Kennel Club

JUBILEE, a 1-year-old Border Collie mix, obeys Melissa McBride, 26, of Cameron Park, at the Hangtown Kennel Club training session at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. Jubilee was rescued by Melissa's mother, Kerry. Democrat file photo

Healthy Pets 2012

Classes, competitions and companionship

By From page D5 | May 25, 2012

Dog lovers unite through the local Hangtown Kennel Club, an American Kennel Club-licensed all-breed dog club. The group includes members who are active and participate in shows across the United States, as well as members who are simply looking for camaraderie from fellow dog lovers.

Hangtown Kennel Club is a very active group in the community, hosting AKC shows, offering classes and volunteering time for different organizations. Over Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28, the club hosted its annual Hangtown Sierra Cluster Dog Show Premium, in conjunction with the Kennel Club of the California Sierra, at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville. The event was an AKC all-breed, obedience and rally dog show. This year, they decided to add a talent contest.

“It will be a really fun thing judged after the show is over,” Chairman for Obedience Training Sue Hunt said before the event. “The dogs will be showing us some kind of talent they have that not all dogs have, like maybe they can dance or howl on command.”

For those looking to become part of the AKC show world, taking advantage of the obedience and conformation classes offered by the Hangtown Kennel Club should be the first step taken. Those classes are offered outdoors throughout the spring and summer months. Conformation classes are necessary for any dog (and its owner) wanting to take part in AKC breed competitions. The classes give information about training, exercise and proper diet for the dog. Obedience classes also play a large role for both competing and non-competing canines.

“It’s very important socialization for the dogs,” Hunt said. “It teaches them how to do things around other dogs and it teaches them gentleness.”

Another important class for dogs in El Dorado County to take part in is the Rattlesnake Avoidance Clinic happening June 23 and 24 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The clinic takes roughly 15 minutes for the dog to complete three different tests. Those tests include smelling, sound, and the final test is placing a rattlesnake on the ground which the dog must move away from, going outside of the set barricades.

“Two of my dogs have gone through this clinic and another puppy will this year,” Hunt said. “Rattlesnakes are very prevalent in this area so this clinic is very important.”

Pre-registration is required in order to have your dog participate. If interested, contact Cathy Keeler at 530-622-6909 between the hours of 6  and 10 p.m.. The deadline to register is June 18 and the cost is $70. This quick clinic which will teach dogs to avoid a deadly rattlesnake bite this summer and for many summers to come.

Hangtown Kennel Club is also dedicated to the community in other ways. It supplies thousands of refill bags annually for the “doggie bag” dispensers located along local trails, at the fairground and downtown. The group is also involved with the local 4-H program, it visits Eskaton twice a month, members take their dogs to nursery schools to teach children how to safely feed dogs, they visit the Boys & Girls Club in Placerville to allow children to read to the animals and some members also visit hospitals with their dogs.

“Sometimes members visit the Alzheimer’s unit and just to see the smiles on people’s faces is priceless,” Hunt said.

Currently, the Hangtown Kennel Club membership is around 60 to 70 strong. For anyone interested in becoming a member and joining a group that shares in the same interests, you will need to attend three meetings and complete paperwork. Membership will then be voted on. General membership meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at 3380 Blairs Lane, Eskaton Village in Placerville.

For more on the Hangtown Kennel Club, visit the Website at

Rachael A. McCoy

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