September’s here, and for many of you, that means the kids are headed back to school and the dogs are sitting home moping until the kids get back in the afternoon. Here at DogWatch®, we say why should school be just for kids? There are plenty of great options out there to help your dog further his education, so to speak. Here are some suggestions to get Spot started on his road to scholarship.

Obedience Training

Who wouldn’t want a well-behaved dog? Having a dog that knows and responds to basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “down,” “come,” and “leave it” makes life easier for everyone involved. Starting obedience training with your dog is a great way to bond with him, and will also keep your dog challenged and occupied (and therefore out of the flower beds or cabinets or trash)!

There are plenty of resources available if you’d like to try training your dog yourself. While we don’t advocate one method or book over another, a trip to your local book store or some time spent browsing the Web will yield ample information on training your pup.

The BigLeash S-15 Remote Trainer from DogWatch

Dog training can be easier said than done, however, especially if you have a particularly stubborn or excitable dog. Or, you may just not have the time to devote to the constant reinforcement and corrections needed in training a dog.  If this is the case, we have the perfect solution for you. Many of our DogWatch Hidden Fence dealers are also experienced dog trainers. You can find your local Dealer at

To help you train your dog, we suggest the use of our BigLeash® Remote Trainer [pictured]. This is particularly useful for off-leash training and management, such as in the backyard or at the dog park.  To learn more about remote trainers, visit  Many of our local DogWatch Dealers offer the BigLeash® and can help you learn to use it.  You can locate a local Dealer on the DogWatch website (

Canine Good Citizen® Certification

So your dog already has his undergrad degree in obedience and is looking for something at the graduate level? Then Canine Good Citizen Certification is the program for you! The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program is overseen by the American Kennel Club®, and CGC graduates often go on to become therapy or service dogs. It is important to note that if you would like your dog to become a therapy or service dog, additional training is required; a CGC certificate does not automatically qualify your dog for these roles.

The CGC test comprises 10 elements that must be completed without treat reinforcement, without the dog eliminating during testing (except for element 10), and while the dog is on a loose leash:

1 ) Accepting a friendly stranger: the dog must allow a stranger to approach and interact with the handler, ignoring the dog. The dog must not show signs of resentment or shyness during the exchange, nor break position.

Sitting politely2 ) Sitting politely for petting: the dog must allow a friendly stranger to pet it, either sitting or standing in place during the exercise. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

3 ) Appearance and grooming: the dog must welcome being groomed and examined and allow someone other than the handler to do it.

4 ) Walking on a loose lead: the handler must be in control of the dog and the dog must respond appropriately to the handler’s movements and directions.

5 ) Walking through a crowd: the dog must move politely in pedestrian traffic and remain under control in public places. The dog should not jump on people or strain at the leash.

6 ) Sitting down on command and staying in place: the dog must demonstrate proper training and respond to the handler’s commands.

7 ) Coming when called: the dog must go to the handler when called.

8 ) Reaction to another dog: the dog must behave politely around other dogs. The dog should show no more than casual interest in the other dog, nor should it retreat to its handler.

9 ) Reaction to distraction: the dog must remain confident at all times when faced with common, distracting situations, such as dropping a chair, a jogger running in front of the dog, or the dropping of a crutch or cane. The dog may display interest or curiosity and may appear slightly startled, but should not panic, become aggressive, bark or try to run away.

10 ) Supervised separation: the dog must remain calm and maintain good manners when left by its handler with a trusted person. The dog should not bark, whine, pace unnecessarily, or show more than mild agitation or nervousness.

Think your dog is up to the test? Learn more about it in the ACK’s CGC Participant’s Handbook, and visit their site for information on training and testing near you.

Have you enrolled your dog in a training program, or has your dog earned his/her CGC certification? We’d love to hear your stories and see your pictures! Comment below, or send an email to Happy training!

Image credits (top to bottom):

Dale Leschnitzer via Flickr – image is cropped

DogWatch® Hidden Fences

Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr