AKC initiated the CGC program in 1989 “to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community”. Often considered the forerunner of other AKC activities, the CGC test includes 10 skills, some of which include sitting politely for petting, walking on a loose leash, walking through a crowd, coming when called and reaction to an approaching dog. These canine skills also lay the foundation for other sports and activities like obedience, agility, rally, tracking and performance events.
Visit The AKC’s website to learn more about the program: https://www.akc.org/products-services/training-programs/canine-good-citizen/
AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) award can be converted to a title on a dog’s title record as of January 1, 2013. After that date, owners can apply to the AKC with a fee of $20 to include the CGC suffix as a title after the dog’s name. A certificate can be obtained for $10 but the title will then not appear on the dog’s title record.
Obedience training has been the primary performance activity for dogs for more than 50 years. The advantage of choosing to train your dog in obedience, besides providing you with a well-behaved dog, is that you can usually find classes and trials almost anywhere you live.
Obedience trials demonstrate the dog’s ability to work with and for his handler. Many of the exercises reflect origins in tasks useful for working and herding dogs, but Aussies can learn these skills as well as any breed.
Both the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC) offer competition for obedience titles at their shows. Both offer titles for different levels of competition, including (in ascending order of difficulty) a CD (Companion Dog) title; CDX (Companion Dog Excellent); and UD (Utility Dog). Additional titles are offered by both registries for advanced obedience work.
The best way to learn about obedience is to attend an obedience trial and watch.
If you are interested, you can join an all-breed dog club or training club that offers classes. Often such clubs will also offer classes for some or all of the other dog sports, but basic obedience is recommended as a foundation for all of the other activities. If you contact the AKC or the UKC, they can tell you about clubs in your area that offer classes.
More information about Obedience can be found at:
Rally is a new titling activity related to Obedience. It is a “team” sport where the dog and handler act as a team as opposed to the hander giving commands which the dog then obeys. The handler can talk to the dog and encourage the dog throughout the course. Errors which are scored in traditional obedience as 1/2-point errors are ignored in Rally. This is a great way for human/dog teams to enter the world of Obedience.
2005 saw the emergence of a new AKC sport, which is fun for dogs and handlers of all ages. Rally is a brisk paced form of Obedience that requires teamwork and communication between the handler and their dog. The dog heels next to the handlers left side and basic Obedience exercises are performed at stations along a numbered course the course changes each day, somewhat similar to agility.
When you arrive at a Rally competition, you will find a numbered course with signs designating different exercises. All handlers entered in the class are given a 10-minute group walkthrough, before the start of the class, to familiarize themselves with the course. After the walkthrough and briefing, handlers line up with their dogs in catalog order, and then the fun begins. Each dog and handler team performs the course, paying attention to successfully completing each of the exercises along the way. In the event you or your dog make a mistake, you are allowed to repeat the exercise at that station. Scoring is not as strict as traditional obedience and unlimited communication throughout the course is not only allowed, it is encouraged. Aussies love to hear they are simply wonderful, needless to say Aussies respond and excel at Rally.
Rally Novice (RN) is performed completely on leash. Advanced (RA) and Excellent (RE) levels are performed off leash. A perfect score is 100 points, and you need a minimum of 70 points to qualify. Three qualifying scores under two different judges will earn you a Rally Title.
Want more details? Visit the AKC website at: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/sports/how-to-watch-akc-rally/
Therapy Dog is an AKC program which recognizes the necessary therapy work performed by dogs through accepted organizations based on the number of visits.
Therapy work involves volunteers who schedule visits to various facilities and locations such a nursing homes, classrooms, libraries, assisted living centers, hospices, funeral homes, schools, shelters even courtrooms.
Whether they’re working with a child who is learning to read, visiting a patient in a hospital or a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people. A dog can provide a valuable sense of reassurance, joy, or calmness to people experiencing stressful, lonely or depressing situations or general times in their life.
Therapy dogs go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people.
The AKC Therapy Dog™ program awards official AKC titles to dogs who have worked to improve the lives of the people they have visited. AKC Therapy Dog titles can be earned by dogs who have been certified by AKC recognized therapy dog organizations and have performed the required number of visits.
For more information visit: https://www.akc.org/sports/title-recognition-program/therapy-dog-program/