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This is the new home page for our training test that we have designed in order for students to measure their skills against a modern day test.

About the Canine Companion Club

The Companion Canine Club has been set up by two very experienced Dog Trainers that are members of The Guild of Dog Trainers, namely Martin (Master Dog Trainer) & Kevin Wardle -Rogers (Dog Trainer).

Both having gained knowledge and experience over the years of owning, handling, training, stewarding at Kennel Club Obedience competitions as well as being show managers for Talking Dogs Rally shows they held in West Acre, Norfolk.

The reason for bringing out the Companion Canine Club Award, was purely to produce something that was more measurable and fitting with current day dog owner’s relationships with their dogs, especially considering all we see and hear through various media methods in relationship with incidents relating to dogs and responsible ownership of them.

We have gone to town on our homework and have decided that owners do require a certain level of knowledge on various areas of dog ownership as well as practical training methods available when attempting to train their dog.

For these reasons, we thought a simple multiple-choice test paper would help test the knowledge and understanding gained by simply studying basic dog ownership subjects – to which we have designed an appropriate theory training manual.

This would then be followed by a practical test, to demonstrate the owner and dog’s ability to focus and engage with each other whilst performing some of the basic training exercises as well as introducing some competition style exercises in as a focus point for handlers to continue training for in order to advance their skills and build up a stronger rapport with their dog.

Our Mission Statement

We are dedicated to promoting responsible ownership of dogs and at the same time improving the overall image of the dog within our communities.

In doing so we are advancing public education with regards to care, health, management, control of dogs, law and training of both owners and dogs, not only for the safety of the general public at large, but also for the dogs themselves.

We are concentration on the protection and preservation of public health and a more general protection from the nuisance of dog’s/dog owners by promoting the highest standards of responsible dog ownership within the community.

This is being performed in order to bring together dog owners within a strongly supportive and friendly group in such a way that they can identify with a common purpose.

We are working with other animal welfare and training organisations in order to promote training and welfare strategies and methods that are purely based on humane practices and that are promoted and supported by these organisations.

Our three principle mission goals are therefore:

  • Supporting dogs and their owners
  • Raising training standard overall
  • Encouraging & Promoting dog training

Our Vision

At its core, the Companion Canine Club is an educational group, providing resources that promote understanding in dog training methods that focus on using positive reinforcement. Canine Life and Social Skills is not just about training dogs; it is about training people, too.

Education is essential, as dog behaviour is often misunderstood, and myths have been perpetuated regarding their behaviour. Dogs are not furry little people, and problems can arise when humans apply human characteristics to explain dog behaviour. Dogs should be studied and understood as a distinct species.

The more we understand dogs, the better the relationship we can have with our dog. For instance, most dogs are not behaving “badly” in a dog sense; they are just using normal dog behaviours to get their needs met or to resolve conflict. They use those behaviours because it’s what they know, and in dog culture, they usually work. Dogs do not feel guilty in the human sense of the word since dogs do not think in terms of right and wrong, but in terms of what works and what does not work for them. Dog behaviour is driven by doggy needs, not human emotion or judgments.

Through the Companion Canine Club program, students will find resources for learning about dog behaviour, including locating training professionals dedicated to advocating dog-friendly techniques.

The Companion Canine Club is more than an assessment of real-life skills, to which we feel we have bought up to modern day living standards throughout our training and assessment program. To which we intend to develop in time where training techniques improve, and changes take place.

 Here is an explanation of additional components and objectives through which students and dogs can benefit.

Our Objectives

Promote Positive Reinforcement Training

The Companion Canine Club through its evaluation, curriculum, and training resources, advocates the use of reward-based training. Positive, reward-based training minimizes the use of punishment and is fun for you and your dog! The Companion Canine Club promotes healthy relationship-based training, training in which the communication is two-way, the mutual trust is strong, and the student (i.e. dog owner) gets to know the dog as an individual to help him/her reach his/her potential. It is training that is instructive, telling the dog, without anger or force, what we would like the dog to do.

The human tendency is to notice and react when a dog (or person) is doing something we don’t like. Yet we would have much better relationships if we rewarded the dog (and person!) for doing things we do like. Help set the dog up for success by giving feedback and rewards for behaviour you like, and by arranging the learning environment to make it easy for the dog to do the appropriate behaviour as well as NOT to do the behaviour you dislike.

Positive, reward-based training does not mean that your training is indulgent or without restraint. Clear boundaries and rules still need to be set for our canine companions. For one, dogs feel more secure with clear boundaries, because they know what is expected of them. Two, boundaries are necessary to maintain harmony in the human household. With positive, reward-based training methods, those rules and boundaries can be established without creating a confrontational atmosphere.

Does Positive, Reward-Based Training Work?

Positive reinforcement – rewarding a desired behaviour – is an effective and reliable method of teaching new behaviours or changing current behaviours in any physically and mentally healthy animal. Dogs are most likely to repeat behaviours that get rewarded, which is why positive reinforcement works.

Furthermore, learning occurs readily in a reward-based training program in which the dog feels safe and relaxed. Training that relies on the use of physical and emotional punishment creates stress, hinder the learning process, and can harm the relationship.
Positive reinforcement training is not based on using only food as a reward—it is about understanding the science behind positive reinforcement. It is a simple rule that behaviours resulting in pleasant consequences will be repeated, and behaviours with no payoff will decrease.

Positive consequences can be anything from massages and belly rubs, to going for a walk, to sitting next to you, to playing games. The trainer who understands dogs as individuals with unique personalities, likes, and dislikes, can effectively use a variety of rewards in addition to food in training.

Strengthen Dog/Student Relationships

Another objective of is to strengthen relationships between students and their canine companions. A positive approach develops and safeguards harmonious relationships by maintaining a mutual trust between dog and student. The Companion Canine Club program strengthens relationships through effective communication, understanding, and quality time spent together.

Effective communication is essential to any relationship.

Training is communicating to help a dog learn what we want him to do, not forcing him to do it. Dogs and humans are born speaking different languages. When a dog is brought into a human household, it is up to the human to communicate in a way the dog understands. Similarly, dogs have an expressive and well-developed system of body language for communication. If we expect the dog to listen to us, we should listen to what the dog is telling us.

The dog/student relationship is also strengthened through shared activity. With positive, rewards-based training we spend quality time with the dog, resulting in the dog learning so that he has the social skills to spend more time with people.

Dogs are living, emotional beings who thrive on social interaction; they require human attention to be well-adjusted, not to mention to learn appropriate social behaviour. A dog left out in the yard is not only deprived of required human attention and a sense of belonging, but the skills needed to live with humans, as dogs will do whatever works for them if left to their own devices.

Encouragement of Ongoing Training

With its emphasis on teaching and maintaining reliable life skills as well as opportunities to earn certificates, the Companion Canine Club program supports continual training and encourages owners to engage in more shared activities with their dogs. Dogs are continually learning with every behaviour, so why not use training to be proactive in what your dog does learn?

There are so many reasons to continue training with your dog:

 Training redirects your dog’s natural behaviours to acceptable outlets

  • Training builds your dog’s behavioural repertoire
  • The more acceptable behaviours a dog learns, the less room there is for undesirable behaviours
  • Training is fun
  • Training increases the odds that a dog will stay in the family for his lifetime rather than be given up due to behaviour issues
  • Training makes it possible to engage in many more activities with a well-trained dog, such as:
  • Advanced training classes
  • Dog sports and games
  • Animal-assisted activities (i.e. visit nursing homes)
  • Outings
  • Vacations

Support for Shelters and Rescues

Another component of the Companion Canine Club program is to support training efforts of animal shelters and rescues. The lack of training or improper training is a primary reason for pets being relinquished to a shelter.

Companion Canine Club can be used to promote adoption through training basic life skills, to provide dogs with mental and physical enrichment, to reduce kennel stress and behavioural problems, and to help keep dogs in their homes. Companion Canine Club can also provide a framework for a shelter volunteer program.

The Companion Canine Club web site will feature dogs for adoption that have passed at least one level of the Companion Canine Club assessment, thereby giving adoptable dogs more visibility to potential adopters looking to bring home a new canine friend.

Study Guide for the Student Knowledge Assessment

As stated in the Overview Handbook, all students shall take a short test, the Student Knowledge Assessment, to assess their understanding of dog behaviour and training. Passing the Knowledge Assessment is a requirement to qualify students to start earning Companion Canine Club certificates with their dogs.

The questions in the Student Knowledge Assessment are based on the following information. We recommend that students use this information to prepare for and refer to during the test. This Study Guide is in a question and answer format covering basic dog information that is helpful for every pet owner to know, from Dog Training and Learning, to Communication and Body Language, to Dog Ownership.

The Certificates of Awards

THE TESTS

Theory Test

Candidates require a knowledge to be able to demonstrate a reasonable understanding in the following areas of Responsible Dog Ownership:

  • Current Dog Laws relating to
  1. Microchipping
  2. Identification
  3. Dog Fouling
  4. Dangerous Dogs Act Sections 2/3
  • Countryside Code
  • Highway Code
  • Five Freedoms
  • Basic Training Techniques
  • Basic Health Care for Canines
  • Travelling with Dogs
  • Dogs and Children
  • Dogs and other animals

The Candidate will be required to complete and pass a multiple-choice test paper consisting of 20 questions that are covered in the Knowledge and Responsibility Manuals given to the student upon enrolling onto their training course.

To be successful and warrant a pass the candidate will need to gain a score of 75% (15 correct answers) to be awarded a pass certificate.

On successfully completing the written paper and receiving their certificate the candidate will be able to apply for stage two which is the practical test of basic handling ability.

Stage One is marked by an examiner using the following gradings: –

1  Distinction
An excellent standard of knowledge and understanding was displayed during this test. Scoring a mark of 90% and over

2  Credit 
A high standard of knowledge and understanding was displayed during this test. Scoring a mark of 80 – 89%

3  Pass 
A reasonable standard of knowledge and understanding was displayed during this test. Scoring a mark of 75% – 80%.

UG  Ungraded 
Despite a positive approach to the test the candidate was on this occasion not able to display the knowledge and understanding required to ascertain the required pass mark.

Handling Ability Test

The practical handling test will consist of two types of assessment:

  • The assessor will explain to you what is require with regards to a certain exercise/s and may gain the assistance of a steward to command you through the exercise.

Will be in the format of a pre-set test, whereby the examiner has set up a pre-set test using the exercises described later in this booklet, a course of signed stations dictates what exercise the assessor requires the dog and handler team to perform. The assessor will set a course of no more than 15 exercise stations; therefore, it is advisable for candidates to familiarise themselves with all stations in order to be successful.

Candidates will be allowed a short time in which to comfortably walk the course and the assessor will give them a briefing prior to the course walk.

Stage two is marked by an Assessor using the following overall gradings: –

1     Distinction – An excellent standard of work was displayed during this exercise.
Dog and handler worked in perfect harmony demonstrating a full and clear understanding of the exercise criteria.

2   Credit – A high standard of work was displayed during this exercise.
Dog and handler worked in good harmony demonstrating a good understanding of the exercise criteria.

3   Pass – A reasonable standard of work was displayed during this exercise. Dog and handler worked with minor error being displayed, but demonstrated a moderate understanding of the exercise criteria.

G    Graded – Despite displaying a positive approach and attitude to the exercise and despite the exercise being completed but not to a Grade 3 standard. The handler/dog team did not warrant a TR (Training Required) mark.

However 3 or more G markings will result in the test being marked overall as TR (Training Required) as there was obvious signs that criteria was not being fully met by this team.

This is otherwise a borderline pass.

TR    Training Required – Despite a positive approach to the exercise, it was obvious that the handler/dog were struggling to complete the exercise to a reasonable standard.

Road Proficiency Test

This test will take place in a town/city centre.

The candidate will be assessed on their ability to control and handle their dog in an appropriate and acceptable manner whilst dealing with the following:

  • Using a Zebra crossing, either single or staggered
  • Using a Pelican crossing either single or staggered or crossing the road a traffic light-controlled junction that incorporates a pedestrian crossing.
  • Walking the dog along the pavement with other pedestrian activities and distractions.
  • Cross the road in a normal and safe manner in accordance with the Highway Code Rules for pedestrians.
  • Negotiate bus stops and people waiting for buses
  • Walking by shops
  • Meeting and greet people and other dogs.

We are looking for a well socialised dog that is not afraid of traffic noise or pedestrian activities and movement, and one that is under total control at all times.

At the beginning of the test the assessor will explain the route to be taken by the candidate.

The candidate will also be asked to produce evidence of having the appropriate materials in order to remove their dog’s faeces should the need require. Failure to satisfy the Assessor of these points will deem the dog not acceptable for test.

Stage three is marked by an examiner using the following grading:-

Pass – A reasonable standard of work was displayed during this exercise. Dog and handler worked with minor error being displayed, but demonstrated a moderate understanding of the exercise criteria.

G    Graded – Despite displaying a positive approach and attitude to the exercise and despite the exercise being completed but not to a Pass standard. The handler/dog team did not warrant a TR (Training Required) mark.

However 3 or more G markings will result in the test being marked overall as TR (Training Required) as there was obvious signs that criteria was not being fully met by this team.

This is otherwise a borderline pass.

TR      Training Required – Despite a positive approach to the exercise, it was obvious that the handler/dog were struggling to complete the exercise to a reasonable standard.

 

THIS PROJECT IS STILL IN ITS NURSERY STAGE AT THE MOMENT - MORE WILL BE RELEASE ONCE FINALISED

Please use this form to receive future information when it is released

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