The Dog Scouts are coming (and your dog can join!) | News
From Dog Scouts of East Texas, Troop 225:
Man’s best friend can now also earn merit badges for good citizenship and service with the Dog
Scouts of America, and pet owners are welcome to join them!
All over the country, there are chapters of the Dog Scouts of America and also in other countries.
The national organization started in 1995 by Lonnie Olson. Here locally, Tyler Troop 225 is just
getting started and is looking for more cadets to join them. Dog Scout troops help our furry
friends to become well trained canines and their owners to become responsible pet parents.
Before a dog can become a full-fledged Scout, the dog must pass the good citizenship test which
consists of several self-restraint skills like “Sit”, “Stay”, “Recall,” “Heel,” “Leave It,” “Watch
Me,” “Drop It,” etc. We have play dates where we play games that reinforce good training skills
and meetings in which local trainers, vets, and other experts present information to the scouts.
We also have lots of activities like hiking, swimming, kayaking, dock diving, camping, etc.
And don’t forget that there are over 90 badges that can be earned by each dog and his human
companion! And finally, the Dog Scouts believe in having projects that benefit the community
because their motto is: To improve the lives of dogs, their owners, and society through humane
education, positive training, and community involvement.
Dog Scouts stand for responsibility–to the dogs in our care, to our communities, and to each
other. We believe that our members make a difference by setting a positive example, developing
skills and embracing opportunities to share our philosophy with each other and to inspire people
to join us. In Dog Scouts, people help dogs, dogs help people, and the whole community
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.
Troop Leader Natalie Fletcher says, “What gives me the greatest joy is helping others to get over
a behavior problem because behavior problems are the number one reason dogs end up in
shelters and euthanized. I love seeing the delight in both the owner and the dog when they
realize they can communicate to each other through positive clicker training!”
Dog Scouts help each other. If there is a problem that has us stumped, we can call over to the
leaders of other troops for advice and ideas for solutions. And troops tend to develop a network
of support from local trainers and veterinarians. It’s nice to know that you are not alone with a
dog you can’t handle!
Dallas has the largest troop with over 90 active members.
Leslie Urbina, Gabe’s daughter, chimes in her support: “Dog Scouts are awesome! I loved taking
Rolly Polly into the woods to hike. I can’t wait to see what’s next!” His son Casey thinks it’s
cool to work with the Dog Scouts.
What you need to know:
• To get information about upcoming activities, check out the Troop’s facebook page:
Tyler Troop 225. There is also a group page with the same name, so please join.
• The national organization’s website is www.dogscouts.org. It is chock full of training
articles to address almost every situation. Also check out the badges that can be earned.
If you are interested in it, we will do it!
• If you need to speak to a leader, call Natalie Fletcher at her law office, 903-592-0055 or
Gabe Urbina at his photography studio, 903-343-8312.
• Dog Scouts are an inclusive group. In the immortal words of Brother Lou Garrett: “We
don’t care what you look like, smell like or what you drove up in.” Everyone is welcome
to participate. Just come with a good attitude. Your dog does not have to be a perfect
dog before he can participate. You are among friends who understand and will help you
work with your dog’s problems. And hopefully, you will have a fabulous time doing it.
Co-Leader, Gabe Urbina, says “The Dog Scouts offer a great opportunity for people to
understand their dogs at a deeper level. We all receive an education, not just from the instruction
that will be available, but also from each other. Dogs will have a chance to socialize. We, as
dog parents, will be able to learn in a community environment which will add to the fun of all
activities. It is an exciting new step for us in East Texas.”