The International Day of the Dog was first developed by Jan Fennell, also known as "The Dog Listener". Her unique style of treating dogs with respect and understanding and training only in the most positive and natural ways continues to be used in many different training programs around the world. Her training methods have worked wonders with many different breeds and dogs that were previously known as troubled or problem dogs. She is also a great supporter of adopting dogs from shelters and rescues and working with them to achieve the best possible relationship between humans and their canine companions.
The International Day of The Dog was first held in 1995 as a way to formally recognize the importance that the dog has had in human development and the evolution of our society. Dogs have historically been important in helping humans to find food, to provide transportation and most importantly to act as protectors and a source of companionship to people. The Day of the Dog celebrations are an attempt to unify the dog community to give one day to recognize dogs for their role in our society and to help to educate people about specific issues with modern dogs.
Each year the International Day of The Dog events are held on the last Sunday of April, ensuring seasonally nice weather in almost all parts of the world. Events can range from hosting a dog walk to participating in a parade or even volunteering time at a local rescue or dog shelter. Each area is encouraged to develop their own celebration based on the theme and then report back to the website with information on what they are planning and details on the events.
The whole focus of the Day of the Dog is to avoid the use of any type of harsh punishment or negative type training methods. People are encouraged to just go out and enjoy their dogs, but without corrective collars, negative training methods or any type of punishment. Instead owners are encouraged to only use positive training methods and observe the way that dogs react much more positively to this method than any other. Ideally the hope is that when all owners understand that dogs respond much better to positive training methods the cruel and abusive methods some owners and trainers still use will become a thing of the past.
Since this really is a grass roots movement, anything that you do with your dog on this day can be advertised on the International Day Of the Dog website. Although very popular in the United Kingdom, France, Australia and in parts of South America it is a bit slower in catching on in other countries. In the past years Canada, Italy, Holland, Denmark, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Venezuala as well as Austria have all held celebrations to celebrate the International Day of the Dog.
Since participation doesn't have any type of restrictive criteria, or necessarily need to include dogs, it is really open to a local organizing committee, group or individual to plan what they would like to do. Some communities have fundraising dances (for humans), day camps for dogs and humans, dog walks or even have play days at a local dog park to highlight this special occasion.
If you are interested in planning something for your community for the International Day of the Dog you have several options of how to get interest within your area. The first option is to meet with a local rescue or shelter and encourage them to work with you on planning the event. The next step is to get some publicity for the event. Usually most radio stations, newspapers and even local television shows may be more than happy to provide coverage or information on your event as part of a public service. This means that there is no charge for the advertising or information notice, which is a great cost saving measure plus it also helps make others aware of what you are trying to do.
Working with breed clubs, dog training schools and programs, groomers, pet stores and vet clinics can also help to spread the word and get other dog owners involved and motivated. Since the event can be very simple such as a open invitation to attend the dog park on the last day in April it can be simple or much more elaborate. Some communities plan fund raising activities for their local rescue or shelter on the International Day of the Dog, plus they often host low cost vaccination clinics or even classes on dog first aid, proper feeding and care of dogs or even on dog grooming.
Talking to professionals and companies in your area that work with dogs may give you a lot of ideas, gifts and prizes and even money for sponsorships for the event. You may wish to organize a fun dog show or even a parade of dogs and their owners that take a tour around the city or through a nature park in your area. Just be sure to follow all city rules and bylaws with regards to parades or gatherings on public property.
Coordinating with other communities on their International Day of the Dog celebrations can also be wonderful way to offer individuals a wide range of activities to participate in. Often once one community starts an activity other communities will join in the next year. You may be able to even get friendly competitions going to see how many participants you can get out to different events to help with raising funds or simply raising awareness of dogs in our lives.
Finally remember that you can also celebrate the Day of the Dog on your own. Consider taking your dog for an extra walk, spending a bit more time playing with your pooch or take them to do something they really enjoy. You may also want to get more involved in your local dog rescue or volunteer your time with a breed club to help in the welfare of dogs in your community all through the year.