Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol - East Bay Regional Park District

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Companion Dog Certification Requirements

CDP "teams" (consisting of CDP members and their Companion Dogs) must meet certification requirements. The CDP has these requirements because

(We are occasionally asked about other jobs for which dogs can be trained and certified.)

Demonstrating confidence and control, the Companion Dog must pass the following test annually. This test, an extended version of the test in the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program, involves the dog, its handler, and a certified evaluator.

1: Accepting a Friendly Stranger

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.

2: Sitting Politely for Petting

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. While the dog is sitting at the handler's side, the evaluator pets the dog on head and body only, then circles the dog and handler, completing the test. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

3: Appearance and Grooming

This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined, and will permit a stranger such as a veterinarian, groomer, or friend of the owner to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog, then combs or brushes the dog and lightly examines the ears and each front foot.

4: Out for a Walk (walking on a loose leash)

This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler, whichever the handler prefers. There must be a left turn, a right turn and an about turn, with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops.

5: Walking Through a Crowd

This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers without appearing over-exuberant, shy, or resentful. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not be straining at the leash.

6: Sit and Down on Command / Stay in Place

This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's command to "sit" and "down", and will remain in place as commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to make the dog sit and then down. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of a 20-foot line. The dog must remain in place, but may change positions.

7: Coming When Called

This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and will call the dog. The handler may use body language and encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog as the evaluator provides mild distractions (e.g. petting).

8: Reaction to Another Dog

This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 10 yards, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 5 yards. The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each other.

9: Reactions to Distractions

This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations, such as the dropping of a large book or a jogger running in front of the dog. The dog may express a natural interest and curiosity and may appear slightly startled, but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark.

10: Supervised Separation

This test demonstrates that a dog can be left alone if necessary and will maintain its training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and a person will hold the leash of the dog. The dog will be held for three minutes and does not have to stay in position, but should not continually bark, whine, howl, pace unnecessarily, or show anything other than mild agitation or nervousness.

11: Interaction With Parkland Animals

This test demonstrates that the dog is under control and will not react adversely to other animals encountered in the parklands. For the purposes of this test, the animal used will be horses from the Volunteer Mounted Patrol. The handler and dog will walk toward the horse and rider, stopping close to them to exchange pleasantries, and then continue on for about 5 yards. Additionally, the entire group of dog/handlers and horse/rider teams will join in close proximity and mill about. Only casual interest should be demonstrated by the dog.

Note: This discipline should also be a goal of the handler while in the parklands regarding cattle, deer, goats, ground squirrels, and other parkland wildlife.

12: Reactions to Emergency Vehicles

This test demonstrates that the dog will remain under control when placed in close quarters with emergency vehicles as may be encountered on trails. The dog will be in position along a trail while an emergency vehicle goes by with all lights, sirens, etc. are in operation and at a relatively fast rate of speed. This will be followed by the emergency vehicle being parked, with lights and engine running, in position effectively blocking the trail. A "victim" will be on the ground being attended to as the dog and handler walk by and ask if they may be of assistance in any way. The dog must not shy in any manner and be under control at all times.

Steps Beyond These Requirements

CDP member:

It is essential that your dog be your first concern while on patrol. Whether on or off leash, your dog must be under control at all times and you must obey Ordinance 38.

Remember, your dog is the role model for all dogs in the parklands while you are on patrol. Be alert and walk with pride!

October 2014

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