Dogs that jump up on strangers, steal food off the table, bark incessantly, annoy neighbors? These dogs are suffering from a lack of manners. Of course, it’s our duty to teach them proper behavior. And that is the basis for the Canine Good Citizen program.

My dog Kelly isn’t perfect. Sometimes I let her get away with things just because she’s cute. But I do expect her to obey basic commands and behave politely in public. We practice heeling nicely down the sidewalk, sitting calmly for food, and trying not to attack the mailman. She needs improvement in getting along with other dogs, though.

In addition to basic commands such as sit, stay, and come, here’s what your dog needs to know to become a Canine Good Citizen.

1. Behave politely around people. Allow a friendly stranger to approach. When your dog is being petted, he shouldn’t spin around like a top, but he shouldn’t shy away either.
2. Behave politely around other dogs. Your dog should never show signs of aggression. It’s acceptable to show interest in the other dog as long as she remains in control. 3. Cooperate for veterinary examinations and grooming. It’s not easy to be poked and prodded, but no nipping!
4. Walk on a leash without tugging or pulling ahead like a Greyhound at the races. He will not have to heel perfectly, just walk with you evenly. 5. Remain calm when she is left with someone else and you are out of sight. We know she loves you. But she should be able to separate from you for a short time. Could Kelly pass the good citizen test? I think she still needs a little work. But we’re practicing. For more information, visit appeared in, March 2009