Monday, June 30, 2008

10 challenges = 1 Canine Good Citizen

The Canine Good Citizen test offered fun for Blake, and challenges, too. We had to pass each and every one of the 10 tasks, to achieve the CGC certificate.

Here's what we had to do, all following our AKC evaluator's instructions:
  1. Accepting a friendly stranger. Blake was told to sit at my side. I shook hands with the evaluator and we traded greetings. The dog must not break his position, must not be shy, but must not try to go to the evaluator. 
  2. Sitting politely for petting. The evaluator asked permission to pet Blake, and she pet his head, then his body. I was not allowed to talk to him. The dog must stay in place while being petted. Blake decided this was a good time to KISS the evaluator!
  3. Appearance and grooming. I told Blake to "stand." Blake was inspected for cleanliness and allowed the evaluator to brush him. She picked up each of his feet and examined each ear. This demonstrates that the dog welcomes grooming and will allow others (such as a vet) to examine him. Blake decided the evaluator needed more KISSES.
  4. Out for a walk. Demonstrating that Blake is not in control of our walks, we followed a little course as directed by our evaluator. I wasn't as good at following the evaluator's calls of "right turn" and "left turn" and "about turn" but Blake stayed right at my side, walking calmly and so attuned to me that he turned instantly whenever I did.
  5. Walking through a crowd. We had a group of spectators, and they came into the ring while we wove our way back and forth among them, Blake always walking calmly at my side. The dog isn't supposed to lunge or jump or strain on the leash. Blake was perfect.
  6. Sit and down on command, and staying in place. This was where I was not sure of what Blake would do. However, he did all that he was supposed to. He sat when I told him to sit. When the evaluator said, "Now you need to tell him to get down," he went down the minute SHE said the word! Then I told him to stay, walked across the ring, turned around, walked back to Blake and then walked away again to the center of the ring, where he had to ...
  7. Come when called. At first Blake was reluctant to get up from his "stay" in the nice shady spot in the cool grass. But then he decided he had better come and see what I wanted, so he came directly to me.
  8. Reaction to another dog. We had to walk toward another person with a dog, then I stopped, shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with the other person. The dogs are supposed to stay by their handlers' sides and show no more than a casual interest in each other. Blake was so businesslike that he became the test "stranger dog" for other dogs trying to get their CGC certificate!
  9. Reaction to distraction. This shows confidence when faced with distracting situations. But outside the ring we had some interesting distractions. We were very close to a horse pasture and all the horses, along with a few goats, were at fenceside, watching the CGC tryouts! Inside the ring, the evaluator walked strangely and closely past us with a crutch, then dropped it close to Blake. She also shook a can filled with pebbles and threw it, which Blake loved! 
  10. Supervised separation. Blake had to "down" and "stay" and the evaluator took his leash while I left and got out of sight for three or so minutes. The dog must stay calm. No problem for Blake, he really thought the evaluator was a great friend by then!
Wow, we did it!!!

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