Thursday, November 15, 2012

Canine Good Citizen

When I was looking to adopt a dog, I had no intention of adopting a pitbull.  I wasn’t a “dog person” then, so I knew very little about dogs.  But I did know that as a then-renter a pitbull would make it difficult to find a new apartment should I need one.
But I couldn’t help myself.

After bringing home this little, skinny pitbull, I began to read.  I read anything I could get my hands on.  In my research during my preparation to adopt a dog, I came across information about the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen’s Test.  On pitbull advocacy websites, they write about how important it is for (dog owners in general, but especially) pitbull owners to have their dog obtain their CGC Certificate.  I was determined to have the best behaved pitbull dog ever.  And so we began.
The reality of it is that the CGC is in my eyes mandatory for bully breeds (Edison is working hard to get there).  It denotes that your dog is a safe and stable member of your community.  I’ve always liked having it in my “back pocket” in case I come face-to-face with a naysayer.  For rescue dogs especially, it is a badge of resilience, a stamp of approval.  It’s an important step for bully owners to show that they are committed to being responsible owners.

Any dog can take the CGC exam, regardless of age or breed.  There are ten tests that are designed to show that the handler is in control of a well-mannered pooch:
Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
Test 3: Appearance and grooming
Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
Test 5: Walking through a crowd
Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
Test 7: Coming when called
Test 8: Reaction to another dog
Test 9: Reaction to distraction
Test 10: Supervised separation

There are tons of trainers out there that do obedience classes geared specifically towards the CGC and help you prepare for the exam.  If you’re thinking about going for it (especially all you bully owners), DO IT!

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