Greater St. Louis Training Club, Inc. is the oldest obedience club in the Saint Louis are area and the only area club specializing in training to be a member of the American Kennel Club. The club has offered training classes and conducted trials since shortly after World War II.
In 1936 the AKC adopted the first set of regulations for obedience trials, a new sport intended to show what all breeds were capable of learning. It was thought that the public would be able to follow these competitions more easily than the conformation shows which required specific knowledge to understand.
A group of dog enthusiasts founded Greater St. Louis Training Club in 1940 and the club became a member of the AKC and the first obedience club in the St. Louis area. Under the leadership of founding members Carl Sypher and Clarence “Tex” Fawcett, they incorporated it as a not for profit organization in the state of Missouri in 1964. Originally training classes were held in the stable of the mounted police in Forest Park. Later they moved to the VFW hall on Big Bend and then to The College School. Classes were divided into Novice, Open and Utility to help people prepare their dogs for obedience trials. Puppy classes were added in the 1970s and were the beginning of a shift to training dogs for companionship without the emphasis on competition.
The club continued its tradition of sponsoring obedience trials. For many years it shared a weekend with another group, Mound City Obedience Training Club, with one group sponsoring the Saturday trial and the other responsible for Sunday. When Mound City gave up their day, GSLTC took over the whole weekend and added Rally trials as soon as that sport was adopted by the AKC. More recently a day of trials has been offered in February in addition to the traditional ones in May.
In 1997 the club moved classes to the Humane Society of Missouri headquarters on Macklind Avenue. Linda Campbell of the Humane Society had been looking for a new trainer and a friend had recommended Lucy Bailey. Lucy was not available to serve but suggested that GSLTC would be even better. A partnership was established and a training program for the volunteer trainers was initiated. The Humane Society supported club efforts by providing not only a training room but also help with registration and additional instructors.
The Humane Society reorganized in 2010 and GSLTC needed to move on to train independently again, renting space at the Shrewsbury City Center for classes. Lorraine Martinez was critical to our success by immediately taking over the registration process and the training team was able to make a smooth transition to the new site.
At this time, the board went through a strategic planning process which resulted in a new mission statement, a clearer division of responsibilities, and recognition the we had evolved from a club of obedience enthusiasts to an organization leading the way in positive reinforcement training in the Saint Louis community. Our contribution to the betterment of society by supporting our mission was well established and the board believed we qualified to become a 501(c)(3). The application process took over a year and in 2019 we officially became a tax-exempt non-profit organization.