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Bobby鈥檚 first Canine Good Citizen class begins tomorrow. My plan is to share the journey and I will take all the ideas and encouragement
I can get! 馃槉 Bring it on!
It鈥檚 a 3 week class with the 4th week being the test. Some days I think he is ready and some days definitely not but whatever happens I will look at it as a learning experience for both us. We can always take the test again and the class, in of itself, will be helpful and good.
 

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I鈥檓 so glad you鈥檙e taking this class and the test. I think the skills taught are so important for all dog owners.

I am surprised it鈥檚 only 3 classes followed by the test. in My area all the classes are 8 weeks long followed by the test. Many dogs fail and have to repeat the class a second time before they are ready to pass.

Good luck
 

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One of the most important parts of the class is to be able to practice the skills in the test environment. I took a call at my club this morning from someone who wants to do a CGC test there at the club. She takes a puppy class for performance dogs at my trainer's facility. I suggested that the handler bring her dog to several of my novice classes just for getting used to the place, not so much for practicing specific CGC test items, but really so the dog doesn't freak out over trying to do the test in a place that is utterly unfamiliar. Alternatively I suggested that if our trainer was okay with it I could come there to give the test. The only one of my dogs who passed a CGC test in a strange place was Javelin and that was with a very nice evaluator who let me take an extra shot at the supervised separation.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
I鈥檓 so glad you鈥檙e taking this class and the test. I think the skills taught are so important for all dog owners.

I am surprised it鈥檚 only 3 classes followed by the test. in My area all the classes are 8 weeks long followed by the test. Many dogs fail and have to repeat the class a second time before they are ready to pass.

Good luck
Were we train they require 2 levels of their Obedience classes or the equivalent to take the class. I鈥檓 guessing every training school is different. I think anyone can take the test but you have to have their prerequisites for the class.

Thank you! Excited but nervous too. Bobby can do so well but some days he鈥檚 too excitable. It will be a journey.
While I鈥檓 not trying to be negative and know we need to work hard and happily toward the goal, I am definitely knowing and accepting he may not pass the first time around.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
One of the most important parts of the class is to be able to practice the skills in the test environment. I took a call at my club this morning from someone who wants to do a CGC test there at the club. She takes a puppy class for performance dogs at my trainer's facility. I suggested that the handler bring her dog to several of my novice classes just for getting used to the place, not so much for practicing specific CGC test items, but really so the dog doesn't freak out over trying to do the test in a place that is utterly unfamiliar. Alternatively I suggested that if our trainer was okay with it I could come there to give the test. The only one of my dogs who passed a CGC test in a strange place was Javelin and that was with a very nice evaluator who let me take an extra shot at the supervised separation.
This is very encouraging as I鈥檓 pretty sure he will be will be taking the test where we train and he is comfortable and familiar with the place as he鈥檚 taken a fair number of classes there. I guess I will know for sure tomorrow. 馃槉
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, here鈥檚 Bobby as we leave for class. The place we train is just a few blocks away so we walk there. I know...I am very lucky. 馃槉 Bobby looks so serious and grown up here.

This first day of class went much better than I expected. For anyone that may remember the 鈥淥ne Evil Fly,鈥 story, I did have flies in the back of my brain. We decided to go to the opposite end of the room from where we were during the fly fiasco. No fly problems but I did notice Bobby looked at the ceiling a few times. It was all good though.

We worked through all the things they will be tested on to see how well they could do and of course practice. He did fairly well! Some things he did great on! He is easily distracted so when dogs were really close he wanted to sniff, pull a bit and didn鈥檛 listen super good but we were able to get back on track. He also got a little silly and too happy when the trainer 鈥済roomed鈥 him. Ha!!!! It鈥檚 because Bobby loves his grooming sessions. He said it was all good though and that it shouldn鈥檛 be an issue.

I worked hard at calmness and after we practiced I just let him settle rather than keep working him like they always encourage you to do. That really helps Bobby as when you push too much he tends to have a hard time and lose focus.
This made a big difference. Like the typical poodle, he really does get bored after too many repetitions. We practiced 鈥渟ettles鈥 as we waited.

All in all, I was very pleased and encouraged. They will be tested right at the training place so that was really good to hear. It was a good training day. 馃槉

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Good job. I am sure you will do just fine.
 

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Just finished the second CGC class. Bobby did quite well on everything except for the 鈥渆pic fail鈥 when we were walking and passing other dogs. Basically walking was great but the quite close passing of other dogs is the most difficult part for him. This does not surprise me as other dogs are a trigger for him. Now, all he wants to do is say 鈥淗i鈥 and play but passing other dogs is still a struggle. Because of this, our 鈥渂ubble鈥 during our walks is a bit larger than the class and test allow so walking elsewhere is generally good. If the bubble is too small he wants to pull and doesn鈥檛 listen. I have been trying to get closer to other dogs during our walks but we still have to have a decent amount of distance, about two sidewalks worth. He did better during the second half of the 鈥渨alk鈥 at least. So we shall see. We have another class before the test and hopefully it will go better. He actually did better last week when we passed the dogs. Inconsistency is still an issue for him though. I don鈥檛 worry for this in general as he is improving all the time and he really is a pretty well trained dog but he may need more maturity and practice before he can pass the CGC test. It鈥檚 anybody鈥檚 guess right now. I鈥檓 trying not to be discouraged. Even if he doesn鈥榯 pass I need to celebrate how far we have come, knowing that he can always take the test again.

We also had a weird thing where he barked at one of the handlers in the class. Now I don鈥檛 blame Bobby at all. She left her dog with the instructor and as she was walking across the room, passing the handlers and their dogs she pointed slowly and looked rather intensely at each dog. I think she was trying to be cute and say, 鈥滺i鈥 to each dog but it got a couple of dogs excited and Bobby barked. Thank goodness it was only once and I got control quickly. Not quite sure why she did that as we are all working hard to keep our dogs calm and settled. This didn鈥檛 help. She passed by us twice again although she didn鈥檛 point. I just kept Bobby in a settle and stood between him and her and he was great so that was actually a success for us.
Other than the 鈥渨alking fail鈥 it really was a another good day of training. He鈥檚 sacked out on the kitchen floor now. Between two nice walks today and class he鈥檚 tired. 馃槈
 

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It sounds as though you are doing fine. You are getting to see what you will really need to practice. As far as passing other dogs I hope the instructor is keeping dogs on the outside passing each other. I never test (or have people practice) dog next to dog passes, just people in the middle and dogs on the outside. Remember you can talk to Bobby to support him sticking with you. For the greeting a person with their dog I encourage the handlers to tell their dogs to sit when they approach each other and when I give tests I hve my assistant walk with Lily as the neutral dog.

The walk and point is a good way to train/proof seeing a stranger so that is what I would use that as an opportunity to work on.

Your attitude is great and I am sure you will have success and probably be just fine the first time through. Note that the report form notes pass and needs more work (not fails).
 
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I am looking forward to seeing a message that Bobby has earned his CGC - you are doing a great job with him!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It sounds as though you are doing fine. You are getting to see what you will really need to practice. As far as passing other dogs I hope the instructor is keeping dogs on the outside passing each other. I never test (or have people practice) dog next to dog passes, just people in the middle and dogs on the outside. Remember you can talk to Bobby to support him sticking with you. For the greeting a person with their dog I encourage the handlers to tell their dogs to sit when they approach each other and when I give tests I hve my assistant walk with Lily as the neutral dog.

The walk and point is a good way to train/proof seeing a stranger so that is what I would use that as an opportunity to work on.

Your attitude is great and I am sure you will have success and probably be just fine the first time through. Note that the report form notes pass and needs more work (not fails).
Thank you. Yes, absolutely we are seeing what we need to work on. There have been some pleasant
surprises too. He鈥檚 super good at almost most everything except being close to other dogs during the walk. He does pretty good with 鈥渟ettling鈥 close to dogs.

Yes, the passing of the other walking dog is happening on the outside. Humans are in the middle and the dogs are on the outside. He鈥檚 fine with that. It鈥檚 the dogs that we had to go by who were waiting their turn on the other side, his left. They are pretty close to him. One of the dogs was a happy young golden whom I鈥檓 sure, wanted to say, 鈥淗ello.鈥 Bobby had to walk by a row of dogs on one side and then another row on the way back, although he did better walking back as I was able to get him to refocus. The walking session was at the end of the class too so I guess it was all a bit too much for him. I did talk to him but he tuned me out. I know we just need more practice and maturity. He鈥檚 still a silly excitable poodle at times.

Yes, the walk and point thing was a good stranger training opportunity as periodically he does get spooked. I was actually happy that when she walked by again I was able to help him not bark again. He only barked the one time. It just took me by surprise that this person did that as she wasn鈥檛 an instructor and he surprised me by barking.

Thank you for your words of encouragement. I鈥檓 going to try to get him to our pet store and practice walking closer to other dogs. We still have two weeks. 馃槉
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Today was the last CGC class and one week to go before the test. I thought for sure it was going to be a bad day. Even after a nice walk earlier in the morning, when we were walking to class he started turning into 鈥渟illy, jumpy, pully dog鈥 and was walking very poorly and distracted. I鈥檓 thinking now that he was knowing we were going to class and was excited as literally, as we entered the door into the training area he was a totally new dog and ready to work. He had the best day ever!

We did a mock test today and he did great! I didn鈥檛 give him a single treat the whole time. I am encouraged but always knowing every day is a new day so it ain鈥檛 over until it鈥檚 over but I鈥檓 feeling
way better than I was last week. 馃槉 He did great walking by the other dogs! Over the week I changed up a couple of things and I think those changes helped tremendously! I put on a thin Martingale and set it high up on the neck and that really helped with control. He just seemed to listen and respond better. I used it all week and purposely walked closer than we usually do when we are passing other dogs during our walks. I also was more business like in my approach. I tend to chatter and be happy, which for a lot of things is great, but for serious walking I decided a more business like approach would possibly work better. It definitely did. I should know this as as this is the approach we take at Home Depot and he walks there like a charm. Not sure why it took me this long to apply that approach in the classroom setting.

So there鈥檚 the update and I will keep working on things this week. I鈥檓 actually feeling more excited now rather than nervous. We were super calm during the mock test today and he was wonderfully settled when he was waiting his turn so hoping and praying it will be the same next week!
Wish us well! 馃槉
 

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Hoping for a good news update with test results soon.
 
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Yay!!!! We did it!!! But then a funny thing happened....Bobby totally decided during our walk back to be a crazy dog, definitely not a Canine Good Citizen dog on the way home. I think he had had enough of be being such a good boy. 馃ぃ So that is the end of Bobby鈥檚 official CGC journey. Of course we will continue to learn and train and when classes become available after the pandemic slows down we will start the therapy dog training journey. I really have the hope and dream that he will be able to be
a therapy dog that the kids at the library and the local schools can read to.
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Congratulations. That is wonderful news. If you want to do something to get a step up on therapy dog training a CGCA might be a good next goal.
 
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