Can you please take your dog away from me, he’s getting hair all over me. No I can’t pet your dog I’m allergic. Please! No, go away I’m scared of dogs I was attacked when I was little. My dog attacked your dog because he ran up and started jumping all over her. Your dog ought to learn some manners.
Lack of manners is the reason the American Kennel Club (AKC) started the Canine Good Citizen Program. The Program was introduced in 1989 and its purpose is to educate dog owners on responsible dog ownership. Its goal was to introduce basic obedience to dog owners and other AKC activities such as agility, tracking and other performance events.
The AKC knows an obedient dog is a joy to live and travel with. Spending some time training your dog basic skills also helps the bond between you and your dog. Dogs of any age can train for the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program, obtaining either a Certificate or CGC Title!
What will you learn training for a CGC Title? Accepting a friendly stranger. Dogs should allow strangers to walk up to and speak with the dog owner without the dog jumping, barking, growling, or trying to get the stranger’s attention. Not everyone likes dogs and your dog should behave when a stranger approaches.
If the stranger is a dog lover, your dog ought to sit nicely during petting. Just because someone wants to say hi and pet your dog doesn’t give her the permission to jump on and lick the stranger. This is calm greeting behavior.
Your dog should allow grooming and handling. Will your dog allow a stranger to handle her ears, paws, and look at her teeth? Will she permit brushing? Grooming is a basic skill set all dogs should have and your veterinarian will thank you for it.
Your dog should walk nice on a loose leash and walk amongst a crowd without pulling or becoming frightful. Does your dog sit, down and come on command? She will need to, if you want to pass the Canine Good Citizen Test.
How does your dog react to another dog? Is she calm or is she jumping, crying, pulling to get to the other dog. Your dog must learn a calm greeting behavior. Some dogs don’t like other dogs, especially strange dogs. It is your responsibility to control your dog whether she is friendly or not.
How does your dog handle being separated from you? Some dogs experience separation anxiety every time their owner leaves their site. If your dog freaks out every time you leave, you have a problem. Separation anxiety will need to addressed. A trainer can help you with separation issues and many times it is caused by the owner giving too much affection and coddling the dog when they are fearful. Training will build your dog’s confidence.
Finally your dog is tested on distractions; bicycles, skateboards, and noises. Does she handle the distraction without becoming stressed and aggressive? Dogs should handle distractions just as any human; look, evaluate, and stay calm. The more distractions your dog experiences the less stress they will have. As you work with your dog around distractions, they will become more comfortable.
Insurance companies believe in the Canine Good Citizen program because it teaches responsible dog ownership. The Hartford Insurance Company indorses the CGC and offers auto and home owners insurance to certified CGC dogs. During the training for this title you are also taught what is required of the human part of the equation. The owner takes the Responsible Owner’s Pledge which states you will be responsible for your dog’s needs including routine veterinary visits, and adequate food, water, and exercise.
You pledge you will be responsible for your dog’s safety which includes fencing, not letting your dog run loose and obeying leash laws. You pledge to have some form of identification on your dog which may include tags, tattoos or microchip. This is an important one; you will pledge to supervise your dog when your dog and children are together.
You will pledge to not allow your dog to infringe on others. This includes jumping on people, nuisance barking, picking up your dog waste and disposing it in a proper receptacle.
Last, you pledge to provide your dog with a quality of life which includes basic obedience, playing and socializing with your dog. A dog owner understands that this is a commitment and dog ownership takes time and commitment.
If every dog owner certified their dog, Canine Good Citizen, the dog wardens would not have anything to do. There would be no more unlicensed dogs, nuisance barking, dog bites, and dogs running loose in the neighborhood. It would be very beneficial if there were laws requiring CGC to own a dog, however enforcement would be a logistic nightmare. So it’s up to each individual dog owner to take it upon themselves to be responsible dog owners