Capital Kennel Club of Juneau wants to teach dog walkers how to be good citizens.
The "good dog walkers," as the club calls them, will focus on community service and education, which may include talking to schoolchildren, posting informational fliers at trailheads and removing dog waste from trails, kennel club member Marty Messick said.
"I really think it's needed in the community," Messick said. "Children especially need to know how to approach a dog, not only with their own dog but with strange dogs."
The kennel club decided last week to create the group as an outgrowth of the city Dog Task Force's mission to address dog-related problems, Messick said. The task force began meeting in October.
The "good dog walkers" probably will name officers, meet a couple of times a year and charge nominal dues, Messick said. The club still needs to find a name for the group and set a date for the first meeting.
The kennel club typically involves dogs doing sporting activities, but the dog-walker group will focus on recreating with dogs, Messick said. The kennel club recommends that the city acknowledge dog walking as a valid and recognized recreational activity.
The club also is researching ways to encourage good dog-owners' citizenship through its classes and other community events. The club is offering obedience classes for puppies from 6 to 7 p.m. Jan. 14 to Feb. 18 at Riverbend Elementary School.
The kennel club defines a good dog owner as one who buys an annual city dog license, displays a collar or harness with current city license and rabies tags whenever walking the dog, and ensures the dog is under control either by leash or voice command.
The good owner keeps the dog out of the way of other people, doesn't allow the dog to touch someone who does not want to be touched and doesn't allow the dog to harass wildlife.
The good owner picks up the dog's waste and meets the dog's needs, including cleanliness, health, grooming, nutrition and training.
The dog walkers' group will be useful because people often ask how they are supposed to act with their dogs when in public, said Chava Lee, executive director of the Gastineau Humane Society.
The kennel club is looking at the situation broadly by addressing the needs of dog owners and non-owners, she said.
"They are looking out for the community in total and personally I think they did a great job," Lee said.
Tara Sidor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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