recognize responsible breeding and the preservation bred, purebred difference! Try to have a thoughtful conversation with an “adopt don’t shop” person or someone who is considering a “designer breed” chances are they don’t know there’s responsible breeders of a breed perfect for their lifestyle! Give someone a positive interaction with a breeder.