There are many different types of dog obedience training all around the world. In the UK, the largest dog organisation is The Kennel Club. Their training scheme is called the Good Citizen Dog Scheme and they offer 4 levels:
- Puppy Foundation
- Bronze Award
- Silver Award
- Gold Award
Luna joined a local dog obedience training class back in February. She was very anxious about the other dogs being so close so we only joined in on the outskirts of the class until March. This week we managed to pass her Level 1 which is equivalent to the Bronze Award offered by The Kennel Club.
Any dog is eligible to the the Level 1 Bronze test. There are 10 main sections to the test which I will discuss in more detail below.
1) Cleanliness and Identification
- Make sure you always carry some means to pick up your dog’s poop. You are legally required to clean up after your dog and dispose of it appropriately.
- Your dog is legally required to have some form of identification; either inscribed directly onto the collar or on a tag. An example tag can be seen below. The identification should include:
- Your name (NOT your dog’s name)
- Your address
- A phone number (optional, but handy)
- In the UK, your dog is legally required to be microchipped.
2) Collar, Lead and Equipment
You must be able to show that you can put on and take off a suitable collar, harness, lead etc. The collar should be fitted so that once it is on, you can fit two fingers between it and your dog’s neck to make sure it’s not too tight or too loose for your dog.
3) Walk on Lead
Goal: Walk your dog with a loose lead without them getting distracted.
You need to be able to walk 30 steps with a few twists and turns. Your dog should not pull you in any direction just as you should not pull them.
4) Control Going Through a Door or gate
You should be in control of your dog when going through a gate or a door.
To pass this exercise, your dog will need to wait calmly in any position e.g. sit or down. While they are waiting patiently, open the gate and go through. Only once you are through the gate should you call your dog. Then they can walk calmly through the gate and settle back down into a sit or a down. You are then free to close the gate.
5) Controlled Walk amongst people and dogs
When you’re out walking, chances are you’re going to come across people, other dogs as well as distractions. This is an important exercise to keep your dog calm during these situations. You will need to walk around an area with other people and dogs while keeping your dog focused on you.
Your dog must be able to stay in one position for 60 seconds. Put your dog in any position e.g. sit or down, and take a few paces away from them. After 60 seconds you can return to your dog and reward them.
You need to be able to show that you can groom your dog. This can simply be brushing your dog to keep its coat looking good. Your dog needs to stay relaxed and still while you groom them.
8) Examine your dog
This task is especially important to get your dog ready for a trip to the vets. You need to be able to check your dog is healthy by looking at their mouth, teeth, eyes, ears, body, paws and tail. Your dog should be patient and not get stressed by this process.
Goal: Your dog returns to you when you call.
You must be at least 10 steps away from your dog when you call them. They should return straight to you when called and stop just in front of you so that you can pick up their lead from the ground or re-attach it to their collar.
10) Responsibility and care of a dog
For this part of the test, you will need to show that you can answer some basic questions about dog ownership. These may include questions about the needs of your dog, reasons to see a vet (such as when they eat chocolate), and your responsibilities such as microchipping and grooming. More information on this section can be found here.
Hopefully you’ll all be ready to pass your Level 1 Dog Obedience Training in no time and you’ll meet us at Level 2! A great way to train your dog is by using a training clicker to reward good behaviour. Why not purchase one here?