Starting A Ferret Group/Club In Your Area
I have been asked, at least 50 times, how to start an animal Agility Group. How to get folks together with their small animals to train them on the Agility Equipment. So I thought I would add some ideas to this website.
I started a Rabbit and Rattie Agility group in N WI and here is how I did it. This could be used for any species.
To start a group is not as hard as one might think. If you own a rabbit and know other people in your area that own, show and or breed rabbits, you are on your way.
Talk to them about the sport and show them a website or video or other information you might have.
Talk to the people about harnesses, how they should fit and encourage them to leash break their rabbits before the first practice you have together. Have them bring a small cage for their rabbits, the harness and leash, a folding chair of their own to sit in, and of course, their good humor.
Pick a place and time. I found a city park is a wonderful place to set up. Choose a time, week day evenings with the promise of a bite to eat after, might be your best bet. You won't be out there during the winter, so you will have light until 9pm or so in most areas of the country.
You will need to furnish some sort of equipment for the group or individuals you will be inviting. You can make some pretty easy and inexpensive pieces with little knowledge of tools. If you have three or four pieces (more is better of course) that will be a great start. You will find that once people start coming and enjoying this sport with a group, they will also build and bring equipment.
A good friend of mine, Sally, who thought I was kidding when I first ask her to meet me at the park for Rabbit Agility, made the below sign. Sally has art talent and boy is it a cute sign. It says "RABBIT AGILITY EVERY BUNNY WELCOME". Our group did have a few passers by stay to watch and one lady with her two children even participated.
As people arrive greet everyone and meet their bunnies. Introduce everyone, even if you forgot their names....ASK them again and introduce everyone.
If you are a 4H Leader you may want to introduce Rabbit Agility or Rabbit Hopping to your Rabbit Group. The kids will love this sport and if treated correctly, so will their animals!
You may need to approach a panel before starting something like this with your group, or you may not. If you do you will want to have much information with you before the meeting. Be sure to take your ideas for how much room you will need to set up, what equipment you will need and where you will get it from, if you will have special training times for the kids, and any information you can give the parents to take home and go over.
Once you get permission from the powers that be, you will need to talk up the sport to the kids. Try to be informed before having your first meeting with them. You might want to take extra harnesses with you to the first practice to make sure everyone has a correct well fitting harness for the safety of their rabbits.
At our events in Northern WI, we added Rat Agility to the mix. Most of us (all of us) had pet rats too, so adding the ratties was just good fun! Adding the rats was no trouble at all and it just added to the fun. You can add any other animal or not to your evening, just remember, the person that starts the idea will need to come up with the equipment for the species you add.more to come
It is always a good idea to have times set for folks. It is a good idea to start or be there on time every time, if you are early you can get set up. You should also have a stopping time. About an hour and a half is perfect. After the event you might have a standing invitation for everyone to go to a Fast Food Restaurant, Dutch Treat (everyone pays for their own meal). That way you can bond more with the people that were concentrating on their animals at the practice. You can talk animals and agility as late as you like or leave early.
Always remind everyone when the next practice will be that evening and call them the day before the event when the date rolls around.
MORE TO COME
The contents of this page for Starting A Ferret Group/Club In Your Area is still under construction. Please check back later!
-- The Ferret Agility Team
Wed, 23 Mar 2011 15:14:54 -0400