The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme has always interested me, because it is not 'obedience'. Like all good ideas, the Scheme has grown and widened over the years and, certainly, six handlers and dogs from Callander will remember taking and passing their Bronze Level at the Callander World Highland Games, last July.
Robbie (Leebren Rob Roy) and Hovis (Leebren Cinnamon Fizz) both had their Bronze and Silver Good Citizen, Angus (Cavallino Jaeger) had his Bronze and, at the end of June, 2001, my Robbie passed his Gold Level. According to Heidi Lawrence, The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Manager, Robbie is one of the first Cavaliers to pass the Gold.
Last year, Robbie also gained his Road Safety Diploma Silver Medal and Angus (my wee yo-yo) gained his Bronze Medal. Again, this is not 'obedience', but every day control. However, there are always those who see no need for training and cannot see why you do it. "Oh, I don't do 'obedience with my dog, he's a pet." or "I couldn't make my dog do that." is the familiar comment. What they really mean is they can't be bothered. Well, that's their loss, because I have had very practical and beneficial use from my dog training.
At the beginning of January 2002, I slipped on the ice, breaking my right wrist badly. Doing things one-handed has been a challenge and it is amazing how innovative one can be.
But, managing the dogs, - not a problem. 'Come' on command and walk reasonably to heel - fine. Even 'picking up' and tying the bag, with both leads between the knees and the command to 'stand' - fine. Feeding - no problem - with the can on the floor between my feet, pull the ring top. With the command to 'leave' and the can still between my feet on the floor, fork food into the dish, within three inches of both dogs noses. Angus (now 2yrs) and Robbie (now 8yrs) sit and watch, but make no attempt to touch, although the noses are working overtime. Wonderful!
Now Angus has a new job. He helps me change the large duvet cover on my bed by holding the corner indicated and pulling and shaking it, while I do the same. I do it with my good hand, not my teeth. When the 'postie' comes, Angus will help by holding the bottom of the envelope, while I extract the contents. He also helps me take my coat off and is extraordinarily gentle. A Dog for the Disabled? I think so and what a clever wee lad.
Now...... perhaps my little helper could be persuaded to ............ answer the door .............. put the washing on the line ............. make a cup of tea .... feed himself and Robbie ...........
In September 2002, Angus (Cavallino Jaeger) passed his Silver Good Citizen Dog Scheme with Sue Evans from The Kennel Club, as Examiner.
My 'boys' are not show Cavaliers, nor is their standard particularly high in obedience competition. But we do not live for the 'ring', that is for fun and a day out; we live at home, together, and I am very proud of them both.