So, what is this test all about? Basically, there are ten tests that your dog must pass and your evaluator has been specially trained and certified to give and judge the test. And you can't use food to reward, which might be challenging for us. But, you can offer praise and talk to your dog throughout the test.
So, which ones do I think Levi will ace?
Test 4: Out for a walk (loose leash walking). I don't think we'll have a problem with this. I've mentioned before that we have the opposite of a pulling dog-a stubborn dog that you have to pull and coax when he wants to sniff.
Test 5: Walking through a crowd. We should be good here too. We take Levi to all sorts of events and live in the city and walk through the crowded CWE with him all the time. In other words, we've had a lot of practice.
Test 6: Sit down and stay in place. He has to sit and down on command. The only thing I'm concerned about is that he is so spoiled that he doesn't like to lay down on hard surfaces. That's something we'll have to work on in case they don't roll out the red carpet for him. He can stay in either the sit or the down (it will be sit for us) and you walk away and walk back while he stays in position. We practice this a lot, so I think he'll do okay.
Test 8: Reaction to another dog. Basically, you walk up to another person with a dog and shake hands, exchanging pleasantries. You don't want your dog to totally spazz out at the sight of a potential friend. I think we'll be okay on this. We practiced this in Superdog class and he was fine. It kind of depends on the energy of the other dog, so hopefully there won't be a spazzy dog doing the test with him.
So, which tests do I think will be the hardest for him?
Test 10: Supervised separation. Basically, I hand the leash over to a stranger and go out of sight for three minutes. Levi can't act overly nervous or whine or bark. Since Levi doesn't love strangers as it is, I don't know how he will do with this. They recommend practicing by putting him in a stay and leaving his sight for a bit, working up to three minutes. Hopefully we'll get some more tips in class.
Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger. Like I said, Levi doesn't love strangers. In fact, he loves very few people and he has to know you very well to love you. We will be lucky to have a female "stranger" since he's more accepting of women than men. As long as the person isn't doing anything "scary" like swinging his arms around or yelling, Levi should be okay. He can just be fearful with some people.
Test 2: Sitting politely for petting. Well, this goes along with Test 1. He did great at Petsmart yesterday when a girl was kissing him and going crazy over how much she loved him. Again, we'd love a female stranger for this test.
Test 3: Appearance and grooming. Again with the strangers. They look him over to make sure he's healthy (to simulate a vet visit), look in his ears, and pick up his front feet. And then they brush him. Hopefully we practice this one a lot in class!
And there are two that could really go either way.
Test 7: Coming when called. Levi does not have the best recall in the world. And since we can't have food, I'm not sure how this will go. He didn't like doing this in class because the trainers would hold onto him and I think it was more him trying to get away from them than him coming to me. But then again, sometimes he's great on the recall, so who knows?
Test 9: Reaction to distraction. Basically, they tip over a chair or roll a dolly by the dog to see if he reacts. I think he will be fine with this because he's not fearful of things like that, but more of actual people he perceives as scary. We worked on this in our other classes and he did really well. But then again, I also had an unlimited supply of hot dogs and cheese, so we'll see.
It looks like there's a test on 3/14, so we will probably take it then if we feel like he's ready. Or, we might continue working on the various skills and take it in June. If you fail, you can take it again, so that's comforting. Anyone out there have a CGC-titled dog? What was your experience?
Surely all I have to do is show them this picture (our 2009 Christmas card) and he will pass with flying colors, right?