A Canine Good Citizen: A Personal Journey
Everyone wants their dog to be considered a good canine, right? Everyone wants their dog to be trained well and feel confident in their relationship with their pup.
Well, I wanted the best for my dog, and so when my friend and mentor Kelly Citrin told me about the Good Canine Citizen Test, I knew that I was going to pursue it. I was told that 4 On the Floor has a whole class to prepare for this test.
Once I signed up, I was thrilled to get started in the class and start learning. Through this class, my bond with my dog grew. As we went through the lessons, I learned my dog's strengths and weaknesses.
On the other hand, I recognized that he struggled being apart from me because, up until then, he never had to be apart from me. I brought my dog with me to work, I lived with him at home, and I kept him with me by my side. He had not learned how to be away from me.
Class helped me learn how to train him to manage his separation anxiety. I began to practice outside of class. I worked on being away from him, having other people hold him as I walked away, and slowly I saw improvement.
I was confident on test day. We arrived at the test site and were greeted by friends from 4 on the Floor. When they called our name, we entered the room nervous but ready with the skills we had learned. For my dog, as well as many, the testing room is distracting, a new space with new people. As the test started, I was so proud of how far we had come, we were getting through the test elements with flying colors.
Then, came the supervised separation, our biggest challenge. The instant I walked toward the door then touched the handle to leave for the separation component, my dog began screaming and crying. That day, we did not pass.
I was frustrated, we had excelled on many elements of the test, but still couldn’t walk away with the ribbon. As we walked away, I knew that we still learned from the experience. My dog was still young and there was still time to learn more.
We registered and attended class again, reinforcing the skills we practiced. We continued to work on separation, and again it did improve one day at a time.
When I took the test again, unfortunately, we did not pass due to different reasons. Having failed this second time, I felt defeated and was ready to give up. I loved my dog, and knew he was a good boy, but thought perhaps this wasn’t possible.
4 on the Floor Dog Training believed in me and my dog. They told me that he had the skills and practice to be a Canine Good Citizen.
Reluctantly, I agreed. We tested one final time, and on December 4, 2022 I can proudly say my dog is a Canine Good Citizen.
It was the support of Kelly and 4 On the Floor that helped us succeed. There is nobody else I trust more with my dog, than Kelly Citrin, and her team.