Last Saturday, I went to a local park to take a walk. The center of the park has a large lake that is surrounded by a sidewalk. The many geese and ducks who live at the lake are people and dog savvy. They know when it’s time to get into the water to avoid a pesky dog or unruly child.
Sunny days bring families who have picnics, children who feed the ducks, and many people who walk around the lake with their dogs. It’s the perfect real-world setting for observing Canine Good Citizen behaviors.
I took my place on a bench and watched about 30 dogs and their owners in the course of an hour. The most common CGC skills (or lack of) that I saw were:
* walks on a leash (many untrained dogs pulled)
* meet a distraction dog (some dogs lunged on the leash)
* meet a friendly stranger (plenty of people ask, “May I pet your dog?”)
* walks through a crowd (passing by small groups of people on the sidewalk)
I never once on that day saw anyone telling their dog to sit, down, come or stay. Although these skills are a part of every well-educated canine’s repertoire, they don’t seem to be used on walks by the average pet dog owner.
What would you identify as important community skills for dogs?