achieved his Canine Good Citizen award when he was one year old,
and he received a certificate for Recreational Agility Class
the following year. (He does not think highly of being off the
ground, and he puts
all four feet down to protest!) When he turned four, Alex earned
his Companion Dog title with scores of 186, 179 and 186. Two
years later, Alex received his Therapy Dog certification from
Happy Tales Humane/Smile
Program sponsored through the Delta Society.
He is certified for complex situations, which means he can handle
unpredictable events. We often visit a nursing home where the residents
are happy to see him. He particularly enjoys giving hugs to those
who want one. The Activity
observed that Alex doesn’t mind getting close to the patients,
whereas some dogs are uncomfortable with this.
along the way Alex has
learned a few tricks. He will shake hands, give a wave or high-five,
bow, play patty-cake,
play dead, and best of all, he gives those great big hugs! Sometimes
his tricks can backfire, though. Once, we had entered an Obedience
Trial and Alex was doing pretty well – until the recall, that
is. He approached me with good speed and then he sat, but he
The rule is that if you can still touch your dog, he can
pass that part, so the judge told me to reach out and touch
the dog. I started
my reach and Alex threw his big paw up in the air for a handshake,
giving me a high-five. The crowd got a big kick out of his stunt.
Unfortunately, we were disqualified when
up from the sit, but it remains a sweet memory.
Another sweet memory involves a deaf
Great Dane. One of the MAGDRL rescue
ladies, Kathie, was fostering a deaf female, which she had with
her at the MAGDRL rescue booth. We were walking out together
and planning to take
The deaf female didn't know anything about stairs, so she
was afraid of them. Alex and I climbed up midway to show
her what to do,
while Kathie tried to coax her along.
down and he came back up. I remember that he then went
back down on his own, walked over and nuzzled her, and tried
to show her the stairs one more time.
She was still frightened, so we
the stairs for another day and walked out a different way.
very blessed to have Alex as a companion and I am sure you can
tell how much I love him. He was born with such a wonderful
temperament! People often comment
well-behaved he is, and that makes me proud. But it is important
to realize that it takes MORE than a great temperament to make
a great dog. I would encourage everyone to take the time to
work closely with their pet, especially when he or she is a
puppy. It's important to bond with your dog, socialize him,
and teach him how to be a good family member. Obedience training
to start. There are many other activities that can help challenge
and stimulate your dog to be the best he can be. Enrolling in
a Canine Good Citizen's, Companion, or Therapy Dog program can
help you bond with your dog as he learns impeccable manners.
Performance sports such as Agility, Fly Ball,
Tracking can be stimulating and fun for both of you, and help
your dog become more physically fit.
The extra time and energy we devote to
teaching our dogs to be good citizens – both in the home
and outside the
home – is amply rewarded by our dogs themselves. They
are a pleasure to live with. They provide unwavering loyalty, affection,
and companionship. They enrich our lives."