The dogs (and sometimes other animals) you see working in places such as hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and libraries demonstrate calm, gentle behavior toward people and basic good manners in their homes and communities. In order to work as a therapy dog, they are given a thorough health examination every year. Additionally, they must prove their behavior skills and earn their official therapy dog certification by completing the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program and passing a therapy dog evaluation with their handler. Therapy dog evaluations are offered through many organizations such as Therapy Dogs Incorporated, Love on a Leash, Delta Society or Therapy Dogs International, Inc. (TDI).
The basic Canine Good Citizen Program is normally an 8-week class. Since this involves both the handler and the dog, weekly classes for the certificate each week include a brief lesson in responsible dog ownership as well as training for the dog.
Jasper is an official
Canine Good Citizen.
The CGC test can be taken whether or not the dog and handler have participated in a formal class; however, before taking the test, owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. Responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept, and by signing the pledge, owners agree to take care of their dog's health needs, safety, exercise, training, and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others.
Maggie enjoys the book this boy chose today.
After signing the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, owners and their dogs can take the test. The following 10 items will be evaluated:
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
For a detailed description of the above tests, click here.