August 2018
Canine Good Citizen®
A Remarkable Journey for an ABR Alum
Charlie was a stray that was scared of other dogs and was very shy when he came into the ABR system. After spending time with a patient foster, he found his forever home with Sarah Jones and her family in California. A couple years later, he developed some serious obedience issues, so Sarah started reaching out to dog trainers in her area. Sarah’s trainer introduced her to the Canine Good Citizen program and they began using that as a way for Charlie to be more comfortable out in public.

Charlie received his certificate in 2013 and Sarah decided to take him right into further training for medical service. Charlie now serves as a diabetic alert dog and accompanies Sarah wherever she goes - including sleeping under her desk while she teaches. Sometimes students do not even know he is there until he begins snoring! He is still shy for a Britt, but through this training program, he developed more confidence.

Have you ever thought your Brittany would be a good therapy dog? Brittanys, with their natural sweetness and soft coats make great companions and cuddling partners, but it is important that they have some training to help them interact with their community. 

The American Kennel Club® (AKC) developed the Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) program in 1989 to help pet owners get started with dog training. Their tag line is “Responsible Owners, Well-Mannered Dogs.” This program serves as a great foundation for training in dog sports and is usually a prerequisite for therapy dog groups. Participating in dog sports, like agility, is one way to provide the naturally intelligent Brittany the mental and physical activity this breed needs.
What does a dog have to do to earn a Canine Good Citizen® certificate?
  • The dogs must pass a series of 10 tests to receive the certificate. A couple examples of the tests include sitting politely for petting by a friendly stranger, walk on a loose lead, and behaving politely around other dogs, among others. Check out their website for a complete list of tests.
  • CGC Test Items
  • In addition, the owner must sign the Responsible Owner’s Pledge, which affirms you are responsible for your dog’s health, safety, quality of life, and not allowing your dog to infringe on the rights of others.
Does a dog have to be purebred to participate to get CGC certified?
  • No - pure bred and mixed breed dogs can participate and there is no age limit. The only exception is that if the test is conducted at an AKC® show, then all show requirements also apply to the CGC® test.
Where can my dog take the test?
  • A CGC® evaluator or club can administer the CGC® test. There are many options available around the country.
How do I get started or where do I find a trainer?
  • If you do not have experience training dogs this test may seem daunting. Sarah recommends finding a trainer to help you through the process. It may take meeting with a few different trainers to find one that works well with you and your dog.
  • To find a trainer ask your veterinarian, visit your local dog club, or search for evaluators and AKC clubs that assist with training on their website. Remember - you may have to meet with several trainers before you find someone that fits you and your dog’s needs.

The Canine Good Citizen® test is an excellent gauge of how well your dog behaves in public and even if you don’t pursue further training, getting a CGC® certificate will be well worth your efforts. It can make you and your pet more confident being out in the community together.
Dog Obedience Around the World
In many European countries, it’s lifestyle, rather than training, that creates a ‘natural’ canine good citizen. Day-to-day life there provides the foundation for a well-mannered dog. By contrast, Americans adopt the middle ground when training and socializing our dogs. We enroll our dogs in formal classes and consider them obedient. We don’t actively encourage interaction with other people and dogs because our dogs are left at home most of the time. It’s a novelty when they are permitted in a café or open market.

Greece and Spain view dogs as ‘tools’ so they receive little to no training. A sporting dog like a Brittany might receive a ‘whoa’ command during a hunting session, but they are not taught basic commands. It’s unheard of to use positive reinforcement such as ‘good boy’. They rarely interact with their owners because they are chained outside and ignored until it’s time to hunt.

France, Germany and the U.K. also employ very little ‘official’ obedience training, but boast vastly different results. Dogs are rarely asked to sit politely or wait before exiting a door. That’s because they automatically do these things. They are taught manners, rather than formal commands.

Dogs in these countries are exposed to a wide variety of experiences and stimuli. They start off early, as young pups, strolling by their owner’s side. In general, they are walked and exercised on a much more consistent basis than our state-side canines or those used only for hunting.

Most importantly, these dogs and pups are permitted almost everywhere, including stores, bakeries, markets and even museums. They ‘accept a friendly stranger’ because those strangers are all around them. Because it’s commonplace, most people disregard dogs and puppies. Strangers rarely pet another person’s dog or offer a treat. Children are taught not to approach them. That in turn, results in a relaxed dog who resists barking, jumping, pulling or begging. They learn to remain calm.

In addition, dogs are not permitted to enter another dog’s space, so altercations prove rare. Puppies learn to behave in public by mirroring the conduct of older dogs. When a pup ‘acts up’, the negative action is downplayed. The owner distracts him rather than scolds him. The constant and consistent exposure to new sounds, smells, sights, people and dogs mentally enriches the dog without overstimulating him.  

Adapting the European style can help us teach our canines to achieve better manners. While Americans don’t enjoy the freedom of full public socialization for our dogs, we can respect their space and ask others to do so as well. Just as we might not appreciate a stranger suddenly touching us, our dogs might consider that an intrusion as well.   

We can reward our dog with praise or a treat when he maintains his focus on us instead of on other people or dogs. While on a walk, for example, we can continue on our way if another person or dog approaches and then reward him with a high-value treat immediately after. 

Just as here in America, many European dogs are well-loved and pampered. Another difference, however, could be that dogs are not humanized as much overseas. For the most part, dogs remain dogs, rather than ‘furbabies’. As a result, it’s been said that European dogs prove more mannerly, but less friendly.

So, if you prefer the American way of tail-wagging exuberance and lots of wet kisses, strike a happy balance instead. Engage your Brittany in dog-related events or benefits. Find those cafes that permit pets and simply allow him to enjoy the fun of socialization.
Meet Abbie, he’s a large Britt with an abundance of energy so he needs an active household. He needs an energetic dog playmate, a few kids, or even just a running partner to make him a great companion. He’s not a stay home alone all day dog, a strong fence and/or a dog door would be ideal. He’s affectionate and attentive to his people and loves everyone he meets. Abbie already knows his commands and responds well to positive reinforcement. He’s very sensitive and requires positive incentives and rewards, since his first owner used severe negative methods.
S ay Hello to Izzy! Izzy is a very sweet 10 year old orange & white spayed female Brittany. Izzy behaves beautifully off leash even on a walk of several miles and comes back when called - good girl Izzy! Izzy rides very well in a car and has done well meeting strangers and of course loves her belly rubs. She does equally as great inside and well as outside of the house but prefers to be inside with you. So what are you waiting for hurry up and fill out that online adoption application so this good girl can be yours!
"Rescuing one dog will not change the world... But for that dog the world will be forever changed."

These wonderful Brittanys are currently available for adoption. Click on their picture for more information, and if you think your family is a good fit, please complete an adoption application here.
Annual ABR-IL Picnic
Details: ABR_IL will host a picnic for volunteers, fosters, adopters and newcomers. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Cost for lunch is $10 per person or $15 per couple or $25 per family. Cash or checks accepted.

When: Saturday Sept. 8 from 10 a.m to 3 p.m

Where: Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naperville, Illinois. ABR will be at the WEST shelter which is located on Greene Road which is south of Hobson Road and north of 75th Street.

For More Information: Deb Giesler at (Please RSVP)
If you have Facebook, you know that a new trend on this popular social media platform is to celebrate your birthday by raising money for your favorite charity. But some of you may be a bit leery, so the enews team wanted to address some commonly asked questions in the hope you will create a birthday fundraiser for American Brittany Rescue!
First, how do you create a birthday fundraiser? 
-       Most people will be prompted two weeks before a birthday to create a birthday fundraiser, but if you are not prompted then click on the arrow on the top right side of your profile next to the circled question mark. The dropdown menu will appear and you can select Create Fundraiser
How can I make sure I raise money for American Brittany Rescue? 
-       It is easy! You will be asked “Who are you raising money for?” Select nonprofit and then search for American Brittany Rescue. Our organization will pop up and you can select us for your birthday fundraiser.
What is the amount and timeframe of the fundraiser?
-       Both are completely up to you!! You set the amount – maybe an amount to represent your birthday. You may want to consider setting an amount that you believe is attainable for your friends and family on Facebook. People love to hit a goal, so make it exciting and attainable for your “followers.” Generally, the timeframe is two weeks for birthday fundraisers, but if you are creating a fundraiser separate from your birthday then you can set the date. 
How does American Brittany Rescue get the money and is there any fees?
-       Great questions. American Brittany Rescue is a registered nonprofit through Facebook Payment Systems (as of May 2018), which means that Facebook pays us directly rather than using a third party vendor; therefore, there are no fees! 
Once ABR reaches the pay-out amount, we receive a check from Facebook Payment Systems bi-weekly. Overall, ABR can account for the fundraisers and donations created by our supporters on Facebook and we have access to reports through Facebook that outline the amount and who donated since joining the Payment System. 

If you ever have a question about whether or not ABR received your donations through Facebook, please email with the dates of your fundraiser and we will dig in to our reports and give you an update.  (Please note that we want to maintain confidentially, so we can give you general information about your birthday fundraiser, such as total amount raised and number of donations, but never any information about a specific donor’s amount, etc..)
Where can I get more information?
-       A great place to get more information about Facebook Giving tools is -
Thanks to the following for creating a Birthday Fundraiser over the summer:
Nancy Simons Hensley
Deb Giesler
Tiffanie Stager
Brittany Sterk
Cindi Doell
Robert Gillogly
Carrie Ann Alford
Marc S. Komisarow
Lou ST Clair
Brittany Sedlar
Rick Swanson
Craig Ingram
Amy Pluth
Tiffany Harris
Erin Rose
Carolyn O'Dell Wetherhold
Wendi Felson
Tom Clapp
Nataly Donaldson
If you would like to give to American Brittany directly, please click on the button below to make your gift and help a dog in need.

American Brittany Rescue, Inc. is an organization that was formed in 1991 as a cooperative effort of Brittany owners, breeders, trainers, and fanciers who ABR believes have a responsibility not only for their own dogs and the dogs they produce, but for the breed as a whole.


ABR's mission is to provide the leadership and expertise via a network of trained volunteers to take in stray, abandoned, surrendered and/or impounded purebred Brittanys, provide them with foster care, health and temperament screening, an opportunity for any necessary rehabilitation and to assure their health and placement into new homes. In order to fulfill this mission, ABR's volunteers remain flexible and adaptable to current and future business environments and they remain dedicated to the organization.  

Terry Mixdorf, President
Terri Johnson, Vice President
Tiffany Dexter, Secretary
Tina Leone, Co-Treasurer
Diana Doiron, Co-Treasurer
Michelle Falkinburg
Nancy Hensley
Sandy Oelschlegel
Monica Rutt
Maria Smith
Ryan Waterbury
Cheri Wilson

Lisa Bagwell
Brittany Boler
Jeannine Connors
Judie Cutting
Autumn Fenton
Lori Gartenhaus
Patricia Gillogly
Melissa Tapply
Rachel Schollaert
Maria Smith
American Brittany Rescue, Inc. | 866.274.8911 |  Visit Our Website