This blog first appeared on ColumbiaPatch.com on November 20, 2012.
(Dog-Walking through Tail Lights - credit vfetrow) EverythingDogBlog
by Skye Anderson, MS
Is Your Canine a Good Citizen?
Does your dog have good manners at home and in the community?
A well-behaved dog is one who can accompany you to public places and events like dog walks, walks around Lake Elkhorn or Centennial Lake, walks around the neighborhood at times other than midnight, and maybe even the Symphony of Lights (Tail Lights*) on December 11 - perhaps sit with you on the sidelines of your child’s soccer game!
We all want a best friend like that. And sometimes having a good canine citizen may allow you to rent an apartment that would otherwise exclude your dog. I recently found out that some apartments in Columbia have breed-specific exclusions (EverythibgDogBlog will report on that topic in a future blog, along with various home-owners’ and renters’ insurance policies).
The American Kennel Club’s rapidly growing Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program is a certification designed to evaluate your dog’s manners. You and your dog can be evaluated even if you two haven’t taken any formal dog training or CGC classes. The evaluation takes about 10-15 minutes.
Before taking the Canine Good Citizen ‘test,’ you will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge because responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept and by signing the pledge, you agree to take care of your dog's health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life. You also agree to show responsibility by cleaning up after your dog in public places and never letting your dog infringe on the rights of others.
Items on the CGC evaluation include Accepting a friendly stranger, Sitting politely for petting, Appearance and grooming, Walking on a loose leash and through a crowd, Sit, Down, Stay, Come when called, Reaction to another dog and to distractions, and Supervised separation. You can view a video of the evaluation at http://caninegoodcitizen.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/cgc-video-a-model-test/.
Beginning in January, the CGC becomes a title that you can put after your dog’s name! How cool is that!
*Tail Lights - Tuesday, December 11 / 4:30 - 5:45 p.m. Treat yourself and your dog to a walk through the 1.4 mile Symphony of Lights displays, benefitting Howard County General Hospital. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday season and to make this dog-friendly walk your family’s new holiday tradition. More on this event in a future blog.ghts. (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/howard_county_general_hospital/ways_give/howard_hospital_foundation/foundation_events/symphony_of_lights/tail_lights.html)