Your dog constantly jumps on you.
He jumps on every visitor.
He jumps on people you meet in public.
He jumps despite you telling him not to. That's just what he does. He's a jumper.
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It doesn't have to be this way, according to Rebecca Bass of the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen program. It's absolutely reasonable to expect your dogs not to jump on you, she said. Likewise, it's reasonable for passersby to expect they won't be jumped on by your dog.
With a little training, this behavior and others like it can be corrected. Just as parents expect their children to develop into good citizens, dog owners can expect their dogs to be good citizens.
"It's part of a dog owner's responsibility to train that dog so the dog is well-behaved when your friends come over," Bass said.
A volunteer instructor with the Beaufort Kennel Club, Bass said dogs who are trained to behave properly are less likely to be given up for adoption.
"The main reason that people surrender a dog to a shelter is for behavioral issues," she said.
She has been teaching obedience classes in the area for about nine years. She is currently teaching a six-week class with Leon Ember. The class is offered by the Beaufort Kennel Club and is held Saturday mornings on the basketball court at Beaufort Academy.
In the class, dogs learn all the basic commands, such as to heel, sit, stay, come and lie down. They also learn how to do an about turn and a figure eight. And they learn an important little command called "leave it," which comes in handy a lot, especially around other dogs.
"When you have a well-trained dog, you can be confident that he or she will behave well around new people, other dogs and children," Bass said.
Dick and Merle Hoagland of Beaufort have put several dogs through the program and have had great success. Two of their dogs have gone on to become therapy dogs. Dick is the director of the local chapter of Therapy Dogs International.
Their newest dog, Gus, is a 4-month-old Leonberger and is enrolled in Bass's class.
"He likes school," Merle said.
The Hoaglands said it's important to train your dogs because you have to be able to control them. Dick said he will probably take the course with Gus one more time for good measure.
"We want to make sure that he is very well-trained," Dick said. "And he's doing very, very well."
After this session of classes, the Canine Good Citizen classes won't be offered again until early 2014.
While some handlers just want their dogs to learn good behavior, others hope the classes will prepare their dogs for therapy work or competition.
In fact, several of the dogs who have gone through the local classes have gone on to become therapy dogs through Therapy Dogs International. Some even participate in a program Bass started in Beaufort called Tail Waggin' Tutors.
"Even if you think you know how to train a dog, there are advantages to taking them to a class because then they have to prove that they can be obedient around other people and other dogs," Bass said. "And that's what makes a dog a Canine Good Citizen is being able to be reliable and well-behaved in society."
Follow reporter Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.