How to Ensure Your Dog Is a Good Neighbor

Posted by on Mar 4, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

A dog (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Blenheim-coloured) lying in the grass.

Mastering a few basic commands and behaviors will make your dog a welcome sight on your block.

There’s nothing worse than living next door to an incessant barker or a dog who jumps on people without invitation. It’s important to ensure your dog is not that dog.

The American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program is recognized as the gold standard in good dog behavior. If your dog has already had some basic training, sign your pooch up for this 10-step program so he can officially earn the letters CGC behind his name.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Canine Good Citizen certification is not only for purebreds and show dogs. Any dog and any pet parent can apply for this certification because the program focuses on recognizing well-mannered dogs and responsible pet parents. It signifies that a dog is well socialized around both people and other dogs.

And, despite the saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, there are no age limitations for your dog to apply for CGC. But if you have a youngster, the AKC’s recently introduced S.T.A.R. (Socialization, Training, Activity, Responsibility) Puppy program will give your new pal a nice certificate to frame, and you can brag about his basic training and socialization skills.

How to sign up

If your dog is currently working with a trainer, ask about this certification, as many trainers are CGC certified. For example, many of the trainers associated with the Bark Busters, a national organization that offers at-home dog training, are certified and can put your pooch through the paces.

The AKC website also details groups in various states that offer CGC certification.

It’s important to remember that dogs are very social creatures, and they love to learn. So consider taking your pooch to a training class as a fun way to offer them great mental and physical stimulation.

The training program

To earn CGC certification, dogs must properly respond to a variety of commands and behaviors. Here are some of the skills they’ll learn in CGC training — or through your patient instruction — that will help them charm everyone they meet.

  • Sitting politely for petting. Your dog should be able to tolerate being petted by a friendly stranger when he’s out and about with you.
  • Going out for a walk. Teach your dog to walk comfortably on a loose lead.
  • Walking through a crowd. To pass this test, your dog should be able to move about politely in pedestrian traffic, and stay under control in public places.
  • Performing “sit” and “down” on command, and staying in place. These basic abilities come in handy in many situations.
  • Coming when called. Chasing your dog around your neighbor’s yard isn’t how you make a good impression.
  • Behaving politely around other dogs. To pass this test in CGC training, dogs must be well behaved when two owners/handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries.

The owner’s pledge

It’s not all about the dog, however. The pet parent has to “own” responsibility for their furry family member. Owners should always:

  • Properly control their dog by providing fencing where appropriate, not letting the dog run loose, and using a leash in public.
  • Ensure the dog doesn’t infringe on the rights of others, run loose in the neighborhood, or create a nuisance to others by barking while in the yard.
  • Pick up and properly dispose of the dog’s waste in all public areas, such as on sidewalks and in parks.

Extra steps

Dogs often get into trouble and bark when left alone because they’re bored — and possibly also suffering from separation anxiety. Make sure your dog has some toys and puzzle games to keep him busy while you’re away.

And if you think he is suffering from anxiety, be sure to discuss the situation with your veterinarian. There are many over-the-counter calmatives and products that can help.

Finally, if you live next door to an incessant barker, consider investing in an ultrasonic bark control device. These devices can be mounted onto a fence or wall or even hung from a tree. When a dog barks, it emits a harmless ultrasonic sound, inaudible to humans but unpleasant to dogs. These devices, which work within a 50-foot range, “turn them off” from barking.

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