The Kennel Club founded their Good Citizen Dog Scheme in 1992 to help combat anti-dog negativity, promote socially acceptable dogs and create dog owners who are fully aware of their dog owning responsibilities.
Your dog does not have to be Kennel Club registered to take part. All dogs are eligible for this straightforward and non-competitive training scheme be they pedigree or crossbreed, young or old.
The scheme incorporates three awards – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each level involving a gradual development in the understanding of your dog. On successful completion of each of the levels, you will be awarded a certificate and a rosette which has a picture of Grommit (from Wallis & Grommit) on it.
For the Bronze Award you will be tested on:
- Cleanliness and Identification (poo bag at the ready and correct ID Tag on your dog’s collar)Collar and Lead (check that they are suitable for purpose)
- Walking on Lead (you should be able to walk along without your dog pulling you)
- Control at door/gate
- Controlled walk through people and dogs
- Stay down on lead
- Grooming your dog
- Present for examination
- Return to handler
- Responsibility and care (you have to correctly answer some fairly straightforward questions.
The Silver Award is the next level and the test will cover:
- Play with Dog (nice play and the dog will stop when asked)
- A short road walk
- Recall to the Handler
- A longer stay in one place
- Vehicle Control ( getting in and out of a car and not being worried in the vehicle)
- Come away from Distractions
- Controlled Greeting with other Handlers & Dogs.
- Food manners
- Examination of you dog by another person
- And more questions on Responsibility and Care
The final level is the Gold Award, on this you will cover:
- A longer Road Walk
- Return to Handlers Side when called
- Walk Free beside Handler
- Stay Down in one place even longer
- Send your dog to Bed
- Stop you Dog whilst it is free running
- Food Manners – a harder exercise than in the Silver
- Being Relaxed whilst isolated from Handler
- Even more questions on Responsibility and Care
The Dog Training School (Capable Canines) that I work with began teaching the KCGCS 5 years ago. We felt that once owners had done the basic training with their dogs, it would give them a target to aspire to. Our DTS has been particularly successful with the pass rates and because of this we have been picked to display at Discover Dogs for the past 3 years.
My two cavaliers are both KCGCS dogs. Cinders has unfortunately only managed to get to the Silver level. She is deaf and finds it hard to do some of the gold exercises, but we will have another go this year.
Minnie-May reached Gold level in 2010, but the food manners was rather touch and go! It was the first time our tester had done any gold tests with our DTS so we were not too sure what he was looking for. He gave each dog a bowl of food and we had to stop them from eating half way through. We had not practiced it this way and poor Minnie was so shocked when I told her to leave it, that she actually did. This may be one exercise too far for many of our foodie cavvies but it can be done!!!
The whole experience of undertaking the training and the sense of achievement of reaching the standards was certainly something that I would recommend to every dog owner.
Full details of the tests and the Dog Training Establishments that train for them are available on the Kennel Club site:
The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme