The kennel club bronze award is part of a national scheme which Stan and I have been working towards for the last few weeks with regular training sessions and lots of practice at home and on the park.
The kennel club says, “The kennel club good citizen dog scheme bronze award aims to produce a dog that will walk and behave in a controlled manner on the lead, will stay in one position on command, will allow it’s owner to clean, groom and inspect it. The dog must also be able to be positioned by it’s handler for inspection ….The dog must come to hand when called.”
When we first read the statement above I admit I thought, “Oh that’s ok then – it will be easy.” !!!”**&*!! It was far from easy and weeks of preparation were needed. On the night of the assessment there were five dogs from Stan’s training class ready and waiting to be assessed and the atmosphere was tense as all the owners wanted to be able to show that their dog could do everything required.
We began with demonstrating that our dogs could enter and leave a building in a controlled manner. To test this each dog in turn was led up to the door way and told to sit. The handler then opened the door and stepped through while the dog remained sitting. When the handler was happy for them to follow the dog was called through the door and to heel. The dog was then told to sit again while the door was closed. The process was then repeated with the handler coming back into the room and asking the dog to follow and come back to heel. While doing this exercise the examiner also wanted to see all the dogs walk the length of the hall to reach the door on a slack lead and in a controlled manner. We also did a turn as we walked over to the door to show the dogs could remain at our side on a slack lead when we changed direction.
Once this first test was done we all took places around the room and the assessor came to each of us in turn to check we could groom our dogs and examine them all over without any problems. We had to look in their ears, at their feet, teeth and brush all over them while the examiner was close to us. We also had to show we had poo bags as all responsible owners are able to clean up after their dogs and our dog’s ID tags were checked. During this part of the assessment we had to remove the dog’s collar and lead while still maintaining control over the dog and then replace it with no problems.
It took a while for the examiner to move around all the dogs checking these things and they began to get a bit restless so it was good when we moved on to the next stage which meant we could get up and move around. Each of the dogs had to walk at heel around the other dogs who were asked to sit or lie down in a circle. The dog walking around had to stay with it’s handler, walking on a slack lead, and not be distracted too much by the other dogs and those sitting or lying had to remain with their owners. We filmed Stan doing this.
We also all had to do a recall with our dogs where we left them in a sit at one end of the hall and then called them to us. They had to come directly to us ignoring the other people and dogs. We filmed Tilly doing this. (Tilly is a rescue dog just like Stan and her owners found her at Border Collie Rescue)
Then the most challenging bit! The dogs were timed in a sit stay or a down stay. For the bronze award they only had to keep in position for 1 min but it really seemed much longer and most of them had to start again and one dog really struggled before doing it with style and staying down much longer than the 60 seconds. This is really hard when there are lots of distractions and the atmosphere is tense so well done to all the dogs who got through it in the end!
In the end all the dogs in the class passed and their owners were all extremely proud of them.
Monty also passed but had to leave before the photos – well done everyone!