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Certification & Training

PDC Test - Dogmatic Devotion

You can earn 0.25 PDC by passing the exam following this article, which has been approved for publication by NCRA's Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters.

The questions are based on the material in the article but some may require additional research. Send your answer sheet to NCRA's Continuing Education Office, 8224 Old Courthouse Road, Vienna, VA 22182, and enclose a check for $40 (member) or $50 (non-member) to cover the processing fee. 

Dogmatic Devotion


Dogs and humans have had a relationship since prehistoric times. Fossil records indicate that the dog was the first animal domesticated by man. The earliest known association of dog and man is about 12,000 years ago. Although all dogs as a species share many characteristics, one easily recognizes a great diversity among breeds. Some traits, such as the absence of the collar bone, are universal among dogs, while other traits, such as the inability of the basenji to bark, are true only for a particular breed.

The relationship between man and his “best friend” has been reciprocal from the beginning. Because of the popularity of keeping dogs for companionship, hunting and protection, societies over time have developed numerous breeds of dogs that are suited for particular environments and jobs. The breeding of purebred dogs is carefully managed to produce offspring of a particular ilk and capacity. Dog shows gained popularity in the mid-19th century because people were able to enter their specific breeds into competition with other dogs. Even as purebred dogs are much sought-after pets, mutts or mongrels -- dogs of mixed lineage -- can also make excellent pets.

According to the American Kennel Club, official dog breeds are divided into seven groups: herding dogs, hound dogs, sporting dogs, working dogs, terriers, nonsporting dogs and toy dogs, plus a miscellaneous class. But even within a breed, dogs may vary in size, color, and, particularly, temperament. The English Mastiff and the St. Bernard are regarded as the largest and heaviest dogs while the Yorkshire terrier, Chihuahua, and Toy Poodle are some of the smallest dogs bred for showing. While some recognizably small dogs, such as the Pekingese and Pomeranian, are considered toy dogs, other diminutive dogs, such as the Miniature Schnauzer, are not classified as such.

Throughout time, the experience of dogs has ranged from being worshipped as gods; used in medical research; launched into space; and used by police agencies to track down criminals, discover illicit drugs and weapons, and a host of other missions. In turn, people have nurtured, sheltered, and rescued dogs, while creating lasting and valuable companionships. Once bonded to an owner, dogs are typically very loyal to that companion and often defensive of that person. Interestingly, during the excavation of Pompeii after the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which killed nearly every inhabitant in the city, the remains of a dog covering a child were exposed, suggesting to the discoverers that the dog had attempted to protect the child during the disaster.

Dogs easily fit into modern-day families. In fact, dogs may even outnumber children in American households. An estimated 40 percent of American households share their homes with one dog or more. Although dogs differ in size and shape, most breeds have similar life cycles. Dogs will usually give birth to litters of six to ten puppies, although cases of only one and up to as many as 15 pups at a time have been reported. Most puppies nurse and rely on their mothers for about six weeks. Smaller dogs develop more rapidly than larger breeds, but within eight months to two years, all dogs are considered full grown. Dogs are always much more energetic and curious as puppies than they are as mature dogs. On average, dogs live for about 12 years.

Many dogs rely on their owners to provide them with basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, and companionship, but dogs and their ancestors have survived in the wild for millions of years without the help of humans. Some of the most useful instincts many breeds have retained are the ability to hunt, to travel in packs, and to maintain a sense of cleanliness. Anatomical features such as whiskers serve as an acute sensory organ. Another anatomical feature is their inability to sweat. Often very warm under their fur coats, dogs rely on panting to keep cool.

Dogs may use mechanisms such as direct eye contact to express a challenge or threat to other animals or people. They can even change the pitch of their bark to convey distress or warning. Other signals include pulling their tails between their legs, which can indicate alarm or fearfulness.

Because smell is their keenest sense, dogs easily recognize their owners. In fact, there have been cases of dogs detecting abnormalities in their owners through odors. Several cases have been reported of dogs smelling cancerous cells in their owners and in laboratories.

In the past century, enthusiasts have recognized yet another capacity among dogs. Thousands of dogs are trained every year to be service animals that assist people who are disabled all over the world. At present, federal and state laws require that guide dogs be permitted in all public venues. Guide dog entities in the United States facilitate the training and placement of guide dogs, which are predominantly Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds. These service dogs enhance the lives of their owners by accomplishing a variety of tasks that the owners would otherwise be unable to perform.

It is no wonder that we covet our canines. They are good listeners who do not talk back or criticize. They are courageous, obedient, loyal, and unconditionally loving companions that are always happy to see us -- their owners.





By Renee Cohen
February JCR


1. What is a dog’s most developed sense?  a) hearing b) seeing c) feeling d) smelling e) tasting

2. How long is the average dog’s life?  a) one year b) five years c) twelve years d) twenty years

3. Dogs cool their bodies by a) panting b) sweating c) barking d) sleeping

4. The only breed of dog that cannot bark is a) bloodhound b) basenji c) collie d)  sheepdog

5. The earliest known association of dog and man is about a) 2,000 years ago b) 5,000 years ago c) 12,000 years ago d) 25,000 years ago

6. The body of the dog lacks a) collar bone b) sense of smell c) tailbone d) skull.

7. A dog may use eye contact, such as a direct stare, to communicate a threat or challenge.  A) true  b) false

8. Instinctive behavior in a dog includes a) defense of territory b) loyalty to owner c) sense of cleanliness d) all of the above

9. A mongrel dog is a) an adult female b) an adult male c) of mixed ancestry d) an unweaned puppy

10. Dogs have no role in assisting people.  A) true b) false

11. Approximately how many American households have dogs as pets?  A) 20% b) 40% c) 60% d) 75%

12. A simple medical fact is that diseases do give off odors, and dogs, at least theoretically, can smell them. A) true b) false

13. The first animal to be domesticated by man was the a) cat b) wolf c) dog d) horse

14. The chief organization of dog breeders in the United States is a) Canine Collaborators b) American Kennel Club c) Guide Dogs for the Blind d) Humane Society

15. Which is NOT considered a toy dog?  A) Mexican Chihuahua b) Pekingese from China c) Pomeranian d) Miniature Schnauzer

16. Virtually every puppy will be much more energetic than a) its owner b) its offspring c) the same dog as an adult d) any cat

17. Dogs cannot vary the pitch or tone of their bark.  A) true b) false

18. Dogs exist in a wide range of  a)  sizes b) colors  c) temperaments d) all of the above

19. A dog that is pulling its tail between its legs indicates that it is a) afraid b) hungry c) tired d) all of the above

20. The whiskers of dogs a) may be curly or straight b) serve as highly sensitive touch organs c) are extremely short d) are temporary structures