Good Citizen Dog Scheme Annual Awards

The Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme was set up in 1992 to promote socially acceptable dogs by way of creating responsible dog owners, and is now the largest dog training scheme in the UK.

It provides a quality standard of training for dogs and owners, and incorporates many domestic obedience exercises, with over 600,000 certificates of achievement having being awarded to owners and their dogs who have successfully passed the scheme's tests. There are currently around 1,800 dog training clubs and other organisations around the country actively administering the scheme.


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The categories for this year's GCDS awards are:


Best Listed Status Club Award

Gefion Dog Training Club (GCDS Listed Status)

  • Testing since 2001
  • Runs classes for all 4 Scheme levels
  • In total the Club have awarded 4561 Pass certificates and 793 Not Ready
  • Classes are held weekly at 3 different venues
  • In 2017 the Club held 47 tests and Puppy Assessments including 14 Puppy, 16 Bronze, 11 Silver and 6 Gold
  • The Club has its own demonstration team
  • Members support and host GCDS test at several public events including All About Dogs
  • Several of the Club members visit hospitals and schools with their dogs

In line Dog Training (GCDS Listed Status)

  • Puppy, Bronze, Silver testing
  • Testing since 2011
  • Overall Total 289 Passes 20 Not Ready
  • In 2017 the Club held 13 tests including 8 Puppy courses,  2  Bronze and 3 Silver tests
  • The Club holds various dog related seminars throughout the year including Tracking & Search weekends and KC Rally Days

C.Nuneaton DTC (KC Registered club)

  • The Club has been testing since 1998 and hosts all levels of the Scheme
  • Overall the Club has achieved a total of 2267 Passes 196 Not Ready
  • In 2017 the Club held 13  tests/ puppy assessments  including 8 Puppy,  3 Bronze, 2 Silver and 1 Gold
  • The Clubs hold an annual Companion Dog Show
  • The Club has its own GCDS Demo team which performs at events throughout the year.
  • They provide a full range of training from GCDS to agility
  • The Club has its own award scheme to members recognise members achievements
  • Provide specialist general training days for example Dog Law and first aid
  • They donated £1000 to the mayor’s appeal (supporting the Lymphedema unit at the Mary Ann Evans Hospice).
  • Encourages all the family to become involved
  • Unfortunately, last Christmas thieves broke into the premises and stole 2 trailers holding demonstration equipment which was used to promote the club and dog ownership. The club have really pulled out the stops to generate monies to replace all the stolen equipment plus donating to charity.
  • All new members are provided with an information pack detailing the clubs objectives and details of the KCGS scheme

Warwick DTC (KC registered club)

  • The Club has been testing since 1998
  • Overall the Club has achieved a total of 323 Passes  44 Not Ready
  • In 2017 the Club held 2 Bronze tests.
  • The Club purchased branded poo bags and dispensers and gave these free of charge to members of the Club to encourage responsible dog ownership and picking up after their dog. 
  • The Club are involved with 'DogLott', a joint venture to promote responsible dog ownership in the local community.
  • The Club visited Kings High School in 2017, a local promote dog training and responsible dog ownership.
  • The Club run fun dog shows in the community and help with these, this is all in the volunteer’s spare time. 
  • They hold seminars on various subjects including Dog Law, Dog First Aid and Rally
  • They encourage all family members to weekly training sessions.
  • Have worksheets available for members including ones on crate training, recall training etc. 
  • Send out a monthly email newsletter letting people know what they are planning and news about the Club. 


Best Newcomer Club Award

Nottingham Trent University Canine Centre

  • Approved for Listed Status on 30/01/2017
  • Host of Puppy Foundation Courses , Bronze & Silver test
  • 65 Passes 1 Not Ready
  • In 2017 they held 11 Puppy Foundation Courses, 2 Puppy, 6 Bronze and 3 Silver tests
  • NTU have a Canine Activity Trail - The canine activity trail incorporates fun, fitness and training into your dog walking
  • The host Canine workshops and seminars held canine nutrition to Gundog Training
  • Link to Safe and Sound Scheme as well as Kennel club
  • Companion dog show held
  • Agility classes held
  • They host weekend workshops including heelwork to music golden oldies training day
  • They provide free monthly social walks promoting responsible dog walking with information ibeacons regarding livestock and nesting birds along the route.
  • NTU also have a Canine Centre Open Day

Forpaws & Harmony ltd

  • Approved for Listed Status on 25/01/2017
  • The Club currently run Puppy & Bronze
  • In 2017 they held 7 Puppy Foundation Courses and held 5 Bronze tests culminating in Total 50 Passes 2 Not Ready
  • Hold agility classes
  • The Club also provides a ‘Grumpy Dog Club’ service which is provided by veterinary referral
  • Currently running a silver class
  • The evening talks have included the dog warden regarding responsible dog ownership, a vet on dog first aid and me, how to ensure you have a well behaved dog in public and on dog and child safety.
  • Two of the clubs Bronze award passes were from their ‘Young Handlers’ class, and the handlers were 9 years old!

The Dog Barn

  • Approved for Listed Status12/04/2017
  • The Club host Puppy, Bronze and Silver courses
  • In 2017 the Club held 2 Puppy Foundation, 3 Bronze and 1 Silver test resulting in 47 Passes
  • The Club also hosts K9 Aqua sports and runs classes for Rally, Agility and Flyball


Best KC Registered Breed Club Award

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club Of Great Britain

  • The Club started testing in 1998
  • In 2017 held  2 Bronze Tests
  • To date the Club have awarded 253 Passes and 60
  • Last test held 16/07/2017 , the Club plans to hold tests at their 2018 Fundays around the UK

Tibetan Terrier Breeders and Owners Club and Tibetan Terrier Association

  • The Clubs have been runs testing since 1996
  • Both Clubs run an annual joint fun day and hols annual GCDS Testing sessions for Bronze & Silver
  • Overall they have achieved 228 Passes 68 Not Ready
  • In 2017 at the joint fun day they held 3 tests achieved 9 Bronze and 1 Silver pass, and 4 Not Ready
  • TTBOC holds GCDS Classes at their annual Championship Show
  • In 2017 the TTA introduced awards to recognise TT’s with GCDS Awards

Southern Golden Retriever Society

  • The Club Testing since 1998 and holds all levels
  • In 2017 the Club held 24 tests including 6 Puppy, 8 Bronze, 6 Silver and 4 Gold ,
  • Overall since starting to run GCDS Courses the Club has awarded 3644 Passes and 350 Not Ready
  • The Club has its own Demonstrations that conduct displays at Discover dogs and Crufts, 16 Golden Retrievers are in display team plus a number of reserve dogs and handlers and a  music assistant, This team has been together for over fifteen years also appearing on television
  • The team dogs are also involved in other activities such as the PAT dog scheme, obedience, cynophobia classes (overcoming fear of dogs), gundog work and agility.

Royal Canin Most Inspiring Dog

Nominee 1 – Sandy - Labrador – owned by Val Howe-Johnson, Leicestershire

SANDY the Labrador owned by Val Howe –Johnson. Sandy was terrified of humans but with lots of training and support is now going for Gold!

Sandy is a pale yellow Labrador that was overweight and approx. 3 years old when she was rescued. Sandy would have nothing to do with humans. Her first visit to training classes proved how terrified of humans and dogs she was.

Training starting with gentle short visits to the quietest class for weeks mostly just viewing from under Val’s chair. Gradually Sandy began to sniff dogs but was still very fearful of people, she wouldn’t leave Val at all.

Val was determined to get Sandy over this problem and never wanted to miss a class despite the fact that she was looking after an ill mother. The Club instructor suggested she came to class too, so both Val and her mum and Sandy made the weekly visits to classes. 

After some time Sandy was able to acknowledge one of the trainee instructors whom she eventually established a Bond with.  Eighteen months on and Sandy has made good progress, she has gone on to pass her GCDS Bronze Award and Silver Awards. Sandy is due to take her Gold Test shortly.

Val’s mum who is 92, Val, and a much sleeker Sandy now never miss a class. Sandy can do an out of sight stay and be handled by people. She even makes a beeline for people in the class so that she can be fussed every week.


Nominee 2 - Lazarus - Crossbreed – owned by Lillie Abbott, Staffordshire

Lazarus has overcome so much. When he went to his first training class we couldn’t even get him through the door he was so scared, over a number of weeks we eventually managed to calm him enough that he could go in and look around. With time he grew confident enough that he could start training and went on to pass all of his GCDS awards (quite literally one of the proudest moments of my life each time he overcame his fears and worked his paws off for me).

He tried out for three years to join the gold display team at Crufts but it just wasn’t the right time for him, each time he tried his hardest but he was still too nervous. Lazarus the dog literally scared of his own shadow had grown in confidence through working through his awards enough that Lillie felt he could even just try out, for her it wasn’t about the getting through it was the experience of trying out, the fact that he was up to it, that he had found his confidence enough to go into a room full of strange people and dogs and although he didn’t shine he made Lillie proud as he had given it his all.

Last year age four Lazarus tried out again just for the experience and to help build his confidence .To Lillie’s amazement Lazarus made it through to the arena team,

So Lillie and Lazarus went to the training days and wow what a difference that made. Lazarus a once scared little boy had started to grow in confidence.

When they got to Crufts Lazarus came into his own, no fear just excited to see his friends and wow what a time they had! For the first time in his life he had random fuss from people he didn’t know and positively asked for it. He loved every minute.

The arena demo was phenomenal and from then went on, as part of the team went on to attend the Royal Three Counties show and Discover Dogs. And he has now been selected to back to Crufts 2018, once again as part of the Good Citizen team taking part in the main Genting Arena.

Lillie thinks Lazarus would have never got this far or ever have got over his fears without the Good Citizen Dog Scheme awards. With the training and the understanding that helped to make Lazarus what he is today.

Ha can still be a little timid at first but once he has made friends with you he is truly is a friend for life and takes everything in his stride and is now training to be my assistance dog.

Lillie says her ‘Crufts family have been the most amazing people ever, every single one of them helped Lazarus and me to gain our confidence they are truly all amazing people.


Royal Canin Outstanding Achievement Award – Person Award

Nominee -  1 Fiona Henderson

Fiona is a regular attender at our classes- one of the 1st to get there to set the rooms up, and one of the last to leave, having tidied everything away again. Most weeks, she either takes a class, or mentors a junior instructor whilst they lead part or all of a class. Fiona is quiet and steadfast in her role - there’s never a drama. She allows others to shine, rather than taking the kudos herself. She is very supportive of those around her and is always ready to help. All her instructing has the GCDS at its heart.

Fiona is more than happy to assess dogs and handlers at all levels of the GCDS, having taken her GCDS Examiner Assessment qualifications, and will do this at many other dog training clubs and at Championship Breed Shows. She was thrilled to be asked to examine Bronze at Crufts a couple of years ago.

Fiona’s husband suffered a stroke a few years ago, and required her support - luckily with ongoing rehab, he has made a reasonable recovery. In addition to this, Fiona has supported her ageing Mother, largely at home, over the last 10 years. Her Mum was suffering from dementia and consequently would not allow carers into her home, so Fiona has had to provide her mum’s increasing and ongoing care needs at home. Her Mum died very recently in a care home. Fiona has continued to be a regular attender at dog Club throughout these difficult times.

Fiona regularly trains her own Gold GCDS dog in Competition Obedience. Zak has been extremely ill over the last couple of years having suffered partial paralysis caused by a prolapsed intervertebral disc, and complicated by extreme autoimmune disease - he nearly lost his life. Despite this - she still continued to help others with their own dogs.  She regularly competes and judges at Companion, Open and Championship Obedience Shows, and has been invited to judge a heat of ‘Obreedience’ this year.

If that wasn’t enough, Fiona has organised regular instructor training at the club over the last 7 years or so - ensuring there is enough money raised through booking good external speakers, so that all our instructors get the opportunity to attend free, up to date, high quality training courses 2 or 3 times a year. There has also been enough money in the pot to send Instructors on other external courses, to learn things that would benefit both them as individuals and the club as a whole. Fiona believes that we cannot give our best to others and their dogs, without the right tools to do so. We are well blessed with instructors at the club and it’s partly through the opportunities for their continual professional development that is offered at the club.

Fiona is an unsung hero. She never blows her own trumpet. She always congratulates others for even the smallest of achievements. She shows concern for others and offers support when needed.


Nominee 2 - Jan Stonehouse

Jan Stonehouse has been a part of Rugby's GCDS section since 1997. All her own dogs have taken part and achieved in the standards required. She was in the Silver Display team at Crufts in 2003. After recovering from a serious operation she became part of our instructors' team and worked hard. Prior to taking her Examiner's tests two of us watched her instructing the class. She readily accepted suggestions to improve her technique. When our co-ordinator became ill and died, Jan stepped up and now plays a vital role in encouraging members to take part in the scheme, with good success. All this is done in a very gentle but thorough way and making certain that everything is in place for the start of each course showing that she is an excellent promoter of the scheme


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Related Topics

Good Citizen Dog Scheme GCDS Annual Awards
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