Saturday, November 12, 2011

Canine Good Citizen Test thru AKC

Jo Beth Britt (Evaluator), Lucky and me.
She congratulates me for passing the test.
Lucky and I passed our Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test two Saturdays back, plus our TDI (Therapy Dog International), which adds another component to the test.  Several of our club members' dogs were being tested, I videoed them all with permission using my brand new HD camera, and used a trial version of AVS Video Editor to edit the best one below (of Blair and Torren) to illustrate the disciplines tested for:
  1. Accepting a friendly stranger
  2. Sitting politely for petting (including the paw touch)
  3. Appearance and grooming (including brushing)
    (These 1st 3 are combined in what looks like one exercise.)
  4. Out for a walk on a loose leash (left turn, right turn, about face)
  5. Walk thru a noisy crowd
  6. Sit and down on command/Stay in place
  7. Come when called
  8. Reaction to another dog test (should be no reaction)
  9. Reaction to distraction (loud noise and jogger going by)
  10. Leave it (TDI only)
  11. Supervised separation from handler (3 minutes)

It was nice weather, cool. windy and sometimes noisy at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield parking lot.  Not everyone passed.  It's a wee bit more difficult than it looks.  Lucky and I had a few bobbles, like her collar being too tight, her trying to visit with the other dog in "Reaction to another dog", and veering toward the food bowl on the first pass, but I got blamed for those, not her. I had over-tightened her collar for the test, I forgot to say "Sit" as we approached the other dog, and passed within 2' of the bowl instead of 3'. We nailed it the 2nd try. 

A few additional points:
  • Dogs need to be clean, nails clipped, well groomed.
  • Handler is also being evaluated. Should be neat and clean, calm and pleasant, attentive to and obey the judge immediately, no smart talk, harsh talk or goofy behavior.
  • No treats allowed during testing.
  • You can talk to your dog all you want.
  • You can touch/pet your dog.
  • No corrections such as snapping the leash, saying "NO" or AAAH, or anything like that. Certainly no whacking, bopping, or yelling.
  • Loose leash at all times.
  • Dog should be paying attention to you, following you.
  • No jumping up on people, even in greeting.
  • No visiting with other dogs.
  • Evaluator observes dog's behavior the entire time they are on premises, not just when they are being tested.  Lunging, growling, fighting, whining, jumping up on people, being highly distracted at any time can disqualify them.
  • Dog's collar should be loose enough for a collar grab (2 finger space at least).
  • The title covers both dog and handler, and if a different handler wants to take a CGC certified dog to pet therapy venues, a separate title must be earned.
CGC can be added to the dog's official AKC name along with their other AKC titles, so Lucky's official name now is:

Nothing is added to the handler's name.  I'm still just Michele T. Fry, NP

Our club provides 6 weeks of "training to the test" prior to the judge arriving, and while it isn't required, the class really helps.  One learns a bunch of tricks to help your dog pass.  Lucky, for example, often growls if you touch her paws.  But she will shake with anyone.  Tracey coached me to say "Shake" at the same moment the judge was about to take her paw.  It worked.  Forewarned, she didn't growl.

The class was open to the public, $25, all of which applies to the cost of the test if you take it, plus an $8 processing fee to AKC to be sent in with the paperwork.

THOUGHTS:  I may never do Pet Therapy with Lucky, but I want her to have the title and know the drill.  She and Maxie are both comfortable in crowds, and both have a very good "leave it" when I set food on the coffee table -- unlike my older dogs FoohFooh and Willow who rush at oncoming dogs on our walks, can't resist any available food, and make pests of themselves with begging.  A few sessions of early obedience training has made all the difference with my younger dogs.  They are beneficiaries of going to school and my improved dog training skills.
Upwards and onward!

P.S. Maxie earned his CGC/TDI back in 2009 and has made quite a few Pet Therapy visits. Willow, who could NEVER pass the test because she won't sit/stay or walk on a loose leash, accompanies us and is a wonderful Pet Therapy dog as well. Everyone loves her, she is soft, pettable, and friendly, and our club's Pet Therapy program allows non-certified dogs to participate.  So why did I bother getting Lucky certified?  Because it's good training, very cheap, so why not get a certificate along with it!

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