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Monday night Cooper and I start our second attempt at CGC with a 5 week class that concludes with the CGC test.

Areas he needs to work on:
Supervised Separation - have done a little work but he is a Velcro dog - this is my biggest concern. I wish the test was the strange takes the dog and walks away, not me leaving - Cooper is fine with going with strangers, but not with me abandoning him.

Reaction to other dogs - wants to say “Hi”

Down without treats - We have made a lot of progress, Cooper will now down at a lot of locations if treats are present. Cooper has always disliked down.

I have been focusing most of the attention on Johnny’s training but now I need to get back to Cooper. I want to pass the Pet Partner’s test in February.
 

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Good luck. I think you'll do well this time. You know what you have to work on so you can get started right now.

I always went to class early and practiced with some of the other people and their dogs before class.
 
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It is a great idea to practice the CGC items that need work with a friend.

For the separation, I practiced leaving my dogs when I went in to get my morning coffee. I realize this will not work in every neighborhood, but mine is very safe, and I kept an eagle eye or asked someone sitting outside to please keep an eye on them. Start with just walking a few feet, walk back, and calm praise. Work up to 3 min.

For the reacting to other dogs, work on getting him engaged with you while he's heeling, and walk briskly past the passing dog.

For the down, I can relate to that one with Maizie. I prayed for the CGC and the Pet Partners test that she would down on command, and both times she came through. I used a firm voice and kept strong eye contact. She knew I meant business! Tons of praise after the release.

These are just the things that worked with my dogs, but of course there are other ways as well. Keep working on it and you and Cooper will get there :)
 

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I am sure you will do just fine. One of the important aspects of passing a CGC test is for the dog to feel comfortable in the place where the test is being given. I had someone take a test with a dog he had only had for three weeks and who had never been to my club. When I had first spoken to him I thought he understood that I thought he should come to my novice class as much as possible and then take the test in December (the next time I have giving tests on my club calendar). He wanted the test that day so I gave it and they did not pass. The sweet little dog was very miserable. Now they are coming to novice and she is starting to come out of her shell.
 

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For Noelle it was the stay calm for grooming part of the CGC that was just beyond stressful because she got so wiggly and way too happy. And the supervised separation. And passing another dog, and... and oh, this was tough for her.

Remember you can talk to your dog through the whole thing and be extra cheerful during the pass another dog so your dog focuses attention on you.

For supervised separation, I practiced tying Noelle to a tree, walking away and hiding behind another tree, and coming back. Noelle hated this game, but got through the separation.

For a dog that doesn't like to down, remember it's a vulnerable position and refusal might be part of being uncomfortable in the environment. One game we played to overcome that was me saying, in the happiest voice imaginable, heel, heel, heel (excitement is building) sit! Yay! Sit! Heel, heel, what are we gonna do next, what's next, heel, down! Yay, down! It's part of a goofy game we play, so the feeling of vulnerability doesn't get a chance to take root. Sit/down/stay all of these are just fun activities for Noelle.

You know your dog. Does your dog respond to a, "And I mean business, buster!" tone of voice, or a "If you're happy and you know it!" kind of voice. Noelle checks out if I mean business and focuses better when I'm happy and playful. You know your dog. Try different tones of voice and see which gets a quicker response. Good luck. I'm cheering for you.
 

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For Noelle it was the stay calm for grooming part of the CGC that was just beyond stressful because she got so wiggly and way too happy. And the supervised separation. And passing another dog, and... and oh, this was tough for her.

Remember you can talk to your dog through the whole thing and be extra cheerful during the pass another dog so your dog focuses attention on you.

For supervised separation, I practiced tying Noelle to a tree, walking away and hiding behind another tree, and coming back. Noelle hated this game, but got through the separation.

For a dog that doesn't like to down, remember it's a vulnerable position and refusal might be part of being uncomfortable in the environment. One game we played to overcome that was me saying, in the happiest voice imaginable, heel, heel, heel (excitement is building) sit! Yay! Sit! Heel, heel, what are we gonna do next, what's next, heel, down! Yay, down! It's part of a goofy game we play, so the feeling of vulnerability doesn't get a chance to take root. Sit/down/stay all of these are just fun activities for Noelle.

You know your dog. Does your dog respond to a, "And I mean business, buster!" tone of voice, or a "If you're happy and you know it!" kind of voice. Noelle checks out if I mean business and focuses better when I'm happy and playful. You know your dog. Try different tones of voice and see which gets a quicker response. Good luck. I'm cheering for you.

That was one of the big struggles for this cute Brittany that I tested a couple of weeks ago. Even though she was still just getting comfortable with her new owner (of three weeks) she couldn't bear the idea of him leaving, not even for a down stay and forget the supervised separation. The dog has to be able to feel at ease in the place the test is being given and/or have total trust in the handler/owner. When Javelin got his CGC we were at a trial and although he hadn't been in the trial rings, he had been at the site for three days and with me for over 72 hours with no breaks other than me being in a ring with Lily. Even so there were a couple of things the evaluator let us take a do over on since he was still a little nervous.
 

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Disaster

Well, we didn’t pass again. This time was worse, Cooper barked and pulled me through the lobby to the training room. He has never done that before. I was stressed because it was snowing and the roads were terrible. And to top it off the dog that distracts Cooper the most came in right as the test started. We could have handled two of the three.

The first test was sit and down which Cooper did fine, but the hand shake one Cooper totally ignore me and went to the person. I could tell there was no getting his attention back without treats. So we left, the trainer said we could stay and use it as practice,but with the roads I wanted to get home and I knew Cooper would not have settled down. I didn’t want Cooper to practice being a brat.

So I have been sitting here kicking myself one minute for leaving early and the next minute glad I did cause the roads where getting worse.

Next time we try it is not going to be in the same building where Cooper goes to day care. He is way too comfortable and thinks it is play time.
 

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No worries. It happens. Service dogs who have graduated sometimes can’t pass the test that allowed them to graduate. The reason is because a lot of people don’t bother maintaining that level of training. Training is always a working progress even for seasoned pros as long as you have a positive attitude and willing to continue working. You will get there!


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I'm sorry, Susan, that's really disappointing. It sounds like it was just the perfect storm of distractions, but hopefully third time will be the charm!
 

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Doing the test in the same location as play time would upset my dog, too. It's like taking a kid to Disneyland over and over, and then one day, bringing out a math book. Here, Jr. let's work on fractions this time.

Training is a different kind of playtime. Not ruckus and mayhem style, but calm and focused, but still fun. If you can train somewhere separate from doggie daycare, and do the test in that location, I think you'll have an easier time. This building is where we work together. The other building is where you play. Otherwise you're trying to do homework in the middle of Disneyland.
 

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I am sorry you had such a rough go. I do think it was wise to leave. I also definitely would not do the test in a place Cooper normally plays. I do think it is important for the dog to have some level of comfort in the place they take the test though. I had to give a no pass to someone I know, who I know to be a good trainer and handler who brought a recently adopted rescue dog to my club for a novice class and then wanted to take the test that same day. The dog was stressed at the start and a wreck by then end. When I had spoken to the handler on the phone the previous week I thought he understood that he should come to novice from that week in October through to next week and take the test on December 14th which was the next time I scheduled to give CGCs.


I have six dogs testing next Friday and all of them regularly train in the place we will be doing it, but definitely there is no play allowed while they are in class, so they will be familiar and comfortable in the environment but also understand they have to be serious and pay attention. I haven't given a CGC oriented class, but I do give a CGC style exam in the novice stand for exam part of the course. I have people bring their brushes and will go over the dog with a brush then too. I also have people use a long line for their recalls and stays to mimic test conditions as much as possible. I hope that strategy discussion helps you figure out where to go for the next attempt.
 
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Doing the test in the same location as play time would upset my dog, too. It's like taking a kid to Disneyland over and over, and then one day, bringing out a math book. Here, Jr. let's work on fractions this time.

Training is a different kind of playtime. Not ruckus and mayhem style, but calm and focused, but still fun. If you can train somewhere separate from doggie daycare, and do the test in that location, I think you'll have an easier time. This building is where we work together. The other building is where you play. Otherwise you're trying to do homework in the middle of Disneyland.
i agree.

In addition Cooper knew you were stressed and it made him stressed. He didn’t know you had legitimate concerns about the road conditions, but he felt something was wrong which affected his behavior.
 
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