3 Benefits Your Dog Gets Out of *You* Joining a Pet Club

When you join a dog club — and judging by the number of dog clubs in our GroupWorks family, many of you already have — you get to enjoy all the companionship and camaraderie that come from sharing your passion with others. But what about the flip side? What’s in it for the dogs?

Quite a lot of treats, actually.

Here’s a look at how a dog scores when its human joins a dog club:

1. The dog gets to meet new dog friends!

When the Sun City Festival Dog Club in the Arizona planned community of Sun City Festival hosts a group activity at the local dog park, the dog owner isn’t the only one getting out of the house.

“The dog gets an opportunity to socialize with other dogs,” says Ann Lambert. “You can really see the change when they’re around other dogs.”

Lambert is president of the 40-member Sun City Festival Dog Club, and the owner of four dogs, including Sunny, “a cross between a shih tzu and a long-haired chihuahua.”

When Sunny goes to gatherings at the dog park, says Lambert, a professional dog trainer, “he seems a lot happier and spyer.”

Science backs up the benefits of social interactions for dogs. A study conducted by a researcher at the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy found that dogs were 580 times more likely to bark, lunge, bite or otherwise show aggression if they’d been raised apart from humans and other pups.

2. An active human equals an active dog!

We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but dogs enjoy curling up and doing nothing as much as the next couch potato. But if they’ve got owners who get up and go — on walks, on hikes, to dog-club events — then they get up and go, too.

“If somebody has a dog,” Lambert says,” it brings people out of their shells.”

And, yes, the dogs follow — sometimes in costume, as evidenced by the Sun City Festival Dog Club’s recent “Howl-O-Ween” costume parade.

The best part of all this is that an active human and an active dog add up to a whole lot of health. Two new studies cited by the New York Times showed that the mere act of walking a dog — in costume, or no — reaps health benefits for both the human and the dog.

3. The dog’s human gets smarter!

We’re not going to lie to you, Rover: Not all dog-club events are open to dogs. Sun City Festival Dog Club’s monthly membership meetings, for instance, take place in a building that doesn’t allow pets. But buck up: Even when your human’s away, and socializing on her own at the dog club, that’s still a win for you.

A dog-club meeting, Lambert says, is “an opportunity to get together and talk about different things with our dogs. We can kind of commiserate. We all have concerns. We don’t provide dog-sitting [for instance], but we provide information.”

And that information or tip will ultimately benefit the dog. The thing to remember, Rover, is that, as Lambert the dog trainer knows, humans need instructions, too.

“I say I’m a people trainer because dogs know what to do,” Lambert says.