Dog club provides stress relief

Tilly is one of the many dogs that participate in the Chico State Stockdog Association. Photo credit: Sharon Martin

Some say the bond between a dog and its owner is a unique experience. Dog and animal lovers alike are able to build relationships and relieve some stress with four-legged friends as members of the Chico State Stockdog Association.

The association is a club that uses stock dogs in the livestock industry. The University Farm, an open grassy field with small pens of sheep, is where students and their dogs gather together twice a week to practice leadership and training. Not only do the dogs socialize with each other, both students and pets also learn to work with the sheep.


Nikki Marlin, a junior animal science major, joined the club last fall. The association was the reason she decided to come to Chico State. Marlin has two herding dogs and competes in competitions.

“I actively sought it out,” Marlin said. “It supports my sport and love of breed so it worked out.”


The learning process for the program is not all about working with sheep. Members connect with each other and support similar interests.

Aside from making friends, the benefits of being a part of the Chico State Stockdog Association include meeting many people in livestock and bettering public speaking through demos, Marlin said.

“Making connections now will carry on after graduation,” she said.


During finals week last semester, the club brought Corgi and Border Collie dogs to campus for students to pet, causing a lot of anxiety among students to disappear.

Bringing the dogs from University Farm to school helped socialize the dogs, and at the same time, provided an opportunity to talk about the club, Marlin said.


Studies have shown that animal interaction results in less depression and lower blood pressure, said Cody McCoy, a senior animal science major and president of the association.

“When you sit all day looking at a book, you wanna get outside and see what the animals are doing,” McCoy said.

Students provided good feedback after the stress relief event took place on campus, he said. The program will continue to bring the dogs out next semester.

“One student bombed their final, came out to pet the dogs and it made their day,” McCoy said.


Club members don’t need to own a dog. They can borrow dogs and learn while participating.

“You see the dogs progress and the students also progress,” McCoy said. “We are like a family unit.”


The association is working towards hosting competitions and gathering more active members.

Opportunities to get involved are posted on the Chico State Stockdog Association’s calendar of events located on the third floor of Plumas Hall. More information is also available on their

Tilly is one of the many dogs that participate in the Chico State Stockdog Association. Photo credit: Sharon Martin

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Amanda Hovik can be reached at [email protected] or @ on Twitter.