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.
Your dog does not have to be a Dog Scout for you to join and support Dog Scouts of America. 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.
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