Sunday, March 9, 2014

AKC Community Canine Test!

Perri and I went out for her AKC Community Canine test (Canine Good Citizen Advanced) today.  I chose the absolute worst venue to do this test at.   Oops.  Eight dollars to park, ten dollars to get in.  Pet expo type environment crawling with the dog-clueless general public.  It was loud.  Perri was completely gone.  I had no dog.  No focus.  She was "floating" as I say, barely aware of my existence.  I anticipated this type of behavior and arrived a full hour early.  Just so we could walk around, share some Zukes, come back to earth.  My hopes weren't high as we headed over to the registration table and I chalked it up to yet another thing I rushed headlong into with too much enthusiasm and not enough preparation.  (Did I mention my confidence is a delicate thing these days?)  Perri was ever so slightly more relaxed but still leash pulling, still bug eyeing other dogs and dodging away from them.

I sat down to fill out my paperwork and asked Perri to Sit-Stay.  This is one of the steps in the test.  Your dog needs to be "under your control" while you sit and fill out paperwork, or sit down and eat a snack.  Pass.  Perri did stand up, but stood gently and waited for me to finish the paperwork.

Then we moved into the crowd.  We had to do some walking with change of pace and direction.  Left turn, right turn, sit.  Slow pace, fast pace.  Perri was slightly distracted and I had to ask her twice to sit but she was a lot more connected with me than I thought she would be.  The pace changes she was full out working with me.

We had to loose leash walk through a crowd.  This went really well and the leash stayed loose.  When we finished I turned back around to return to the evaluator and Perri had zoned out at some large dog and I bumped into her, but we had thankfully passed the step.

Then we had to "Stand in a group with other dog owners with dog under control."  The evaluator asked a man holding three aussies and a woman holding a standard poodle to participate in this.  I had to ask Perri to sit twice and but she did sit and she stayed.

The next thing we did was challenging.  The test indicates that you will be approached by someone carrying a bag, they will approach and ask to pet your dog and put the bag down.  The dog must stay under control and not touch the bag.   The evaluator chose a man pushing his handicapped daughter in a stroller complete with service dog in training walking with them.  He pushed the stroller up to Perri and she handled that really well, and stayed sitting while he petted her.  The service dog (in training!) approached Perri and sniffed and at that point she did stand up, but she was still polite.  That was hard!

We returned to the CGC testing alcove for the remainder of the steps.
Recall with distraction.  I left Perri in a Sit-Stay on a 20 foot line (the stay is one of the steps as well.) and did a recall while the evaluator attempted to distract her.  She paid no mind and as soon as I released her she exploded towards me, claws scrambling for purchase on the slippery tile and slammed into a perfect front.  My goodness! (I did not ask her for a front and I was charmed that she did that.)

Next was "Leave it".  We have been working hard on Leave It.  We had to walk past a pile of kibble on the ground and Leave It.  We walked, Perri saw the kibble, I said "Leave It" and she paused ever so slightly as I kept walking and tilted her head sideways at the kibble and kept walking towards me and wagged her tail.  Wow, poodle!  I was really proud of this one.

And finally was the last step, you must approach a doorway and ask your dog to sit.  You go through the door and then allow the dog to follow you through.  Easy peasy and...PASS!

I was absolutely amazed that Perri passed the steps that involved walking nicely and keeping her cool around other dogs.  Perri is so-so in public situations with other dogs, but the environment absolutely freaked her out upon arrival and I feel so encouraged that she was able to come back from that.  I can still see that we have miles and miles to go before we re attempt the Obedience Ring.  Before we trial in agility.  I need to be able to walk around places and not have her float away from me mentally.  We need more focus.  More connection, more relationship.   We both need more trust in each other, and more confidence in ourselves.  We will get there, one day at a time.  But this day we accomplished something I am proud of.

People have asked me, "What's the point?" of this CGCA test.  The point is, Because We Can.

We celebrated with a 4.5 mile off leash hike!


  1. Way to go, Perri!!! Great job, team.

  2. Awesome job!!! I can't imagine doing even the "basic" CGC test in an environment like that!