Certificate of Responsible Dog Ownership scheme

Aim of the scheme

An ever increasing number of families are finding the pleasure of having a pet dog. It is a responsibility that builds trust, affection and encourages more open air exercise.

All owners have responsibilities to their pets and to the community at large.

This scheme is aimed at assisting owners to recognize those responsibilities and to help and encourage them to undertake the work involved. The results are rewarding.

Structure of the Scheme

A series of skills required for responsible ownership have been defined. They are scheduled into four groups. The groups build progressively on the skills acquired in the previous stage work.

Confirmation of each skill level being achieved is available through a test procedure organised by Friends of Colliers Wood. This enables owners to be confident in their ability and those of their dog.

The skill levels are:

Basic Level- Essential knowledge to enable your animal to be cared for and to comply with the legal requirements of ownership.
Primary Level- This accomplishes the first level of obedience that enables you to keep your animal in control in public places whilst on-lead.
Accomplished Level- Tests both your skill and your animals’ obedience to a level that meets the requirements of most day-to-day situations. It enables you to maintain control in all public places even when your dog is off-lead.
Advanced Level- For owners who can master a more difficult level of control. This ensures full control in all likely situations, public and private.

All tests are conducted in the open air and when appropriate, with various forms of distraction. Examiners are experienced at conducting the tests and work within defined guidelines. Failure to pass at any level does not debar from further attempts. In failure situations, examiners will inform participants of the skills that need improvement.

A certificate bearing the handlers and the animals name is issued to successful participants at the Primary Level and subsequent levels. This certificate is signed by the examiner and is proof of achieving the skill level when applying to be examined at the next level. No certificate is issued for Basic Knowledge level. Passes are however recorded. Basic Knowledge tests will normally be carried out immediately prior to a Primary Level test. This is not a requirement, but it is normally convenient for the applicant.


Experienced participants are likely to have the basic level knowledge prior to acquiring their animal and be able to train their pet to the primary level. For those who do not have the knowledge or skill, we recommend that appropriate training is sought. There are several training classes throughout the area.
For the two higher levels of skill, it is recommended that formal training help is utilised.
(There is a training course held at the site. This occurs on Thursday evenings. Please contact Margaret on 01773 603692, or, 07917 854486 for details and enrolment.)

Knowledge and Skills to be Tested at Each Level


Handler must show that they have provided for the dogs correct identification and that their dog is equipped with a suitable collar. They must be able to attach/detach a lead whilst the dog remains in a controlled state.
Handlers must be aware of a dog’s basic- instinctive- needs.
Handler must know when vaccinations are required and why. They must be able to detect signs of parasites and be conscious of the signs of illness displayed by dogs. They must demonstrate provision for regular health checks.
Handler must be aware of their responsibilities for the dog’s daily care and control. They must be cognisant of required behaviour in public places and shops. They must know their responsibility for the dogs care when they are absent.
Handler must be aware of the danger when children are in the dog’s presence and be conscious of behaviour to be avoided.
Handlers must know the requirements for safely transporting dogs in a vehicle and the provisions to be made if the dog is left alone in the vehicle.
Handlers must be aware of the Country Code and know the actions to take when passing through farmland or meeting a horse (with or without rider) or other animals.
Handlers must know the restrictions related to environmental sensitive areas, whether or not signposted.
Handlers must have available poo-bags and know how to use them and how to correctly dispose of them and why.
Handlers must know the statutory law that applies to owners and be aware of local bye-laws.

To download the test list requirements for the Basic Level click here.
To download the schedule of questions that the examiners choose from click here.


Heel, on lead. A regular basic control on which all other skills are built.
Recall. Testing the first level of remote voice command and dogs obedience.
30 seconds Sit. Stay. A first step in developing a dogs ability to stay stationary on command.

To download the test list requirements for the Primary Level click here.


Heel, on Lead. Testing a dogs ability to ignore distractions.
Heel, Free. The basic control elevated to a higher obedience level. Handler must be confident in dogs obedience.
Novice Recall. Tests handler’s voice command and dogs prompt response. Requires a well developed working relationship between handler and dog.
1 minute Sit, Stay Tests handler’s ability to control dog quickly in dynamic environments.
2 minute Down, Stay Tests handler’s ability to control dog for situations that require more assured control.

To download the test list requirements for the Accomplished Level click here.


Heel free and Stationary at Heel in 3 Positions. Ensures handler can maintain full verbal control of dog when handler’s physical actions appear confusing to the dog.
Retrieve. A control advisable for play situations.
A-Recall. A useful safety skill.
Stop the Dog Tests distance control for use in potentially dangerous situations.
All stays. Test dogs ability to remain in control in maintenance situations and to respond promptly to commands.

To download the test list requirements for the Advanced Level click here.