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So I spent this weird snowy/sunny/muddy/sloppy weekend at a herding seminar, and thought this might interest some of you! AKC is one approval vote away from launching a new certificate program, which will give your dog an FDC (suffix) after passing twice.

It will fall under herding events, but it is proposed to be open to all breeds. In a nutshell, it will be "CGC on the farm". Here's the info we got on our handouts, note that this is still preliminary and may be changed -

The Board reviewed a proposed Staff recommendation for a new AKC activity called the Farm Dog Certification (FDC) test. The FDC test has two objectives:
• Promote training and responsible dog ownership for all dogs living in a rural environment.
• Expose a new segment of dog owners to herding events, potentially recruiting new participants.
The FDC test is comprised of 12 pass-fail elements. It may be offered as a class at a herding test or trial. The test is open to all dogs at least nine months of age that are individually registered/listed with the AKC. All clubs currently licensed to hold AKC herding tests/trials will be allowed to hold Farm Dog Certification tests. If a dog passes the test on two occasions, the owner may apply for a FDC suffix title. This will be discussed further at the April Board meeting.
According to the instructor (AKC rep from North Carolina headquarters) the dog will be on leash for the duration of the trial, so there will not be any unreasonable risk to the other animals involved. Potential "obstacles" may be loose-leash navigation around running farm equipment, swinging/clanging metal gates, moving past pens of livestock on a loose leash, navigating stacked bales of hay where one is pushed off, and so on.

I think this is great. It's going to encourage more people to teach their dogs how to be safe around other animals, and best of all, it will hopefully drive up attendance, and increase money, for AKC's herding programs. There's also a possibility of AKC implementing Ranch style trials (like AHBA) in the future, and the program has already been drafted, but first attendance and registrations need to be increased. Neat.
 

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That sounds interesting,practical,and fun
 

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I like this. From the time mine are small I try getting them around all kinds of animals--horses, chickens, etc. as far as equipment, I've exposed them to multiple landscapers working on properties, cutting down trees and a riding lawn mower with great success. Sometimes it's not easy finding these animals or people that will volunteer their animals for this kinda thing. I would participate in this testing.
 

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I like this. From the time mine are small I try getting them around all kinds of animals--horses, chickens, etc. as far as equipment, I've exposed them to multiple landscapers working on properties, cutting down trees and a riding lawn mower with great success. Sometimes it's not easy finding these animals or people that will volunteer their animals for this kinda thing. I would participate in this testing.
Agreed.

They have tentatively said that this testing may also be held at fairground & dog expo events, not just on working farms, which should make it more widely available. The most controversial detail right now is allowing every breed, regardless of instinct/heritage. A few of the people at the seminar initially responded with legit objections ("Why would I let a bird hunting dog around my chickens?" and "You can't be serious, letting a husky around lambs?" etc)., but the AKC rep explained that the dog will have to be on a loose leash for the entire test to continue and qualify. Straining at the leash, bad behavior, will result in the dog being excused, and the dog will be separated from the animals by fencing for the duration.

I hope this moves forward.
 

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It does sound like fun! I'd definitely do it.
 

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If any of you are involved in AKC venues/clubs, maybe spread the word and give it a thumbs-up.

Even if you're not currently in a participating club, you can send an email to AKC (Performance Events) saying you are sincerely interested and would plan to enter & certify your dog(s). :)
 

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A couple weeks ago Robyn came face to face with a horse. She did a double tske and ignored it--I was pretty impressed considering she never seen a horse, much less one that was moving and bring ridden. Midnite was about five feet from sheep and just went into a sit looking at them--he was trying to figure them out. There are lots of chickens around herd do I'm interested in that because one could very well end up in my yard.

Recently I took Apollo to a animal event and he actually did well with bunnies and chickens. Interested but not aggressive.



 

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Can you count all the bunny ears in my kids room. He is nice to the bunny when being supervised. Though I do not trust him. The bunny-snowy- likes him though I do not know why. This bunny is tough. Here is max trying to blend in so I may not notice and lock them in the room together. He looks like a fox in a hen house- so guilty that look.
 

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There was a Farm Dog Certification trial held this weekend at the GSD specialty in Glen Rose, Texas. Four GSDs got their certificates! Sounds like they had a blast. A bunch of show dogs (3 GCh and 1 Ch) just having some fun!
 

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There was a Farm Dog Certification trial held this weekend at the GSD specialty in Glen Rose, Texas. Four GSDs got their certificates! Sounds like they had a blast. A bunch of show dogs (3 GCh and 1 Ch) just having some fun!
Neat! I think last month's (?) GSD Review was the first time I noticed FDC passing dogs listed. Sounds like they officially got the program off the ground.
 

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It's a very cool idea but I wish they'd call it something else. Most farm dogs never even see a leash. Having grown up on a ranch, to me a "farm dog" is an integral part of the work. I would want a "Certified Farm Dog" to be a dog that has shown himself to be capable of handling farm dog work. Maybe "Good Rural Citizen" would be a better term.
 

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It's a very cool idea but I wish they'd call it something else. Most farm dogs never even see a leash. Having grown up on a ranch, to me a "farm dog" is an integral part of the work. I would want a "Certified Farm Dog" to be a dog that has shown himself to be capable of handling farm dog work. Maybe "Good Rural Citizen" would be a better term.
There was a huge, lengthy argument on this point last year when the program was announced (I think it was somewhere on Facebook). A large number of people, especially owners of LGD breeds, basically echoed your sentiments - it could have been more accurately titled "CGCR" (rural), much like the existing "CGCU" (urban). The AKC rep who presented this program to a bunch of us said that the name was originally selected because administration of this certification falls under AKC's Herding program, not AKC's Obedience program (which administers all current types of CGC).

Either way, by any name, I'm happy that this program has forward momentum and I hope a lot of people train and take advantage of it. It's going to raise awareness for good etiquette around farm animals. Threads pop up on here from time to time about horse chasing, chicken chasing, etc. - when more people actively do preventative training against these behaviors, all of us will benefit, IMHO.
 
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