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Do Dogs Really Need Initials After Their Name?

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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?

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.

101 comments

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8:23AM PDT on Jun 5, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

4:12PM PDT on Nov 2, 2013

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

11:45PM PDT on Oct 25, 2013

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?

8:49AM PDT on Oct 22, 2013

whatever works

8:23PM PDT on Oct 21, 2013

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.

4:45PM PDT on Oct 20, 2013

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.

4:17AM PDT on Oct 20, 2013

Thank you.

12:42AM PDT on Oct 18, 2013

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.

6:26PM PDT on Oct 17, 2013

the only titles my dogs have are the titles that I have given them. all their names are of royalty. why ? because each of them are rescues that I have adopted from shelters, and now deserve to be treated as royalty :-) they won the best and highest ribbon any dog good ever win - life !!! they survived

5:53AM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

Jan, my dogs and I work TOGETHER every day because it's what we enjoy and share doing TOGETHER. I am as much a participant as my fellas.
If you think that my dogs are only doing what I want, you need only see them once playing to the crowd ~ THEY love the applause and attention and they're proud of their ribbons. I attach them to their collars and they prance around making sure everyone sees and acknowledges them.
We do trials because the DOGS want to ~ when I start packing up the car they go nuts!

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