Advanced Training: Fun for Dog and Family

In my last post I wrote about puppy socialization and basic dog obedience training. While the fundamentals are necessary, some dog owners and dogs may have extraordinary talents that can be fostered through advanced training. The type of advanced training may depend on you and your dogs’ personalities.

A puppy and her owner who have successfully completed the STAR final examination can move up and participate in the Canine Good Citizen Program. A Canine Good Citizen has passed a ten-point test on such behaviors as meeting strangers, walking in a crowd and coming when called. Once your dog has completed obedience training, you may want to move on to advanced training opportunities such as high level obedience training, pet therapy or agility competitions.

Dixie in agility competition

If you have a sociable mush of a dog, additional training as a therapy dog might fit his personality. Therapy Dogs International uses the Canine Good Citizen training as a key component of their evaluation of potential therapy dogs. The Delta Society Pet Partners offers courses and registers dogs and other companion animals as pet partners. Once you and your dog are certified as a therapy team, you can work with organizations such as Angels on a Leash, the AMC’s partner in providing pet therapy in New York City.

Dixie wins a blue ribbon

If you have a smart, energetic dog, agility training might be for you. If you are not sure what agility dogs do check out these great videos of dogs enthusiastically running, jumping and tunneling. All members of the family can be involved in agility training and any breed or mix is welcome to join. The United States Dog Agility Association is a 25,000-member organization for dog agility certification. Another organization for those interested in agility is the North American Dog Agility Council. Both groups sponsor training and competitions.

Advanced obedience training expands on sit, come and stay commands, challenging both the human and the dog. Getting your dog to follow commands when she is off leash, 50 feet away and without verbal cues may be easy in your local park, but in a bustling, noisy competition field for advanced obedience, you and your dog need laser focus to successfully compete.

While researching this blog, I also found information on courtroom dogs, terrier trials and herding competitions.

Seems to me there are as many creative and fun opportunities for dogs as there are types of dogs. Take advantage of them! Your dog will thank you.

Photos: Courtesy of Dixie’s family

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This may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog on WebMD.com.

For over a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.

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