Is Your Chihuahua A Good Citizen?
The Good Citizen Dog Scheme, can chihuahuas take part? There is sometimes a feeling that you don’t need to train a chihuahua because they are small, after all they are only 10 inches high what harm can they do? I think I can admit that, when Mika came to live with us, we might have been guilty of thinking like that.
But the fact is a badly trained dog, however small, is a pain in the butt and it limits their potential as well. There is so much you can’t do together and there is something very satisfying when people complement you on your well behaved chihuahua.
So, we decided to find out more about the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme to see what’s involved.
We all want our chihuahua to be an exemplary dog when out in public, we want them to heed commands and have all the training they need to deal with life as part of our family.
To help dog handlers help their dogs understand everyday situations, the Kennel Club have set up the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme which is now the largest dog training programme in the UK.
What Is The Good Citizen Dog Scheme?
Developed by the Kennel Club, the Good Citizen Dog Scheme is an established dog training programme that is open to all dogs of any fitness level, ability and age. The training programme is available for all dogs, and although run by the Kennel Club, your chi doesn’t have to be Kennel Club registered.
Why Is The Scheme Important?
The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme was developed 25 years ago and caters for all dogs. The training scheme teaches dog owners how to train their dog for everyday situations, to combat the anti-dog feeling in the general public due to bad dog behaviour in public.
While canine sports train dogs in certain ways, there was a growing need for dogs to have training in dealing with normal life and owners need training on the responsibilities that come with owning a dog.
The scheme helps dogs and owners alike understand, be ready and trained for each owner’s personal lifestyle and routine. Your chihuahua will learn important life skills so they can integrate themselves into your family, habits and routine.
How Does It Work?
Over 1800 training clubs and organisations across the country run this scheme. You can sign up for one of the courses at your chosen location, and at the end of the course, you and your chihuahua will be required to complete a short test, which is marked by an independent examiner. If the dog and handler pass, they will be awarded a certificate and can progress to the next course if desired.
How Many Courses Are There?
The Kennel Club currently offer four levels in the Good Citizen Dog Scheme which include;
Puppy Foundation – puppies must be younger than 12 months to participate. This course focuses on a puppy’s progression over time, and there is no set assessment time.
Bronze – gives handlers the core knowledge of understanding and training their pet.
Silver – practical dog training skills and exercises for critical everyday situations.
Gold – Advanced training and a natural progression from the Silver Award.
Each class runs from 45 mins up to an hour, with courses for Puppy Foundation and Bronze Award lasting 6-8 weeks and Silver and Gold Awards taking slightly longer.
Do I Have To Complete All Courses?
Each training provider will assess your chi dog so that you and your pet join the appropriate class for their ability. While some like to start from puppies and work all the way up, some dog handlers like to improve training later on and want the support of other dog handlers and training providers. The training is considered relaxed and informal and is a great way to meet other dog handlers and for your dog to socialise.
What Are The Requirements?
As the Kennel Club accept all dogs of all ages and abilities, the only requirements are that your dog has a legally compliant identification tag and your chihuahua must wear a collar and lead. To join, all puppies must have completed their vaccination programme.
Where Can I Get Started?
You can find your nearest club on this website http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/training/good-citizen-dog-training-scheme/information-for-dog-owners/good-citizen-dog-scheme-training-clubs/.
Chihuahuas are one of the most intelligent of all dog breeds and are highly trainable so they should find this a cinch. Please let us know how you and your chi get on and if you have any words of wisdom for our other chi handlers!
It is defiantly something we are going to look into for Minnie and Mika.