Last night was the first night of Canine Good Citizen Class for Zachary. This is his second try at this class, the first being over a year ago, and I have at least some hope that he will be able to pass the test in six weeks (four more classes, a week off, and then the test)
Once again, here's the Reader's Digest version of the test:
2. Sitting politely for petting
3. Appearance and grooming
4. Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
5. Walking through a crowd
6. Sit and down on command and Staying in place
7. Coming when called
8. Reaction to another dog
9. Reaction to distraction
10. Supervised separation
Last night we worked on 1, 2, 4, and 6.
The Good: #6 (basic commands). All that Training Level's stuff is paying off. I expected him to sit and down without issue (and he did) but then he held his down-stay like a champ as I walked out and back in 5' increments until reaching 20'. All this while sitting in a line with dogs he's never met before. I was tickled and pleased - positively glowing!
Sit-Stay was a smidge harder, as he's been going down on his sits lately, and sure enough he went down while I went out 15', but that was his only "blip" After resetting, he remained seated while I repeated the exercise and went on to 20'.
(Thankfully, CGC doesn't care how they stay just so long as they don't leave their spot and I would definitely put him in a down-stay for the test.)
The Bad: (ok... not really bad, more a so-so...)
Ah the "friendly stranger" exercises (#1 and 2).
Zachary was more than happy to greet the stranger, but alas, that isn't the point of the exercise. After a few fits and starts, I tried something new - a solid "Leave it!" as the "stranger" approached (Stranger Zen!)
What do you know, but it worked! Yes, I then went on to repeat the command every two seconds (bad handler) but gosh, darn it, I was just so excited that it actually worked!
After being duly chastised for repetitive commands, I tried again with a single "Leave it!" while the "stranger" approached and my boy was "passable". Lots of snuffling and attempts to lick the strangers hand while being petted, but the butt stayed on the ground, the paws never moved, and that's all that's needed.
The Ugly: And yes, this was ugly - #4 (out for walk). This was sort of a "my bad". Zachary uses a no-pull harness. Zachary likes his no-pull harness. Zachary is pretty good on his no-pull harness.
CGC doesn't allow a no-pull harness.
Plan B: The martingale.
Beau uses a martingale. Beau likes his martingale. Beau is pretty good on his martingale.
... it seems Zachary believes collars are for lesser life forms.
Ah well, something to work on for next week.
Other observations (in no particular order):
* Zachary still whines when bored/ignored in class. Not a problem for the CGC test itself, but something I should address as part of his overall education.
* He seems to be handling his Big Boy hormones at lot better now. He still foams around heavy urine smells (ie. walking by the front of the Vet Clinic) but seemed to have no trouble concentrating in the training yard itself. At just 2 years old, he's light years ahead of Beau on that.
* I'm very curious how recalls are going to go. Will he come, or will he wander off to smell the wonderful doggie smells? Perhaps next week we'll find out!
* Outdoor classes aren't nearly as cold when you are pleased with how your student is doing.