All of us at Anchor Animal Hospital are so proud of our hospital mascot Angus for earning the Canine Good Citizen® title from the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program launched back in 1989 and was designed to be an award program for dogs who display good manners out in the community and at home. It is a two-part program that promotes responsible pet ownership for humans and good behavior for dogs. A 10-step CGC test is given and all dogs who pass may receive an AKC certificate.
How Angus Achieved His Title
Angus started his journey to good behavior after taking classes and undergoing obedience training from Marcia Albert at Many Paws Pet Villa, located in Westport, Massachusetts. As the nine year-old Labrador Retriever learned basic skills, such as agility, tracking, obedience and performance, his trainer saw that he was ready to undergo testing through the AKC.
As a mascot for Anchor Animal Hospital, Angus goes to work with Dr. Pietsch each morning and spends much of his day greeting clients and patients at the front desk. If he takes a day off, people frequently ask where he is. His good behavior and friendly personality has made him quite popular. Dr. Pietsch says that Angus has been very helpful as a model to help demonstrate certain techniques or procedures to clients.
Angus also enjoys showing off with a display of a sport that he invented, which is known around the office as “chair surfing.” It’s a great way to get attention (and cookies) from his favorite clients. His skills involve putting his front legs on the office chair and then rolling it about until he ends up (you guessed it!) in front of the cookie jar, hoping for a treat.
Despite his love of cookies, Angus is still the perfect example of a healthy pet at a proper weight. Angus even helps the staff show clients how to properly administer medication, use tooth brushing techniques and lots of other helpful visual demonstrations. He is very laid back, easy to work with and enjoys the extra attention.
A Rocky Start
You might think that because Angus lives with Dr. Pietsch, his wife, four cats and three horses, that he must have always lived a charmed life. But the truth is that Angus, like many other dogs, didn’t start off in a perfect home and environment. In fact, Dr. Pietsch is Angus’ third owner. Dr. Kate adopted Angus when she was in veterinary school. He was abandoned when he was a year old at the school while she was there taking her studies.
Because of his rocky start, Angus has a mild case of separation anxiety. Whenever Dr. Pietsch has to go out of town he turns into “velcro dog” and clings to the doctor’s wife and daughter. But Angus won over Dr. Pietsch on his own merits. It was his personality, sensitivity and ability to evaluate atypical situations that impressed him so much.
Once, when the doctor was injured, the family brought Angus to see him while he was rehabilitating. Angus appeared to understand that he needed to be careful with Dr. Pietsch and became very gentle and cautious when he was around him. The doctor believes that this wasn’t fear, but understanding on Angus’ part, which endeared the dog to him even more.
In addition to receiving the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen® title, Angus has also received advanced obedience training with Dr. Pietsch. Last year he attended Nose Work class, which teaches dogs how to use their noses to search out hidden targets. This is the type of training that professionals use to teach police, security and military dogs how to find explosives or drugs.
Friends of Angus don’t need to worry, he’s not shipping off to Afghanistan anytime soon. Dr. Pietsch and Angus took the class just for fun to see how sharp Angus’ skills were. The training involved finding a reward that was hidden by the trainers among boxes and other items that were placed in a large room.
According to the doctor, Angus found this part of the training to be lots of fun. Angus became very alert and excited as soon as he entered the large room for testing. If you’ve been paying attention to his story, you might have already guessed that the reward was a cookie.
In fact, Angus has also done some agility training. He was able to jump through hoops and jump over obstacles and stationary jumps with great skill. Of course when the reward is lots of attention from Dr. Pietsch and his trainer (and a cookie), Angus will always be on board.
About AKC’s Canine Good Citizen® Program
Training is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Most dogs enjoy learning and appreciate spending more time with an owner who provides exercise, intellectual stimulation and obedience training education. Many owners are seeing the CGC program as the first step toward increasing their dog’s training and skills.
There are many benefits to participating in this program that go beyond basic certification and testing. Police and animal control agencies use the CGC program to help educate citizens about dog problems in communities and CGC has even been used as a partial screening tool for therapy dogs. The American Kennel Club announced that as of January 1, 2013, Canine Good Citizen® became an official AKC title. It can now be added to the title records of dogs that are listed or registered with the AKC as an official title. We are so proud of Angus for joining this elite club of well-behaved, well-trained dogs.
About Anchor Animal Hospital
Anchor Animal Hospital provides high quality veterinary care for patients in the Southcoast of Massachusetts and Eastern Rhode Island. The veterinary hospital cares for a wide range of pets including amphibians and reptiles, cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, rodents, ferrets and pocket pets. Anchor Animal Hospital has been accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) since 1980 and provides high level medicine, routine preventative care, surgery and alternative veterinary treatments. If you would like to meet Angus or need veterinary care for your animal friend, visit Dr. Pietsch and his staff at Anchor Animal Hospital in North Dartmouth.