tampabay.com

Much-maligned mutts put to test

By SANDEE DAVIES, Times staff writer
Published August 3, 2007


The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Tampa Bay kicks off the first Canine Good Citizen test from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the shelter, 9099 130th Ave. N, Largo. This event is specifically for pit bulls and pit bull mixes.

Pit bullterriers are a misunderstood breed, but for responsible owners who understand their working breed nature, they can be affectionate, loving and loyal.

The American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Program started in 1989 and is designed to reward dogs that have good manners at home and in the community. The two-part program stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs that pass the 10-step CGC test receive a certificate from the AKC.

Many dog owners choose the program as the first step in training their dogs, and it lays the foundation for other activities such as obedience, agility, tracking and performance events.

The 10 areas of testing include: accepting a friendly stranger; sitting politely for petting; appearance, and dog permits grooming; out for a walk (walking on a loose lead); walking through a crowd; sit and down on command, and staying in place; coming when called; reaction to another dog; reaction to distraction; and supervised separation. All tests must be performed on a leash.

For dogs that cannot pass all the tests, training is available through the SPCA for nominal fees.

For details on the program, visit www.akc.org/events/cgc/index.cfm.

The SPCA is working in conjunction with the Animal Farm Foundation, a New York-based organization that aims to change the perception of pit bullterriers. For every certified pit bullterrier or pit bullterrier mix, the Animal Farm Foundation will give a $150 donation to the SPCA's homeless pets.

Interested pet owners must schedule an appointment for their Canine Good Citizen test by logging on to www.SPCATampaBay.org or calling 586-3591, ext. 167.

There will be a $10 testing fee.