Do Dogs Really Need Initials After Their Name?

Today, I added the initials AXJ to my dog’s name. Gina earned a new agility tilte (with a first place ribbon) and is now officially  Georgina AX, AXJ, NF, CGC (Agility Excellent, Agility Excellent Jumper, Novice Fast, Canine Good Citizen). Her name has more initials after it than mine — and most humans I know.

Dog agility is a team sport and Gina is my partner. In a race against the clock, I direct her to run through an obstacle course with tunnels, jumps, weave poles, teeter-tawters, A-frames, and dog walks, all designed to challenge my training skills. I have learned more about dogs and their behavior from agility than anything I have ever read in a book or online. They are constantly watching us and everything about our body language has meaning to them. It still amazes me that moving my foot, hips, or shoulder just an inch or two will make the difference to them of which obstacle to take.

It’s hard to explain to friends why I set my alarm clock for 5 am on weekends to drive hours to an agility trial. Other times, I’m not even sure why I do it. But, this weekend, I remembered. The feeling of running an agility course with Gina – in sync, rhythm, communication, and partnership – is truly unmatchable. I know that I have made her life better because of this sport, and she has truly made me into a better person, one that is always striving to understand dogs and improve their lives. And I take pride in having a dog who is an athlete in great shape. You can watch the JWW (jumpers with weaves) agility video here, and a recent UKI standard run here.

The following explanation is written by Sandra Mowery. She sums up why to title a dog so beautifully.

Next page: Why title a dog?

Why title a dog? by Sandra Mowery

“Not just a brag, not just a stepping stone to a higher title, not just an adjunct to competitive scores, a title is a tribute to the dog that bears it, a way to honor the dog, an ultimate memorial. It will remain in record and in memory for as long as anything in this world can remain. Few humans will do as well or better in that regard.

And though the dog itself doesn’t know or care that its achievements have been noted, a title says many things in the world of humans, where such things count.

A title says your dog was intelligent and adaptable, and good-natured. It says that your dog loved you enough to do the things that please you, however crazy they may have sometimes seemed.

And a title says that you loved your dog, that you loved to spend time with it because it was a good dog, that you believed in it enough to give it yet another chance when it failed, and that, in the end, your faith was justified.

A title proves that your dog inspired you to that special relationship enjoyed by so few; that in a world of disposable creatures, this dog with a title was greatly loved, and loved greatly in return.

And when that dear short life is over, the title remains as a memorial of the finest kind, the best you can give to a deserving friend, volumes of pride in one small set of initials after the name.

A title earned is nothing less than love and respect, given and received, and permanently recorded.”

Have your dogs earned any titles? Feel free to brag and tell us about them in a comment.


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Maggie W.
Maggie W.4 months ago

I think either way is fine. Different strokes for different folks.

Glennis Whitney
Glennis Whitney4 months ago

Interesting article. thank you for caring and sharing.

Carrie-Anne Brown
Carrie-Anne Brownabout a year ago

thanks for sharing :)

Anne F.
Anne F.2 years ago

seems to me that dogs have been bred to interact with human beings - many do enjoy working with their people

heather g.
heather g.2 years ago

Yes, I agree with many of the comments about these awards being much more about the owners' need for attention and behave as if their dogs' achievements are their own achievements. Many parents behave (or misbehave) in the same way when supporting their children in sport.

When did dog walking and running for the ball, games, etc go out of fashion?

Azaima A.
Azaima A.2 years ago

whatever works

Snow Katze
Teri Knack2 years ago

I have two working dogs, a Rottweiler and a Catahoula. They are happiest when they are doing the jobs they were bred for.

My Rottie has confirmation, carting, tracking, herding, rally obedience, obedience and agility titles. He looks forward to getting into the ring and participating. He also helps deliver the local newspaper 3 days a week.

My Catahoula has tracking, herding, baying, lure coursing and rally obedience titles as well.

When I ask them if they are ready to go to work, they head to the front door and wait impatiently as I pack up our gear. I love spending the day/weekend with them and have met many wonderful people and their dogs as well.

To me, the titles, ribbons and metals are just benefits of having fun with my dogs.

GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSheila D.2 years ago

The dogs do these sports to please the owners. The owners and the dogs spend time together, exercise together, hoefully there's mutual love and respect. There are owners who are so competitive that if the dog doesn't perform, there's punishment - usually out of sight of any others. This is what can give a bad rep to any sport, human or animal.

Congrats on the ribbon and it sounds as though you and yours have that mutual respect and love. Always a good thing. The ribbons and letters are nice, but incidental when the love is there.

Tanya W.
Tanya W.2 years ago

Thank you.

Joy T.
Joy T.2 years ago

Who needs titles and ribbons? My dog shows me love in so many ways of it's own choosing. Pfffffff. I'm perfectly happy with kisses! You can keep your titles and ribbons.