My dog, Teddy, is now a Canine Good Citizen. It’s an official title awarded by the American Kennel Club (AKC). A title most well-behaved dogs can earn with just a little practice. But be warned – the CGC is a “gateway” title!
I got addicted to dog training almost 20 years ago. Back then, the CGC was an “award” and I was thrilled when my dog earned it. Dog training is a team effort and the feeling you get when your team comes together is exciting, and addictive. Anyone who’s gotten “in the zone” can relate.
Aside from the titles, admiration of your peers, friendship with other “dog people” and the complaints of your family and friends that you’re always off doing “dog stuff” – there’s the additional benefit of having a well-trained dog who’s a joy to live with. Most of the time.
Even before I got Teddy I knew that my next puppy would be a “performance dog” – one with whom I competed in Obedience, Rally, and Agility events. From the first, Teddy was in “Puppies With Purpose” class; learning how to solve problems and try new things without hesitation. It’s where he learned to climb. And why my kitchen counters never have anything edible or breakable.
Dogs Just Want to Have Fun
Like any hobby, dog training lets you immerse yourself in having fun. And it’s fun you must have every day – because dogs are a responsibility every day.
Dog competitions may not be every dog owner’s idea of a great hobby – most start way too early in the morning. And most people come into our obedience club’s training program to solve problems, not pursue dog sports. We’re happy to help you solve whatever issues you and your dog have.
Every session, there are a couple of people whose light bulbs turn on. The surprise and joy on their faces when their dog “gets it” is priceless. Then we have them hooked.
There are many dog sports: Obedience, Rally, Agility, Tracking, Hunting, EarthDog, Nose Work, Treibball, Barn Hunt. And because we’re all thrilled when our dogs do well, we all upload videos of our achievements, so you can easily watch any of these sports and see what appeals to you.
But be warned – we may “hook you” despite yourself. A woman came to our club recently because she’d promised her dog’s breeder that she’d get some kind of title on her Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. She was absolutely sure that training wasn’t for her, her dog “Mitzi” was fine as she was, she’d get that CGC and quit.
Six months later, Jamie and Mitzi are doing great and preparing for Novice Obedience competition. Jamie comes to class every week with a big smile that lights up the room – she’s ready to have a great time with her dog. And Mitzi, CGC, is a happier dog – because she knows what’s expected of her and knows how to do it.