Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New CGCA to upgrade the CGC

In Aug of 2013 the AKC released it's newest test, the CGCA. It's meant as an upgrade to the CGC and tests the dog in more complicated and natural settings.

 Original article

AKC Adds New Advanced Level Community Canine Title To Popular Canine Good Citizen Program

(Wednesday, August 28, 2013)
Giving responsible dog owners a whole new level of achievement for their dogs, the American Kennel Club® (AKC®) has developed a new advanced level title – AKC Community Canine – as part of the Canine Good Citizen® (CGC®) training program. Since 1989, the CGC program has rewarded more than 600,000 dogs and their owners who have passed the test, which recognizes the dogs’ good manners at home and in the community.
With the introduction of AKC Community Canine, the AKC's CGC program now provides a comprehensive three- level training program for you and your dog. Beginning with AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, progressing to Canine Good Citizen and now to AKC Community Canine, the CGC program trains dogs through all stages of life to be well behaved in society.
“AKC Community Canine expands on CGC skills and lays the beginning foundation for obedience, rally and therapy dog work,” Director of the Canine Good Citizen program Mary Burch, PhD, said. “While Canine Good Citizen tests are simulations of real world skills, the goal of AKC Community Canine is to test the dog’s abilities in a natural setting. Rather than the test being administered in a ring, certain elements will involve the dog walking through a real crowd, whether at a dog show or on a busy sidewalk.”
As with CGC, AKC Community Canine requires a 10-step test of skills that dogs must pass to earn the official AKC Community Canine title:
  • Dog sits or lies down and waits under control
  • Walks on a loose leash in a natural situation (not in a ring) and does not pull
  • Walks on a loose leash through a crowd
  • Dog walks past distraction dogs present and does not pull
  • Sit-stay in small group (3 other people with dogs)
  • Dog allows person who is carrying something to approach and pet it
  • Dog walks by food and follows owner instructions, “Leave it”
  • Down or sit stay-distance (owner’s choice)
  • Recall (coming when called) with distractions present
  • Dog will enter/exit a doorway or passageway with owner and remain under control
Eligible dogs for the AKC Community Canine title must have a CGC certificate or title on record at AKC and must have an AKC number (AKC registration number, PAL number, or AKC Canine Partners number). Dogs passing the AKC Community Canine test will earn the “CGCA” (advanced CGC) title.
Instructors can learn more about the program and begin training their students on AKC Community Canine skills by visiting the AKC Community Canine page. AKC Community Canine testing will be administered by approved AKC CGC evaluators nationwide beginning in October.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Seizure Alert Dogs – Helping People With Epilepsy

One of the newer categories of Service Dogs is called a seizure alert dog. These specially trained Service Dogs are becoming more and more popular around the world. The purpose of a seizure alert dog is primarily to help people with epilepsy. They do this either by protecting them, helping them to avoid injury from wandering, or even by going to get help.
It is estimated that 0.6% of the Canadian population has epilepsy while 2.3 million Americans suffer from epileptic seizures. Each seizure can last from a few seconds to a few minutes, and in some cases the person is rendered unconscious. Some people with epilepsy avoid normal activities because they fear what may happen if they have a seizure in public.
Contrary to popular belief, seizure alert dogs cannot be trained to detect oncoming seizures. This is why some trainers refer to these dogs as seizure assist dogs rather than seizure alert dogs. While it is true, some dogs seem to be able to sense their owner's seizures before the onset, it is rare. The reasoning behind this early detection is yet to be determined. Therefore, a seizure alert dog may be useful for a person with epilepsy during or after a seizure and there is no guarantee the dog will alert the person of an oncoming seizure.
For a number of seizure alert dogs, alerting behavior can occur several seconds before a seizure and in some cases as early as 45 minutes or more. Some of the exhibiting behaviors include, close eye contact, circling, pawing and barking. Seizure alert dogs can be trained to stay close to their companions for the duration of the seizure as well as fetch medications, a telephone or a caretaker. Training of these special dogs can take 6 months to 2 years depending on the availability of appropriate dogs and the tasks they are being taught. Due to the intensive level of training required, the cost ranges from $10,000 to $25,000.
In recent years, the seizure-alert dog has gained international media attention which has generated a rise in the number of people wishing to obtain such a dog for themselves or a family member who suffers from uncontrollable seizures. Unfortunately, some of the information has been inaccurate and this has lead to unrealistic expectations of these service dogs. Through factual evidence, about seizure alert dogs prospective owners as well as the general public can be empowered to make reality-based decisions.
If you are anyone you know is interested in finding out more information about the newest category of Service Dogs, contact your local Epilepsy support centre or a Service Dog training facility nearest you. 
Original Post By W. Tuttle
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