Tag Archives: Canine Good Citizen

Reading to dogs

Reading to dogs programs, more formally known as animal-assisted reading programs, are on the rise.

In this Boston Globe article, it is reported that one volunteer organisation – Dog B.O.N.E.S. (Dog Building Opportunities for Nurturing and Support) – has certified more than 200 Reading Partner teams.  And that’s working in the state of Massachusetts alone.

In Christchurch, we have a Reading to Dogs program which I wrote about in my column in NZ Dog World magazine (see below).

The big difference is that the Council was so worried about risk that it only accepted temperament testing by the Council’s shelter manager on the pet dogs of the animal control officers before allowing the program to proceed.  Since we have testing such as the Canine Good Citizen test, sponsored by the NZ Kennel Club, I think it’s a shame that volunteers are not resourcing this program.

This would allow the animal control officers to work in enforcement areas that are so badly needed and always under-resourced.

Reading to Dogs

See also Can your dog R.E.A.D?

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Buffy the Three-Legged Pit Bull

Picture by Gracia Lam

Picture by Gracia Lam

Read Buffy’s Story Here (courtesy of The Boston Globe Magazine)

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Bad dog (a love story) – book review

Bad dog a love story cover

This book tells the story of Martin Kihn and his Bernese Mountain Dog, Hola.  Martin (Marty) is an alcoholic who is on the verge of losing his job.  Hola is out of control, having never been trained.  Marty’s wife Gloria leaves him because she needs space away from both of them.

Marty decides to throw himself into obedience training of Hola to get Gloria back and to keep his mind from drinking.  They go into training for the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test.

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it.  I expected a book that was very much a dog story and what I got was a man telling his survival story with a main character being his dog.  I did enjoy how Marty hears Hola talking to him.  When Hola speaks to him, her voice is in italics.  For example, on the spur of the moment Marty decides to drive out and see his wife in the countryside where she is staying:

“Hola,” I say, as we drive the twisting half mile past the ice-cream-and-chicken stand to the house, “what if Mommy doesn’t want to see us.”

She’ll want to see me, she says.  Everybody loves me.

“Don’t count on it, girlfriend.”

Do you think she made crab cakes?

The book also gives some good insights into the Canine Good Citizen test and mentions a number of training techniques.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand