Today is the big day. Today at 6:30pm, Jack will take his Canine Good Citizen test. This is his first time attempting it.
What are the expectations? The official AKC requirements are as follows (copied from alicesdogschool.com):
TEST 1: ACCEPTING A FRIENDLY STRANGER
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.
TEST 2: SITTING POLITELY FOR PETTING
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. The dog should sit at the handler’s side as the evaluator approaches and begins to pet the dog on the head and body only. The dog may stand in place to accept petting. The dog must not show any shyness or resentment.
TEST 3: APPEARANCE AND GROOMING
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit a stranger, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog, then combs or brushes the dog, and lightly examines the ears and each front foot.
TEST 4: OUR FOR A WALK (Walking on a loose leash)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler, whichever the handler prefers. There must be a left turn, a right turn and an about turn, with at least one stop in between and at the end. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops.
TEST 5: WALKING TROUGH 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, without appearing overly exuberant, shy or resentful. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not be straining at the leash.
TEST 6: SIT AND DOWN ON COMMAND/STAYING IN PLACE
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s command to sit and down, and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to make the dog sit and then down. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of a 20-foot line. The dog must remain in place, but may change positions.
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 then call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell the dog to “stay” or “wait” or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog as the evaluator provided mild distraction (e.g. petting).
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 10 yards, stop, shake hands, exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 5 yards. The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each other.
TEST 9: REACTION TO DISTRACTIONS
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations, such as the dropping of a large book or a jogger running in front of the dog. The dog may express a natural interest and curiosity and/or appear slightly startled, but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness or bark.
TEST 10: SUPERVISED SEPARATION This test demonstrates that the dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain its 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 3 minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position, but should not continually bark, whine, pace or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness.
My greatest concerns come from number 4 and number 8, walking on a loose leash and passing another dog calmly. The thing is, I know he can do both of them, but I’m not sure how strictly they grade. For instance, whenever we practice walking on a loose leash, he can stay with me but for some reason he cannot grasp the idea of turning a corner with me and so ends up continuing to walk in a straight line until he meets the end of the leash, no matter how much I gently guide him otherwise… doofus.
Other dogs concern me because he’s so hit or miss. Some dogs I swear it’s like he doesn’t see them, but then he’ll get insanely interested in other dogs! When under the “heel/my side”command”, he usually listens well enough to not try and cross over me too much, but it really all depends on the temperament of the other dog. (Which I’m sure will be fine, but I still can’t help but worry, naturally.)
I feel pretty confident about everything else. He is shy, but he’s not aggressive in any way, and he’s gotten miles better at being accepting of strangers petting him without shying away or getting scared.
Well, anyway, I need to get back to some last minute prep training! Wish us luck!