Responsible Dog Ownership

As part of the CGC test, you will be signing a Responsible Dog Ownership Pledge:

  • Responsible for your dog’s health needs

o   Regular veterinary check-ups and vaccines

o   Proper nutrition and clean water

o   Daily exercise

o   Regular bathing and grooming

  • Responsible for your dog’s safety needs

o   Using proper fencing if needed, no free roaming, using a leash in public

o   An identification tag and/or microchip

o   Supervision when children are present with your dog

  • Do not allow your dog to infringe on the rights of others:

o   No free roaming in the neighborhood

o   No nuisance barking in your back yard, in a hotel room, etc.

o   Picking up your dog’s waste in all public places & wilderness areas

  • Responsible for your dog’s quality of life:

o   Basic training is beneficial to all dogs

o   Give your dog your attention and playtime

o   No hours long separation without a dog sitter/walker

o   No hours long crating

o   Owning and caring for a dog is a lifelong commitment


As a therapy dog, your dog has an even stronger bill of rights (with thanks to Ann Howie):

  • Make sure that your dog consents to working as a therapy dog – just because he apparently likes people does not mean he should be exposed to all sorts of people
  • Provide your dog with gentle training to help him understand what he is supposed to do i.e. no forcing your dog to do stuff, no shouting, no aversive stuff. Remember that the public also perceives the kind of dog you have based on the way you treat him. If you treat him with leash pops, terse commands and impatience, the public will think your dog is out of control or even dangerous.
  • Help your dog to adapt to his working environment (hospitals, hospices, schools, nursing homes, etc.
  • Guide clients (patients), staff and visitors to interact with your dog appropriately
  • Focus on your dog as much as you focus on the clients, staff and visitors.
  • Pay attention to your dog’s non-verbal cues
  • Take action to reduce your dog’s stress
  • Support your dog during interactions with the client/patient
  • Protect your dog from overwork
  • Give your dog ways to relax after work sessions
  • Provide a well-rounded life with nutritious food, medical care, physical and intellectual exercise, social time and activities beyond work.
  • Respect your dog’s desire to retire from work when needed.

Tori Peterson