Kennel Club Good Citizen Scheme

Effy at a training class
Clever podengos: Luis passes Silver & Tink Bronze

There’s been a lot of press recently about an increase in reported incidents with dogs. On top of this – and quite probably related to it – are reports of many people with no or little experience with dogs who got one during lockdown and are now experiencing various difficulties keeping it. The numbers being abandoned or given to rehoming organisations is also on the increase. Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to be a problem much impacting Podengos and our breeders are very responsible about who they sell to, providing a lot of help and information about the breed. 

The Kennel Club has been very active in responding to this problem and has ramped up its activity around their Good Citizen training scheme. If you follow our Facebook page, you’ll probably have seen that a number of our followers have been involved in this scheme for quite a while. Pictured on the left are Luis and Tink, whose owners have put them through Silver and Bronze level and are now working for their Gold and Silver certificates. 

It's run by the Kennel Club and is open to all dogs. They don’t have to be registered with the KC, they don’t have to be pedigree and – Puppy Foundation excepted - they can be any age. All they need is a handler who’s interested in providing a bit of training and stimulation for their dog. The stated aims of the scheme are to, “…produce happy, contented dogs, which are well behaved, and under the control of handlers who fully understand the responsibilities to their dogs, to their neighbours and to the community.” We fully endorse these objectives and encourage owners to get involved as – even for experienced handlers – it’s a great way to socialise dogs, meet other owners and have some fun with them all. 

There are four levels to the scheme: Puppy Foundation, Bronze, Silver and Gold with each level having its own prescribed exercises and tests. Any dog training club can train towards these standards but only clubs associated with the KC can conduct the tests or Puppy Foundation assessments. Bronze, Silver and Gold tests are judged by an independent KC-approved examiner. 

Puppies need to socialise and learn to play.

Puppy Foundation: is for dogs between eight weeks and one year old, on the day of the test. It includes play as well as basic exercises such as recall, walking and short stay commands. The handler is also given training on basic dog care and owner responsibility. The test itself is the only one that the instructor can conduct themselves, provided the club is KC recognised.

All dogs should be comfortable & relaxed on lead.

Bronze: takes the dog to a basic standard but with an emphasis placed on the handler to handle, care for and generally be responsible for their dog. Amongst the tests are a one minute stay, a recall and proper control at a gate or door. The dog’s lead and collar will be checked, along with the microchip, and there’s a short verbal test for the handler, too.

Food manners is part of Silver.

Silver: builds on Bronze. The test includes a two minute stay, controlled greeting (no jumping up), a road walk and controlled entry to / exit from a car. The dog will also be tempted with a treat in a food manners exercise. The handler again has a verbal test about dog care and responsibility.

Tractor driving isn't covered - good behaviour is!

Gold: is intended to give dog and handler more advanced skills. It introduces new concepts such as sending a dog to bed, relaxed isolation, an emergency stop and heelwork off the lead. The verbal test for the handler is expanded to include subjects like The Country Code and the psychology of learning, particularly learning by habit and the need for consistency.