Give GWPs A Chance
A few years ago, Ariel Wolf had hardly even heard of the German Wirehaired Pointer. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, native was born with a rare connective tissue disorder, resulting in issues with her joints, tendons, and ligaments. Wolf had benefitted from service dogs in the past, and she was seeking a new dog to help her with mobility assistance and medical detection.
A friend suggested she consider the GWP, a sturdy Sporting Group breed described as “eager, affectionate, and amusing.” Wolf began researching the breed and eventually met a breeder at a local dog show. Before long, Wesann’s N Blueline’s Cherries Jubilee (known as “Jubilee”) arrived at her new home. Straightaway, she and Wolf began training in earnest for a life of service dog work and dog sports.
Four years later, the pair have earned titles in Obedience, Rally, hunt tests, dock diving, CAT, fast CAT, barn hunt, and Trick Dog. They’ve also trained in tracking, Scent Work, Agility, and Flyball. Most recently, Wolf and Jubilee competed in the AKC Obedience Classic at the 2019 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin, marking the highest level of competition they’ve achieved to date in Obedience.
“Jubilee helps me minimize damage caused by using my joints,” says Wolf. “I trained her to assist in balance, retrieval, clothing removal, and carrying things, just to name a few. She knows around 90 commands in total. She helps me so I can have more energy, less pain, and fewer injuries, so we can enjoy sports together.”
Watching her in action today, it’s hard to believe Jubilee (CDX BN GN RM JH FDC CAA DCAT RATO DM CGCA CGCU TKP) was ever anything but a super service dog and sports star. However, like any other pup, the rambunctious Jubi required dedicated training to get to where she is today. Wolf understood the hard work it would take to train Jubi as both a service dog and a performance athlete. So, she wasted no time instilling a foundational set of behavioral training in her dog. Among the GWP’s first of her many titles? AKC Canine Good Citizen.
How CGC Helped Jubilee
“The CGC was an important stepping stone,” says Wolf. “The core behaviors in the CGC test are all integral to having a safe service dog. Outside of service work, leash manners, stay, recall, and supervised separation are all super important to a dog sports competitor. Over the past two years, we’ve had real-life applications of every single CGC test item.”
Established in 1989, the Canine Good Citizen is the AKC’s ten-skill training program, dedicated to teaching the basics of good manners and obedience. Beyond instilling essential skills that dogs need to navigate the world, the CGC is crucial to strengthening the dog-owner bond. For a strong service dog like Jubi, the CGC was an especially important training tool. It’s helped Wolf harness some of the pup’s energy while developing a reliable, rotating routine of service work and sports.
“She’s a very intense, powerful dog,” admits Wolf. “For sports like dock diving and barn hunt, I’ve occasionally needed someone to help hold her because it wasn’t safe for me. I’ve had to learn to ask for help so we can both safely enjoy ourselves. [As a service dog,] she’s not always ‘on duty,’ but she’s always ‘on-call’ and ready to help if needed.”
Highlighting Jubi’s incredible ability to “switch gears”, Wolf proudly recounts a moment during Obedience when the handler’s ankle gave out. Unprompted, Jubi stopped slightly forward of heel position, in a stand rather than a sit. She aligned herself perfectly, allowing Wolf to put her hand on her withers to balance herself. The pair promptly NQed, but Jubi had proven how well-trained and in-tune she is with Wolf.
Cherries On Top
For many owners, having a well-trained and well-behaved dog is a nice thing. For Wolf, it’s a necessity. At the end of a dog sport competition, plenty of pups get to go home to nap, snack, and relax. A service dog like Jubilee, meanwhile, must be ready to assist at all times. Wolf credits the CGC with helping to instill such strong foundational training in her dog. Nevertheless, she’s quick to point out the benefits of Canine Good Citizen-ship for all dogs, from service animals all the way through to couch potatoes.
“Regardless of aspiration, I encourage dog owners to work toward earning a CGC,” says Wolf. “If nothing else, the training is fun, quality bonding time between owner and dog. A performance dog benefits greatly from the CGC skills, and no service dog should be without those skills. There is so much to be gained and essentially nothing to lose by training for and obtaining a CGC.”
While Jubilee has already amassed an impressive array of AKC titles, Wolf has no plans on slowing down. Following the pair’s Obedience Classic showing in Orlando, Wolf hopes to continue to climb the ranks, with the ultimate goal to compete and place in the Utility class. Meanwhile, Jubi remains as reliable and resolute as ever, barely batting an eyelash during extreme turbulence on the pair’s flight back to North Carolina.
“Jubilee has been a phenomenal learning experience,” affirms Wolf. “I can’t imagine a happier, more willing dog to journey with me.”
Be sure to follow Jubilee on Facebook if you’re interested in keeping up with this dynamic duo’s ongoing adventures.
Earning Your CGC
If Jubilee and Wolf have inspired you to take the Canine Good Citizen test, you can get started right away by finding a CGC class and evaluator. The Canine Good Citizen program is open to all dogs. If you have a special CGC story to share, be sure to tag any photos posted with #ThisisAKC and #CGC on Instagram.
The AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program has been the gold standard of dog behavior since 1989. Thirty years later, more than 1 million dogs have passed their CGC test. In honor of over a million Canine Good Citizens, we’ve launched a monthly “CGC & Me” series, highlighting the amazing stories of AKC CGC dogs and their owners.