Simply being a paid member of the Dog Scouts of America does not automatically make your dog a Dog Scout! Until you and your dog have passed the Dog Scout Certification criteria in front of a certified Scoutmaster (or by video), your title (as the parent) is “Member of Dog Scouts.”
However, you do have the option to get the Honorary title of “Cadet Scout” title on your dog prior to passing the Dog Scout test. This option started in the summer of 2006. This shows your commitment to work with your dog so they can be a welcome member of society or even pass the Dog Scout test in the future. It also represents your commitment to responsible dog parenting and you can call yourself a Cadet Scout parent. There is a $5 fee that can be paid for any dog in your care. This $5 covers the production and mailing of the Cadet Scout collar tag and the record keeping associated with this title. Once you get the collar tag, you can then call your dog a Cadet Scout.
Once you have passed the certification to become a Dog Scout, and you have submitted your forms and fees, you become “a Dog Scout parent” and the dog can use the title of “Dog Scout” and place the letters DSA after his or her name. Please read below for more information about the Dog Scout title and what that honor entails.
When you pass the certification and your dog becomes a Dog Scout, your dog will receive:
- His/her official DSA bandana
- Official DSA photo I.D. card
- His/her first merit badge, the oval “Dog Scout” badge, indicating that your dog has passed the requirements for exemplary behavior necessary to be a Dog Scout
As a Dog Scout, your dog is now eligible to earn more merit badges! The easiest way to earn them is to come to Dog Scout Camp, where we have instructors to teach you a variety of activities and certify you and your dog. There are also a number of badges that you can work on outside of camp without the need for a video.
If you cannot arrange to come to Dog Scout Camp, you can earn badges outside of camp, if you can get a certified Dog Scout Evaluator to verify your achievements and sign off on your merit badge form. Another option is for you to use videotaping to show the steps you used to teach the dog his/her behaviors and show each of the steps on the check-off sheet for the badge. For the parent’s part of the badge, you will need to show on tape or in writing that you understand all of the parent’s responsibilities to earn the badge. The merit badge forms and check-off sheets are available on the DSA website, free for you to download for your own use. You do not have to apply for the sew-on patches through DSA if you just want to learn the badge activity for fun. Learning is always encouraged whether you get a patch to show for it or not!
If you wish to work on some of the badges, but you do not have a certified Dog Scout Evaluator in your area (and don’t want to video tape), please go ahead and learn to perform the skills and get the experience necessary to earn these badges.
As our organization grows, there will be more and more Evaluators trained to administer and certify a wider array of badges, and if you have already completed the work, all you have to do is to demonstrate to the Evaluator that you have trained the dog in the manner prescribed by DSA and done so with safety and concern for your dog. Both you and the certifying Evaluator have to sign a form testifying to the fact that this has been done, and they have personally observed this (you may be asked to demonstrate key points from your check-off sheet if the Evaluator has not observed you performing them.) Community Service, Clean up America 1 and 2, Therapy Work, Letterboxing 1, 2 & 3, Geocaching 1, 2 & 3 and Temperament Tested are several badges that you can work on outside of camp without a video, using the honor system and log sheets.