Canine Good Citizens

What Every Italian Greyhound Should  Know

You know the type. The relative or friend with the 100+ pound Rottweiler. Sweet dog, but to a fault. Always in everyone’s face and caused poor old Aunt Edna to break a hip when he jumped on her last spring. If  you’re not careful he’ll eat the food off of your plate as soon as you turn your back. The owners never take him anywhere because the dog insists they go where HE wants to go and, in the ensuing tug‐of‐war, the dog always wins. Not a pretty picture is it? But we don’t have to worry about that, our dogs only weigh on the average, ten pounds. Aunt Edna would never have broken her hip if an Iggy had flown across the yard and  hit her in the back of the knees, would she? Iggies don’t ever jump up on table tops or counters to steal food and would never perch on the back of couch with their nose in a guest’s ear, now would they? The truth is that even small dogs can be annoying or dangerously in the way (where they could be stepped on, burned  by hot food, etc.).

As responsible dog owners we should insure that our dogs are not a nuisance and, for their own safety and as ambassadors of our wonderful breed, should all be able to accomplish the following:

Accept a friendly stranger. An IG should not panic and try to head for the hills just because a stranger approaches. This is especially important if you’re planning to show your dog and also serves well on visits to the veterinarian’s offce.

Sit politely while being petted. No one wants a 10 lb. dynamo on springs leaping into their face when they’re trying to pet it.

Allow itself to be groomed. Yes, IG’s are spit and shine dogs, but we do have to grind those nails frequently and brush their teeth. A little hard to do with a dog that is seemingly all angles and squirming to  boot.

Walk on a loose leash with martingale‐collar, or a specially designed buckle hound collar, with the owner in control at all times. An IG that tugs, pulls and gags at the end of a lead is neither beautiful nor comfortable. Harnesses and Flexi‐leads encourage dogs to pull are a sign of amateur dog ownership and are not allowed in Canine Good Citizens (CGC) testing. Head halters don’t encourage pulling but do not give corrective signals that a dog understands. They aren’t allowed in CGC testing either.

Walk through a crowd. A big plus if you’re going to show your dog. Dog shows, especially indoor shows, can be terribly crowded.

Sit and down on command and stay in those positions. These commands can be lifesavers in an emergency. They can also be useful when company comes over as well as entering the door with a bag of groceries.

Come when called. Another potential lifesaving command. If your dog is about to embark on something which may prove hazardous you can immediately circumvent a problem. One word of caution NEVER punish your dog after it has come to you. Your dog will quickly identify coming when called to being punished and that will be a very diffcult problem to correct.

Behave politely around other dogs. Usually with IG’s this is the other way around, but you also don’t want them to be so petrified of large dogs that they won’t go anywhere near them. This is par important in obedience during those long sits and downs.

React minimally to distractions.  IG’s have a highly developed flight instinct and when there’s danger they take off. An IG should not go sailing off to the horizon just because you dropped the TV Guide never to be seen again.

Allow you to leave its sight (supervised). You should be able to have someone hold your dog without it showing signs of separation anxiety. This ability is very beneficial when you need to run into the store or your IG needs to go to the back room at the vets for x‐rays, etc.

All of these are things that every well socialized canine member of society should be able to accomplish. In fact, they are all facets of the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizenship test. Through teaching your dog these very basic manners, you will help to develop a closer bond between you and your pet and help in promoting responsible dog ownership.