This page is for the parents, not the kids. I'll be outlining what I expect from parents as far as supporting the club's activities as well as your behavior at matches, trials, shows, and meetings.
Financial & Time Responsibilities
Financially, our club is relatively inexpensive. The requirements are $5 per family initially + $5 per kid each year. In addition to this, you'll be paying for your dog and some supplies, but money actually paid to the club is low.
Time-wise, you'll need to set aside about two hours a week during the summer (May-Sept) and two hours a month during the winter (Oct-Apr). Also, your child needs to work with your dog at a minimum 2 hours each week in 15-30 minute sessions. Your child will NOT qualify at fair without putting forth this effort. I cannot emphasize this enough--YOU need to make sure they work the dog. This is the same as piano lessons, it is a learned trait and does not come naturally, especially to the dog. Also, during fair, your family will be assigned a 4 hour work slot. You, your spouse, or an older child will have to work that slot.
Training the dog can be as simple as doing the sit-stay while you prepare dinner (wonderful for a dog that LOVES to help cook anyways!), recalls during TV commercials, and heeling during a short walk every afternoon.
First and foremost, I expect parents to support their children. Coming out of the ring after an aweful performance is not the time to discuss what the child could've done better. We can work on that later.
Secondly, I expect just as much from the parents as I do the kids on sportsmanlike behavior. It is not acceptable to criticize the judge, other kids, or other parents at any time in front of your kids or anyone else's children. If you have concerns, bring them to me privately before or after a meeting, or through e-mail.
I also expect that should parents have any training suggestions, critiques, etc., they bring them to me privately rather than during the class settings. It is confusing to the kids to have two separate opinions going on at the same time, and I can incorporate your suggestions much more smoothly if I can hear out your full opinion with my total focus, rather than thinking about the kids and the dogs at the same time. If it is difficult for you to not include suggestions during the setting, I'll be more than happy to include you in training if you bring a dog with you.
Becoming a Leader
Parents that wish to become leaders are great! However, you will have some responsibilities. Leaders will be required to rotate turns in going to various meetings that are required or suggested by the county 4-H program. Leaders also will be REQUIRED to fill a fair work slot.
Please contact me for more information. There are some county requirements (such as a background check) that must be done before you are a leader.
(c) 2003 Emily Carroll & W&W 4-H Club.