"Our dog's lives are much shorter than ours - let's help them enjoy their time with us as much as we can." ~ Dog Scout Owner's Motto
Dog Scouts of America (DSA) was established in 1995. It is a non-profit organization people who are dedicated to enriching their lives and the lives of others with dogs. Founder, Lonnie Olson, has made it her life's ambition to experience as many dog sports and skills as possible with her dogs. If you believe that dogs really enjoy learning new things and spending time with their owners, you're our kind of dog person. Dogs were not meant to be "furniture." Working dogs want to work. Without having an acceptable activity in which to use up all of that energy that comes "built-in" with a dog, our canine companions often get into trouble. By better understanding how your dog thinks, how he learns, and what drives his behavior, and by participating in a variety of dog sports and activities, you will become a more responsible dog owner. We hope to prevent misunderstandings, communication failures and behavioral problems which often lead to dogs being given up as a "lost cause."-
Dog Scouts of America Mission
To improve the lives of dogs, their owners, and society through humane education, positive training, and community involvement.
DSA Values: What We Stand For
We stand for responsibility – to the dogs in our care, to our communities, and to each other. We recognize the importance and benefits of the relationship between people and companion animals, and seek out ways to enrich this bond. We believe encouraging compassion and kindness toward our canine companions builds a more compassionate and kind world. We strive to create a better understanding and quality of life for our dogs and all animals in our world.
We believe that our members make a difference by setting an example, developing skills and embracing opportunities to share our philosophy with each other and inspire people to join us. We know that sharing positive ways of training and problem-solving helps to keep dogs in lifetime homes and out of shelters.
In Dog Scouts, people help dogs, dogs help people, and the whole community benefits.
We envision a future where dogs remain in happy, lifelong homes with responsible owners. In this vision, all dogs are seen as a useful and welcome part of the community, because people take responsibility for socializing, training, containing, and caring for them. We strive to create a world where people view their dogs as part of their family and all dog owners have the knowledge they need to raise well-mannered canine citizens.
In an effort to educate, DSA will publish manuals, articles, and a bi-monthly newsletter, to disseminate information about the wonderful things people and dogs are doing or can do together to promote the human/animal bond. DSA has published a web site, including information and links to a wide range of topics. We also have the DSA discussion list where members and anyone interested in DSA can share a forum promoting responsible dog ownership in America.
DSA offers a membership program for people who advocate the concept of people learning to become more responsible dog owners, trying to replace the attitude of dogs being “disposable,” and recognizing individuals who help by similarly educating the public at large about the joys of responsible dog ownership and the concept of dogs and people learning new things together for the betterment of society.
To further enhance the human/animal bond, DSA will hold camps that dogs and people can attend to learn and develop all types of interactive skills. DSA conducts weekend outings each year, which members can attend to learn with or without their dogs in a relaxed, natural environment. DSA holds instructor’s retreats, at least once per year, where instructors will apprentice and polish their skills. At the camps, outings and retreats, leadership training takes place. People will learn how to become community leaders by setting an example that promotes responsible dog ownership in their own communities all over the United States. The leadership training program was developed to encourage people everywhere to take a more active role in their communities as Troop Leaders and teachers of humane education.
To give recognition, DSA uses a merit badge system to honor the learning and training achievements of the members. After learning and performing a particular skill, the owner will receive a patch to attest to the accomplishment. DSA will formally bestow the title of Dog Scout to any dog whose owner has proved his responsibility by passing the Dog Scout test and possessing the minimum standard of qualities necessary to proudly wear the title of DSA (Dog Scout of America). DSA will give community service awards to people who have consistently and repeatedly distinguished themselves as examples of responsible dog ownership, and by introducing others to humane education. DSA will give the “Good Scout” award to people who help promote humane education in smaller ways, or on fewer occasions, but may actually reach larger numbers of people through TV, radio, blogs, etc.
To promote humane treatment of animals, DSA advocates only the most modern, scientific, behavioral approaches to training. DSA teaches the owners that everything you need to communicate to a dog can be done with operant conditioning,and without the use of force, punishment or abuse.
By teaching people to be responsible for their animals, these people (and their dogs) become a valuable resource in their home communities. By demonstrating to others how dogs can easily be trained with kindness, fairness and patience rather than domination, force and intimidation, more people will become responsible owners and will not give up their dog to the pound at the first sign of a behavior problem. One in every four dogs in this country will end up in some kind of shelter at least once. Unfortunately, most of them never get to leave the shelter. By creating owners who will commit to a lifelong responsibility of raising their dog the proper way, sharing their lives with them (instead of tying them out back), and meeting the challenges of the normal dog behaviors which are to be expected, DSA hopes to reduce the numbers of stray and unwanted dogs substantially.
DSA is an organization which does not discriminate against any breed. If a small dog, like Lonnie's Welsh Corgi, "Weasel," wants to pull a dog sled, then she should be able to learn to do so (which she did, and enjoyed tremendously). If you want to try herding with your non-herding breed, you should be able to do so and DSA will enable you to earn a merit badge as proof of your dog's skills.
Any dog can become a Dog Scout. The only requirement is that the dog and owner must be able to pass a test, proving that the owner is responsible and the dog is well mannered and not a danger toward humans and other dogs. The owner will receive an embroidered merit badge. These badges can then be displayed on the dog's backpack, Dog Scout uniform, crate cover, or travel bag.
What does a Dog Scout do?
During the year, we encourage your dog to continue to pursue the badge activities either within a troop or on your own. Scouts and their owners pursue backpacking and enjoy adding miles to their log book toward their backpacking titles. Many Scouts become involved in civic activities. Examples of some of the things Dog Scouts have done for the community include: walking in charity walk-a-thons or participating in other fundraisers, creating your own fundraising events for charity and helping with community clean-ups. In addition, many Dog Scouts are active in Therapy visits throughout the year and enjoy competing in various sports. The Dog Scouts also have weekend outings a few times each year. The outings are free of charge, and are for members of DSA only.
If you share some of the same goals and ideals as Dog Scouts of America, then perhaps you would like to consider membership in our organization. As a supporting member of DSA, you will be helping to promote the idea that dogs should have a chance to learn new skills and try new things, making themselves more versatile companions. As a member of DSA, you will receive the DSA Newsletter, and be the first to get information on camps or other Dog Scout Activities. Your dog does not have to be a Dog Scout for you to join and support Dog Scouts of America.
Click here to meet the Current Board of Directors (& to see the By-Laws, Code of Ethics and Statement of Corporate Responsibility)
As one of the leaders in dog education, our vast website is loaded with information on how to be a responsible dog owner (a good parent and devoted teacher) and improve the relationship you have with your dog. Articles include training information for raising a new puppy, helpful tips on preventing or getting rid of behavior problems, and instruction and info for getting into dog sports and activities that you can enjoy with your dog. Dog Scouts do everything with reward based training, and there is information on how to add clicker training, operant conditioning, and shaping to your dog training "toolbox," and how to use these tools to teach your dog what every good dog knows; from basic manners to specialized training!
Our goal is to help every dog parent value their canine companion even more, and deepen the bond they have with their dog. With millions of dogs discarded each year, mostly due to behavior problems or other poor excuses, we needed to fill the information void. We need to help each dog owner become a responsible dog parent, and give them answers to perplexing behavior problems that would otherwise eventually lead to them abandoning the dog.
Dogs are an absolute JOY to have in your life, if the dog is raised properly. The reason dogs are dying in shelters is because there are too many people out there not doing it correctly because they don't know any better! We’re helping people choose to keep their dogs (because they love them) instead of discarding them like trash or making them someone else's problem to fix.
We Are an Encyclopedic Resource
Many Shelters, Rescues, and Breeders use our site as a reference, so that their dogs and puppies will not end up returned or tossed away. With the information on our web site, the homes that these organizations and persons find for their dogs and puppies will be permanent homes. We are constantly contacted for permission to reprint articles from this site, to aid in the placement of dogs and puppies in forever homes with responsible parents. Permission is granted, provided the source is sited, and web site address is provided, so that the readers can come back and get even more helpful, free information, to improve the bond they have with their dog even more.
We Help You Learn New Things
We encourage people to help their dogs be all they can be…
"Let us learn new things, that we may become more helpful" is the Dog Scout's Motto. The more a dog learns, the more welcome that dog becomes in more places. That dog becomes an ambassador for good training and responsible dog parenting everywhere he or she goes. Dog Scouts participate in their communities, just as the Boy and Girl Scouts do. There are Dog Scout Troops all across the nation, and these people and their dogs become involved in helping in the community.
Dog Scouts have conducted clean-up efforts, raised thousands of dollars for service dog organizations, and bullet-proof vests for police K-9 officers, and each year some raise money for the Salvation Army, through the Christmas season bell-ringing campaign. The troops have raised money for shelters by holding art actions (selling artwork that the dogs have painted), and collected donations and delivered holiday packages for the pets of seniors and shut-ins, in conjunction with the meals on wheels program (these folks often feed their meals to their animals, because they have nothing else to give them.)
Many Dog Scouts regularly visit elementary schools to help children learn to become better readers, through the DSA SIRIUS Reader Program, or other reading programs. Other Dog Scouts volunteer their time at nursing homes, spreading love to the elderly or infirm, or visiting schools to teach non-violence education, responsible ownership, bite prevention and other important lessons to the kids. Sometimes they just show the kids how dogs can paint. When a child sees how the people talk to their dogs in full sentences, and the dogs completely understand and cooperate with their humans during the demo, without leashes, loud commands, or threats of punishment, it teaches the children a lesson that goes beyond just one of, "dogs can paint." It teaches them that dogs are intelligent, loving creatures, who can be wonderful friends and companions if you’ll just take them off that chain in the back yard and teach them something. It teaches them to treat dogs with respect and to value all life.
We Recognize Merit
We have a recognition program whereby parents and dogs work together to earn merit badges in various areas of training or service. There are over 60 badges for things like Community Service, Therapy Work, Clean-up America, and Fundraising, as well as many dog activities like Painting, Water Safety, Backpacking, Obedience, Agility, and Search and Rescue. To earn merit badges, the Scout and parent work together as a team, under the guidance of a certified Scoutmaster. If there is no recognized Scoutmaster in your area, you can begin training to become one (which is free), and even start a troop in your area, or you can take a written and create a video of your skills to send to a Scoutmaster. See our "Start A Troop" and "Certification Program" pages for more information on how you can earn badges, become a Scout Evaluator, and/or start a troop near you.
We Offer Dog Scout Certification
You can also get free Leadership Training and/or earn merit badges at Dog Scout Camps, or Mini-Camps. We have week-long camps in Michigan, and weekend mini camps in Texas and Missouri. The Dog Scout Certification is also offered through mini-seminars, which you might be able to host in your area if you have enough people interested. If you would like to see the Dog Scout Certification offered at a camp near you, or any three-day event near you, please contact the organizer of that event and ask them to offer this certification. They can contact the DSA office for information on how to accomplish this. This certification is also offered to anyone around the world, without attending a camp, through the "worldwide certification program" and use of video equipment.
This part of DSA is a wonderful program for children to become involved with. It teaches kids responsibility, and some very important life lessons. It helps them build self-esteem, and how to reach success with goal-oriented steps. It’s not always possible for a child to be a fully responsible dog parent. The child is not usually in a position to make decisions like whether the dog will live inside or out, whether or not to fence the backyard, or if and when the family dog will be spayed or neutered. But the child can train the dog, and learn all that he or she can to become a future responsible parent. Children aged 6 to 18 can teach their dogs obedience and good manners, so that the dog can pass the training requirements for the Jr. Scout badge. Various elements of the DSA badge requirements are made more lenient for the Junior Scout certification. Some of our Dog Scout Troops actually cater to kids, and are a group of adult dog trainers, mentoring kids.
- JOIN DSA!
- DSA Position on Punishment
- Exemplary Values and the Ripple Effect - DSA's Code of Ethics
- Making a Difference - Statement of Corporate Responsibility
- DSA Corporate By-Laws - as of Feb 2, 2010
- Contact Information