So I had Zachary out One More Time for what will probably be his last major outing before the Canine Good Citizen Test tonight. This time we were at a glorious, large, outdoor nursery, filled with thousands of plants, dozens of people, a few dogs, some huge oaks with squirrels, and lots of rattly shopping carts - making it, by far, the "hardest" place we've been to (from a Good Citizen point-of-view.)
While there, we were able to practice just about everything except the thing he is most likely to fail (Supervised Separation) plus Grooming (which he should be fine with) and Recall (which, barring a total disaster, he should also be fine with.)
His "friendly stranger" behaviors (including walking through crowds and narrow isles) were spot on. He was a joy to be with and he made me extremely proud. We even had a few chances to practice the formal "May I Pet Your Dog" (since a few people actually thought to ask first) and he was perfect.
(One has to know Beau (who suffers from Acute Obsessive Compulsive Friendliness Disorder) to truly appreciate the magnitude of my joy and pride.)
Zachary's Loose Leash walking remains a work in progress. He actually walks quite nicely with a cart, but still finds walking without one past extremely tempting objects (those huge squirrel-filled oaks mentioned above) to be a challenge.
I didn't get a great test opportunity of his Reaction to Another Dog. He did get a meet-n-greet with an adorable four month old Border Collie puppy (who desperately wanted to go home with Zachary and was quite disappointed when he realized it wasn't meant to be)- but as that happened before I realized the puppy was even there, there was no chance to see if Zachary would have listened to me in the puppy's presence.
We had another chance with a shy Westie and Zachary basically listened to me... sort of... but that could have been due to the moderating influence of the cart.
His final opportunity was when we were in line checking out, when an older small dog came up behind us. Zachary stayed with me and greeted the dog after he reached us. Not per the test, but since Zachary didn't go out to meet him, instead waiting with me until the dog approached, I remain at least a little hopeful (or perhaps I'm just delude myself.)
The rattly shopping carts, including ones filled with large swaying shrubs, were (surprisingly) not a problem. Walking past kids also wasn't a problem (although he was definitely yearning to say "Hi!"). Standing with me when a quiet kid was 3 feet away wasn't a problem. Standing in line wasn't a problem. Coming when called (after he wandered out to the end of the leash) wasn't a problem.
So, while he may not pass the test tonight, in the Real Life hardest-typical-case-he-will-probably-be-asked-to-be-in test, he passed with flying colors.