Saturday, January 17, 2009

CGC class II and Delta Society practice

In the CGC class we worked on a few things that we didn't cover last time.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.
Two people stood in the middle of the room, and we just walked a figure 8 around them. No biggie, Duke's done this before. Need to practice a few more times though, he's a bit rusty and was a bit more excited (and thus was jogging around faster) than I like.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.
First try, Duke got up to follow me. Second try, I walked too far away and pulled on the leash a little. So it wasn't quite fair to him. Third try, I got it right. Yay me.

Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.
Apparently there was a treat on the ground about 2 feet away from where I was standing when I called him. After making sure it didn't go to waste, he strolled on over to where I was. Naughty boy. Guess what we're working on tomorrow?

Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.
This one wasn't too bad. The other dog belongs to one of the trainers, and is very well-behaved. The dogs walk on our left, and are on our outside when we greet and shake hands. As long as pups don't try to barge in front of us, this one isn't too hard.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.
We had several distractions today. The trainer ran around the room with a dolly. Trainer walked around playing with a squeaky toy. Trainer kicked a few toys around the room. Duke did great, even when I asked the trainer to kick the toy closer to him. She kicked it right in front of him, so that it just barely brushed his paw. Then Tim, who was behind us, kicked it back, and it ended up hitting Duke on the rump. He jumped up in surprise. I don't blame him though.

Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright").
Tim and I both had to leave the room for 3 minutes. Duke did amazingly well, but again, Duke knows the trainers, so even when we're not in the room, he knows and trusts people in the room.

Immediately after the CGC class, I rushed back up north to go to a Delta Society practice meeting. The Delta Society registers therapy dogs, and they have a number of interested people in the area. We had a meeting today to cover the material, and so people know what they need to work on to pass the test. Fortunately for me, the Delta Society requirements are very similar to CGC requirements. We did some loose leash walking, practice "leave it" and basic sit/down/stays. It was nice to meet the people in charge of the program though, and they were all impressed with Duke, so he should do well.

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