“Having a well-mannered dog makes your life easier,” said Raina Hanley.

You might see something a little different on your next trip to the store. The Bed n Biscuit Ranch in Bismarck is taking its canine students to local businesses to get real-world training.

“We want to prove that they are going to do well in public. Some different organizations will hold their canine good citizens in a pretty sterile environment and they will practice greeting just with each other’s dogs. We really want to show people as they’re working on getting their good citizen, that their dog can maintain a heel when they’re in a true public setting,” said Lila Teunissen, owner of Bed n Biscuit Ranch.

Teunissen tells us the need for training has been growing.

“We see dogs getting surrendered because they have bad behavior. Pet parents don’t know what to do with them. So they end up surrendering them, and it’s not fair to the dogs,” said Teunissen.

So, what’s their secret? We caught up with one trainer who says it boils down to three things.

“Repetition, consistency and patience,” said Marina Swanson, Lead Trainer at Bed n Biscuit Ranch.

If you’re wondering why so many people feel it’s important for our dogs to be good citizens? We’re told it’s pretty simple.

“Because they can’t always stay at home,” said Hanley.

“Maybe someone’s having a really bad day. They see a really nice calm dog in the store, and they get to pet it and not get jumped on. I just feel like that makes people’s day. Makes them happier,” said Swanson.

The Good Citizen program takes about six weeks, and dogs who graduate could go on to get certified as therapy dogs.