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 Guild Pages
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What would joining a Guild do for me? Let’s begin with the American Heritage Dictionary’s definition of the word guild:

guild—an association of persons of the same trade or pursuits, formed to protect the mutual interests and maintain standards.

This is a basic explanation of the word but the word carries so much more meaning for me.
Here is what I think of when I refer to my experience with a guild.

G stands for Group. A group provides you with like-minded individuals to support your interest. They are your training buddies who see what you look like out on the floor, what skills need improvement, what moves show your dog to it’s best advantage, and what is pleasing to an audience. By combining each member’s talents and strengths, knowledge and skills, the group expands the body of information available to each member. The group shares knowledge and skills to support your efforts, celebrates your accomplishments, understands your problems, motivates, consoles, inspires, and becomes your best friends. The group is needed to achieve all the opportunities of the CFF program. It takes the combined efforts of every member to raise funds, put on matches and trials, do demos and carry out the goals of CFF.

U stands for Unity of purpose. The purpose of the guild is to promote Canine Freestyle as defined by CFF and to promote and support CFF as an organization. The guild provides an opportunity to grow together in knowledge and skills within a discipline. It offers opportunities to work together to achieve a goal, develop skills in management, business, interpersonal relationships, public relations, fiscal responsibility, the list is limitless.

The unity of purpose is shown best by the lack of competition between guild members and the emphasis on sharing the joy of freestyle and supporting each other and the CFF organization. It is “all for one and one for all”.

I stands for Information. The guild is the place to learn about CFF and freestyle. Here you learn to understand the CFF definition of freestyle. Classes are available to help you train your dog, develop attention, learn optional moves, etc. The Guild will teach you how to choose music, choreograph a routine, and help you to understand the standards of the organization, the requirements for competition, and how routines are judged. The guild is responsible for maintaining the standards of CFF and helping you to understand and meet them through classes, run-throughs, adjudicated matches and trials.

L stands for Leadership. The act of becoming a guild member opens a world of opportunities for developing and practicing leadership skills. There are many jobs to be done in any organization. Whatever skills you bring to the group will be put to use in carrying out the guild’s program. There are guild Officers, committees, public relations, classes to teach, demos to organize, fund raisers, scheduling, matches, show-and-gos, trials, records to be kept, articles to be written, etc. Everyone has an opportunity to contribute in his or her own way. Guild leadership can lead to broader involvement with the national organization, serving on committees, organizing special events, becoming a judge, giving seminars.

D stands for Demonstrate. Guilds are responsible for holding true to the spirit and definition of canine freestyle and passing it on. This is done by setting an example in many areas. Dogs are treated with respect at all times. Positive training methods are advocated. The focus is on showing your dog to its best advantage. The relationship between dog and handler is the basis for all freestyle training. This is what you demonstrate wherever you go and whatever you do. When you take CFF training back to your local clubs, friends, and other dog organizations you are setting a higher standard of achievement.

When your Guild does demonstrations to promote CFF you are inspiring others to train their dogs, to come and learn about the joy of freestyle and to support the goals of CFF. We pride ourselves in always putting the health and welfare of our dogs first, in using good taste and family values in selecting music and choreographing routines, and being professional in carrying out our commitments to other organizations. We pride ourselves in being knowledgeable about CFF and able to explain to others what it is all about. We present an atmosphere for learning where there is no competition among ourselves, only sharing and helping each other so that each individual may reach his or her personal goals.

Freestyle is a difficult sport. Not everyone will be successful in attaining titles but everyone will be successful in attaining a deeper relationship with their dog. I like to think of it as a journey with the possibility of a title at the end. I may never get to the end but the experiences I am enjoying along the way are what are important to me. My guild membership has given me the opportunity to grow along with my dog. A guild is where every newcomer needs to be.


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