CGC, Therapy Dog, & Service Dog Training
Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Therapy Dogs & Service Dogs
The standard of Dog Training and Pet Care Excellence
I have been selected by the honorable Mayor Matti Herrera Bower, of Miami Beach to represent the city on the Disability Access Committee for my commitment to training Canine Good Citizen, Therapy and Service dogs and educating families in our community for years. Do you have a disability that requires the help of a dog to mitigate your disability and help you in life? There are several different kinds of service dogs, including guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility dogs, seizure alert/response dogs, psychiatric service dogs (PSD), and autism dogs. There are also other types of dogs with jobs that help people, including therapy dogs and emotional support animals (ESA). Every person and service dog is unique and service dogs are trained specifically to mitigate an individuals disability. Please call if you have a specific disability that a service animal would help mitigate.
We have been awarded Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluators and STAR Puppy Evaluator by the American Kennel Club (AKC). We train dogs for their Canine Good Citizen certification test and evaluate and test them after they have been sufficiently trained. Being a CGC team shows a commitment that you are a responsible pet guardian and that your pet exhibits exceptional manors, behavior and is well trained. You are a community leader and set a wonderful example for dogs and people everywhere by showing what it means to be not just a loving dog guardian but a responsible, knowledgeable, respectful, loving dog guardian. The CGC designation is regarded by most pet professionals as the stepping stone to becoming a Therapy Dog or Service Dog.
If your dog passes, they will receive a CGC Title by the nationally renowned AKC Canine Good Citizen program and be a CGC dog and will be on their way to becoming a Therapy Dog or Service Dog.
American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program
CGC Testing and Dog Training Items:
Before taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. Responsible dog ownership is an integral part of the CGC dog training test whereby owners agree to take care of their dog’s safety, health needs, exercise, training and quality of life. In addition owners show responsibility by doing things such as never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others and cleaning up after their dogs in public places.
Once the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge is signed, owners and their dogs are ready to take the dog training test. Items on the Canine Good Citizen Test include:
Challenge 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
The dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach him/her and speak to the handler in a natural way. Ignoring the dog, the dog trainer / evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner. The dog trainer / evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of shyness or resentment and must not break position or try to approach the dog trainer / evaluator.
Challenge 2: Sitting politely for petting
The dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch him/her while he/she is with their handler. To begin the exercise, the dog must be sitting at the handler’s side then the dog trainer / evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The dog may stand in place as he/she is petted. The handler may talk to their dog throughout the exercise. The dog must not show any resentment or shyness.
Challenge 3: Grooming and appearance
The dog will welcome being examined and groomed and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or a friend, to do so. This challenge also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and sense of responsibility. The dog trainer / evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is groomed and clean. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., clean, healthy, proper weight and alert). The dog handler should supply the brush or comb commonly used on the dog. The dog trainer / evaluator then gently brushes or combs the dog. In a natural manner, the dog trainer / evaluator will gently examine the ears and gently lifts up each foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination and the handler may praise the dog, talk to the dog and give encouragement throughout the test.
Challenge 4: Out for a walk / walking on a loose lead
This challenge demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog’s position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler, changes of direction and is closely responding to the handler’s movements. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog does not need to be perfectly aligned with the handler and does not need to sit when the handler stops. The dog trainer / evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the dog / handler team by issuing instructions or commands. Regardless of the course, there should be a left turn, right turn and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may praise the dog, talk to the dog along the way, or give commands or requests in a normal tone of voice. The handler may also ask the dog to sit at the halts if desired.
Challenge 5: Walking through a crowd with your dog
This challenge demonstrates that the dog is under control in public places can move about politely amongst people and pedestrian traffic. The dog and handler must walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler. There should be no sign of over-exuberance, resentment or shyness. The handler may encourage the dog, talk to the dog or praise the dog throughout the challenge. The dog should not strain on the leash or jump on people.
Challenge 6: Sit, down and stay in place on request
Prior to this test, the dog’s leash is replaced with a 20 – foot lead. The dog must demonstrate that he/she has training, will respond to the handler’s requests to sit, down and stay in the place requested by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must perform sit and down on request, then the stay. The owner chooses the position for the stay. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The dog trainer / evaluator will determine if the dog has responded to the handler’s requests. The handler may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance but may not force the dog into position. When instructed by the dog trainer / evaluator, the handler asks the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the 20 – foot line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the dog trainer / evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. It is acceptable to release the dog from the front or the side.
Challenge 7: The dog coming when called
This challenge demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler shall walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may simply walk away giving no instructions to the dog or choose to tell the dog to “wait” or “stay”.
Challenge 8: Reaction to another dog
This challenge demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of approximately 20 feet, stop, shake hands, chat and then continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in one another or the other human. Neither dog should approach the other dog or its handler.
Challenge 9: Reaction to distractions
This challenge demonstrates the level of confidence the dog has. The dog should be calm at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The dog trainer / evaluator will choose and present two distractions. Examples of distractions may include rolling a crate dolly past the dog, dropping a chair, dropping a cane or crutch or having a jogger run in front of the dog. The dog should not show aggressiveness, bark, panic or try to run away but may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled. The handler may encourage and or praise the dog throughout the exercise or talk to the dog.
Challenge 10: Supervised separation from the handler
This challenge demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person and will maintain dog training and good manners. Dog trainers / evaluators are encouraged to ask something similar to, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take control of the dog’s leash. The owner will then go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in one position but should not continually whine, pace excessively, bark or show anything other than mild agitation or nervousness. Dog trainers / evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive petting, talking, or management attempts.
What dog training leashes, collars, and treats may be used?
For all of the tests the dog/s must be on leash. For collars, special training dog collars such as head halters, pinch collars, choke chains and electronic collars are not permitted in the Miami dog training test. However, rear attaching body harnesses may be used in the dog training test as long as it does not completely restrict the dog’s movement to the degree that could not pull or jump if he/she tried.
Although some non-aversive equipment may be effective and helpful to prevent your dog from pulling, your dog should be trained well enough to behave without any need for such devices.
What should I bring to the test?
Your dog , yourself, the dog’s comb or brush, your leash, collar, water for your dog and a happy, calm energy. The dog trainer / test evaluator will supply the 20 – foot lead for the test.
How may I interact with my dog throughout the test?
You may use encouragement, positive energy and praise throughout the test. Petting the dog between exercises is acceptable however treats, food and toys are not.
What constitutes a dismissal or failure?
No dog or owner is a failure; this just means that you and your best friend need more human and dog training. Any dog that eliminates during the test will be marked as a dismissal/failure. There is one exception to that rule and that is when the dog has supervised separation and it is held outdoors. Any dog that bites, growls, snaps, attacks or attempts to attack another dog or human is not a well-trained dog and will be automatically dismissed/failed.