Special offer

Canine Good Citizen Certification & German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams

My husband & I have volunteered for Southeast German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue(GSP) for the past 6.5 years.  We started by signing up as a foster family, and received our first foster dog a few weeks after becoming volunteers.  We had Sadie, our first German Shorthaired Pointer foster, for a little over a month before finding her forever family.  We then proceeded with our next foster, and next foster, and next foster until we became “foster failures.”  A foster failure is a person/family who volunteers as a foster with any rescue, who ends up adopting one of their foster dogs.  It’s a tongue-in-cheek term for failing to place your foster dog because you kept him/her.Kota

Our 7th foster dog, Kota, came to our rescue from a breeder who was not providing adequate living conditions in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  The authorities seized all of the dogs & rescues got involved to place them in foster homes.  Kota traveled to Southeast GSP Rescue as a one year old puppy.  Once he arrived at our house, he made it clear he was keeping us, and we adopted him.

His demeanor is unlike a lot of GSPs.  He can be very rambunctious and wild at times like a typical GSP, but then in the next second be calm, quiet, and relaxing.  His affinity for human touch is evident when you first meet him.  He becomes very calm and will sit waiting on you to pet him for hours.  We decided to explore options of exercising his great temperament and found information on Therapy Dog International.

We contacted Sara Higgins, Positive Pups Dog Training, and she recommended we first try to achieve Kota’s Canine Good Citizen Certificate.  She worked one-on-one with us and provided great training tips for Kota’s Canine Good Citizen exam.

The steps in passing the Canine Good Citizen Test include:  sitting politely for petting, walking loosely on a leash, walking through a crowd, allowing grooming, sit & down – staying in place, coming when called, greeting another person with their dog, distractions, and supervised separation.

We worked with Kota on these test items and when we felt prepared, scheduled a time with Positive Pups Dog Training.  We met for our test at Robbins Park in Cornelius, where Kota completed & passed his test!

Canine Good Citizen

The next step is to take Therapy Dog Certification classes to polish his skills he exhibited during Canine Good Citizen Certification, plus a few other tests specific to medical facilities.  If he receives his TDI certificate, he will be allowed to complete these types of visits:

  • Hospital visits
  • Retirement home/Assisted Living visits
  • Hospice Homes
  • Schools, Colleges – can participate in “Read to Dog” programs
  • Disaster Relief – provides comfort & emotional support for disaster victims & emergency responders


We are hopeful he will pass and can share some of his sweet personality with those who need it.  We are also excited to share with others how rewarding it is to adopt a dog from rescue.


Lauren Barker

Marketing & Business Manager, Kay Fisher and Associates