Last week I took time out of my busy schedule and did a career day talk at the Somerset Middle School. My niece is a guidance counselor there and since I happen to be the world’s greatest uncle, I showed up and dazzled the eighth graders with my presentation on being a dog trainer.
When they finished yawning each group asked the same question. “Have you ever been bitten?” I may be imagining this, but every time I told them I had been bitten about ten times and was once attacked it seemed to cheer them up. They wanted to know more about the attack.
So I told each group how a dog named Scar (I’m not making this up) came at me during a training session and would not stop. Every chance he got he came at me and clamped on on the closest body part. Thankfully my cat like reflexes, years of experience, (and 15 silent Hail Mary’s) got me out of the situation.
Funny how we share our lives with predatory animals. Which is why dog training is so important. Your dog has to learn to never bite. Your dog has to learn to walk on leash without pulling, to come when called, to never bolt out the door, and much more.
Back in 1989, the American Kennel Club established a program to encourage responsible dog ownership and training. The Canine Good Citizen program was developed and has since become very popular with good reason. Once your dog passes the evaluation your dog becomes a registered Canine Good Citizen with the American Kennel Club. This is open to both pure and mixed breed dogs.
The evaluation consists of ten objectives. All items must be completed satisfactorily or the team (dog and owner) fails. Test items include:
- Accepting a friendly stranger.
- Sitting politely for petting.
- Allowing basic grooming procedures.
- Walking on a loose lead.
- Walking through a crowd.
- Sitting and lying down on command and staying in place.
- Coming when called.
- Reacting appropriately to another dog.
- Reacting appropriately to distractions.
- Calmly enduring supervised separation from the owner.
At this point I know you want your dog to be a Canine Good Citizen but you don’t know what to do to get started. You are in luck because on Monday, June 26th we are doing a Canine Good Citizen class at Diamond in the RUFF in Acushnet. Class will be four weeks and if you’d like to register call Kelli at Diamond in the RUFF. The number is 508-763-5351. Looking forward to seeing you there.