By Harley D
Harley D here reporting from the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen test in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. This is the most excitement I have had all week! My Mom signed me up to take my Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test this morning and it was almost as exciting as the dog show last weekend. But different too!
The CGC test has you perform the basic tasks that are needed to be well behaved everywhere we go. A trained dog is accepted and respected in a lot more places than a wild, poorly behaved one! We have been practicing since I arrived in Wisconsin and I can do this. Two of the differences between the dog show and the CGC test are that you don’t have to be a registered purebred to participate. In fact I met two new friends this morning of mixed breeds and they passed the test too! And instead of one or two winners, everyone who comes out to try is a winner! It is not competitive and you either pass the exercise or you need to work on it some more. No losers here!
I started out my day waiting for my Mom to fill out the test form information and then watching some of the other dogs go through the stations while I waited my turn. There are 10 test exercises in all and our test had these grouped into four stations. We were watching to see how the test was run so we would know how to do each part. I had on my brand new buckle collar and matching leash because I found out all the exercises are done on lead and you can’t use pinch collars or head collars or Flexi-leads. I also found out that talking is okay but I couldn’t get treats while I was taking my test. Go figure!
So I watched several dogs go through their test and they did awesome! Then the dog before me went in for her turn. At the very first station, she growled and snapped at the evaluator! (Gasp! I was appalled!) She was dismissed from the test and had to leave. Then it was my turn. They called out “Harley D, Biewer Terrier.” And we went into the ring. Time to take a test!
At the first station we had to complete three of the 10 exercises: Item 1, Accepting a Friendly Stranger, when the evaluator walked up to talk to my Mom. She told me to sit and stay and I sat quietly by her side and didn’t jump up and try to push between them. My Mom was so happy and told me I am a smart boy. Then we went right into Item 2, Sitting Politely for Petting. The evaluator asked my Mom if she could pet me, and of course the answer was a big “Yes!” I got a reminder to sit and stay and the nice lady petted my head, down my back, and over my side. I think I am falling in love! Then the last exercise at this station, Item 3, Appearance and Grooming. I was put up on the grooming table for this one. My Mom had brought one of my own brushes to use. The evaluator brushed my neck, back, and sides, looked in both my ears , and picked up each of my front feet to touch them. I passed all three exercises! I AM a good dog!
We walked over to the second station where we did three more of the exercises: Item 4, Out for a Walk, where I had to walk with my Mom on a loose leash to prove that I will follow her movement and change directions. We had to walk in a straight line, do a right turn, an about turn, and a left turn. When she stopped, I had to stop too but I didn’t have to sit. Mom talked to me while we were walking to remind me to stay right by her and not sniff or get distracted. She praised me for listening and doing what she said. I do like that! Then we went right into Item 6, Sit and Down on Command and Stay in Place. So this got a bit tricky. I remembered how to sit when she told me to, but had a small memory lapse when she told me to “down.” I sat there wagging my tail and looking cute. When she told me a second time to “down,” it suddenly came to me and I did it! But that is one of the nice things about a CGC test, you can have a second try at getting it right. Then it was time for the hard one … the stay at 20 feet. I had to have the long line hooked to my collar, my Mom told me to “sit” and then to “stay” and she walked away to the end of the 20 foot line. She was sooooo far away! But then she got to come back to me. I got so excited that I stood up. But luckily I didn’t walk toward her so I still passed that one. Then we did Item 7, Coming When Called. This one was a piece of cake! My Mom had me sit and stay and only went half way down the long line to the 10 foot knot. She called me and I went flying right to her to get scooped up and give kisses! Three more exercises passed!
At the third station we got to work with lots of people and even another dog. These were my favorites! For Item 5, Walking Through a Crowd, I had to walk right through a group of walking people. Two of them were standing and talking and then three more were walking together and talking. My Mom talked to me and reminded me to stay by her and I totally ignored all of those other people. Then we had to walk past a lady in a wheel chair and a boy pushing a shopping cart and ringing a doorbell! Aced it! Then on to Item 8, Reaction to Another Dog, to show how good I am at ignoring other dogs. My Mom and I started walking and a man with an Akita came walking toward us. The humans stopped, shook hands, talked (like humans often do) and then we got to finish walking again. I am soooo good at ignoring big, hairy dogs that it made my Mom smile and tell me I am her best boy!
And then … we were down to one more station, Item 10, Supervised Separation. My Mom walked me into a room where a lady was sitting in a chair. The lady offered to watch me and Mom told me to “Wait here. I’ll be back.” Just like she does when she has to go to work or run to the bathroom at a public event. So I sat on the floor and watched the door she went through and waited. Then 3 minutes later, she did come back! And I had passed my last exercise and didn’t even know it!
So now I am a new AKC Canine Good Citizen … you can just call me Harley D, CGC!