Most of my canine cousins, whether on the smallish side like myself or a super-sized model, enjoy having a job to do. It also seems to please our people when we not only provide them companionship, but also become a positive influence on the other humans of the world. One of the best ways for any dog, whether purebred or mixed, to serve in a role that is fulfilling for them and therapeutic for the humans involved is to become a therapy dog. This job allows dogs to bring joy and love into the lives of senior citizens, those recuperating in hospitals and the physically or mentally handicapped. In order to be certified and allowed to enter nursing homes and other facilities, a dog must prove themselves to be calm and well-mannered.
The Canine Good Citizens program, instituted in 1989 by the American Kennel Club, is a path for approval to become a therapy dog by Therapy Dogs International (TDI) among other similar groups. This testing proves that a dog has good leash manners, just like me Spike, and can handle various situations such as being approached by a stranger and different types of distractions. Numerous other countries have adopted similar programs in order to screen not only potential therapy dogs, but police dogs as well.
Now in order to properly prepare for the CGC as it is known, utilizing a canine resource like preparatory classes will ensure a dog receives the knowledge and training required. After the instruction period, the test will be administered and you will receive a certificate. As of January of 2013 the AKC has made the Canine Good Citizen test an official title that will appear on your papers, making both you and your owner proud.
Once you have successfully completed these classes, the world is your dog bone! You can help and comfort people by doing therapy work or becoming a reading dog for children. A whole world of competition will open up if you and your person so desire. The basic skills needed to move on and experience the thrill of running an agility course or competing in obedience are all acquired in the training you received. Perhaps the most important thing for us dogs to remember is that the CGC is our reward for having great manners and being wonderful ambassadors for our species.
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