On March 15, 1978, a group of Asheville residents involved in the dog sport of obedience training formed the Land of the Sky Obedience Club, a non-profit corporation to organize and focus their interests under the leadership of Janet Travers. She has since passed away, but the club (renamed Obedience Club of Asheville, Inc.) continues to this day.
For many years, the club held public training classes and was licensed by the American Kennel Club to hold official Obedience and Rally trials. Today, however, because of the limits imposed by lack of suitable facilities to host such trials and the aging of the club membership, the club no longer holds licensed trials.
Our club focusses today on training dog owners to train their dogs. Once that is done, the people and their dogs can learn the skills that will cement the bond between them. It also keeps rescued dogs from re-entering the rescue theater. People who learn to train dogs also learn how to deal with the many issues with which rescued animals are burdened.
Our training philosophy is to use 100% positive motivation. Praise and treats do wonders to help mold a dog’s behavior! We do not promote the old-fashioned punitive models – our mantra is “Praise the good, ignore the bad.”
Twice a year, in the spring and fall, we offer eight-week classes for puppies and adult dogs. We used to offer four sessions a year but are limited to two now because of the shortcomings of our training facility – no air conditioning, and weak heating! The classes are affordable, and we offer a rebate to folks with rescued dogs if they attend six of the eight sessions.
At the last day of each session, people are encouraged to take the Canine Good Citizen test with their adult dogs, and Star Puppy test with their puppies. Passing these tests can gain you a certificate, a collar tag for your dog and an actual AKC title if your dog is registered. Any dog can be registered with the American Kennel Club, even if it is purebred but not otherwise registerable (PAL number) or a Heinz 57 mix – known as an All-American Dog (an ILP number). Any registered dog can go on to the many dog sports competitions held under AKC auspices – Obedience, Rally, Dock Diving, Nose work, Agility, Barn Hunts, Trick Dog, and others.
If you have a pet dog – try it! Go to obedienceclubofasheville.org to find out more. We’d love to meet you and your pup!
Betty Ann Brown is VERY active in American Kennel Club affiliated organizations. A Certified Public Accountant, she serves as Treasurer for the Asheville Kennel Club, the Hendersonville Kennel Club, the Obedience Club of Asheville and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of America.