Can Training Help Your Dog Become A Good Citizen?

Canine Good Citizen Dog

Is your dog a good citizen? Can a dog become a good citizen? YES! Your dog can and should become a good citizen and I am going to tell you how.

Many of you may think I’m smart when it comes to understanding behavior. I could argue the point both ways because sometimes I am a complete bonehead.

Let me splain:

Being the ever helpful husband and father, I often pitch in to help with the dishes. We don’t have a dishwasher and with two small children dishes pile up fast. I started working at my uncle’s restaurant when I was 14 and washed thousands of dishes so I am convinced there is no better dishwasher than me.

Being a brilliant person I shortcut the process and let the knives soak as I wash the plates and cups. I’m not stupid, I am careful, I can let the cutting knives soak without getting cut. I reach in the tub of water and… slice my thumb open.

You see, as a dog trainer I am constantly teaching dog owners that dog training is a combination of positive AND negative consequences. The unethical dog trainers of the world want you to believe positive reinforcement is the ONLY way to train. This is dangerous and deadly advice (shameless plug for my riveting and controversial book:

When I sliced my hand open it was information I learned from. My uncle, from the time I was 14, told me to NEVER, under any circumstances, let the sharp knives soak while washing dishes. I ignored my uncle’s expert advice and paid the price. The negative consequence was valuable information. It could have been much worse.

When a dog is on an underground electronic containment system the (GASP) shock from the collar provides valuable, life saving information. The dog learns to NOT cross the boundary. The dog safely stays in the yard and avoids being crushed by a 30 mile an hour moving hunk of steel. I’ll take the shock any day of the week.

When you train your dog please remember the three most important words in dog training:


The terms for my dogs are simple. Here are a few:

  • You must walk on leash without pulling or barking at other dogs.
  • You must come when called.
  • You must pee and poop outdoors.
  • You can NEVER jump on people.
  • You must accept grooming and brushing.
  • You can NEVER bite people.
  • You must lie down and stay on command.
  • You must be calm and relaxed when I leave the house.

My terms are reasonable. My dogs have a great healthcare plan, they get fed the best food, get loads of love and attention, free housing, exercise, and socialization. Pretty good deal. They learned my terms through a combination of positive and negative consequences. If you look at my terms they are the same as the Canine Good Citizen test. When your dog learns your terms you’ll have a dog everyone wants to be around, a dog that is a Good Citizen.

Are you ready to help your dog become a good citizen?

We are starting the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Class this month and you’re in luck because we still have a few spots left. Class will be held on Saturday October 28th at Diamond in the RUFF in Acushnet, MA. You can register by calling 508-763-5351.

See you there.

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