Both Sophie and Kori passed both the AM and PM tests, earning their FDC titles! (FDC = Farm Dog Certified) I'm very proud of both my girls! (Ryder passed this test last year, I didn't want to leave him out of the recognition!)
The test is open to all breeds of dogs, not just herding breeds. There was a Great Dane, a poodle and a Portuguese Water Dog taking the test with all the collies. The goal of the test is to "assess the dog's aptitude as a working farm dog by exhibiting self-control, confidence and trust with you or his/her handler." I found the whole test pretty interesting, as some of the elements were similar to what you see in the Canine Good Citizen Test and the Therapy Dog test. It definitely requires you and your dog to work together as a team, and good communication with your dog is important.
The test is made up of 12 elements that must be completed:
1. Greet Evaluator – Initial Dog Appraisal
Handler approaches evaluator, dog stops at handler’s side on a loose lead while evaluator performs
2. Perform a Walk Pattern around Farm Environment and by Passive Stranger
The handler walks the dog on a loose lead in a prescribed pattern through farm objects. A passive
stranger sits quietly on course.
3. Jump on Hay/Straw Bale
The handler instructs the dog to jump up on a bale of hay and stay on the bale for a minimum of 10
seconds while maintaining a loose lead.
4. Walk by Farm Animal(s)
The handler walks the dog on a loose lead in view of penned farm animal(s) approximately 30 feet
away from the fence line housing farm animal(s).
5. Walk Over or Through Unusual Surfaces
The handler walks the dog on a loose lead over or through three different unusual surfaces, including
a plastic tarp, safe wooded surface, and another typical farm environment surface.
6. Supervised Separation
The handler places the dog in a freestanding kennel or dog crate and walks out of sight for a minimum
of 1 minute.
7. Pass Through a Gate
The handler and dog navigate through a gate on a loose lead, the dog must wait calmly as the
handler opens the gate, calls dog through the gate opening and closes the gate.
8. Handler Feeds Livestock
The handler performs a farm chore of feeding farm animals while the dog is secured a minimum
of 30 feet away from the animal enclosure.
9. Reaction to Another Dog
The handler is positioned in a designated area with the dog at side on loose lead. The dog may
stand, down or sit. Another dog is walked by on lead approximately 10 feet away.
10. Reaction to Noise Distraction
The handler may stand or quietly walk in a designated area with the dog at side on loose lead. The
assistant creates two background noises typical to a working farm environment.
11. Dog Approaches Livestock
The handler, with the dog at side on a loose lead, enters a fenced area that contains livestock within
a separate enclosure. The dog is introduced to livestock and encouraged to approach the pen, the
dog is then called back to the handler and returns readily when called.
12. Physical Examination
The handler physically examines the dog for any plant material, debris or objects that the dog may
have collected while working on the farm.
* To pass the FDC Test, dogs must pass all elements of the test, including test assessment.
You can learn about this test, and other AKC titles, by clicking on the link below:
So if you are looking for a fun new title to earn with your dog, you should give this one a try! I also wanted to share our news, this is our 500th post!