joie de vivre
Join Date: Apr 2009
Dogs Name: Fiona & Tali
Titles: Fiona: CGC; Tali: CGC
Dogs Age: 4.21.09, 5.09.08
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Both my girls have passed the CGC but neither passed until they were adults (in Tali's defense, I didn't get her until she was an adult and in Fiona's defense, she was NUTS as a pup and young dog...not much of a defense but it's all she's got). A lot of dogs breeze through it at a young age but plenty of others fail and have to re-try (we did that) and plenty don't pass until they've matured and calmed down.
I observe and assist a LOT of CGC evaluations and I can tell you 95% of the time that a dog fails the loose-leash walking exercise is because the handler is uptight and dead silent. Maybe they get nervous and their brain shuts down, I don't know, but they will expect their dog to magically loose-leash walk through no effort on their part as though it's a UD ring and their dogs are old pro's. People take it sooooo seriously. It's really not a big deal.
Talk to your dog. Keep their attention on you. Talk in a happy, light-hearted voice - drop any frustration and attitude you may feel creeping up because that will put unnecessary pressure on your dog and they'll likely act out to relieve their own stress. And when you work on it, keep the sessions short. ALWAYS end on a good note. If the dog loose leash walks for 10' - throw him a party! Treats galore! (Or start smaller - 5' of loose leash walking and reward. Build up the distance so he's always successful rather than expecting too much too soon.)
People also tend to walk a little too slowly for their dog resulting in their dog trotting to the end of the leash which most evaluators will see as pulling - but it's handler error. Keep up a good, fun pace for your dog so they don't get too far out ahead of you and they don't get bored with you because you're moving like a snail. So be happy, talk to your dog, and walk a good pace. Tali was in rare form that evening and I made noises at her to keep her attention on me. Quacks, oinks, any kind of random sound effect I could think of - I did it the second it looked like I might lose her focus. LOL
And don't mistake loose leash walking with heeling. The CGC does not require the dogs to heel.
I'd recommend you take it a time or two even if you think you will fail, just so you become familiar with the process and really see what you need to focus on. Your dog may surprise you and be a little rockstar on loose leash walking but try to climb the evaluator in the sit-for-exam. It happens.
When you get in that situation you may be a little nervous or confused about what to do, your dog picks up on that and it affects them. I always encourage people to take it just for the experience (and many people are pleasantly surprised when they take it for experience and then they pass). No one is expecting a formal obedience routine. The evaluator doesn't expect you to blow their mind. They're looking for the basics and they expect some teams to need a little work. It's just for fun.
"If you're going to be stupid, you better be tough." ~unknown
Last edited by brw1982; 12-06-2012 at 02:29 PM.