CGC Test Stages 9 & 10: Have Confidence, O Canine!

CGC testThese last two stages of the CGC test are all about your dog’s confidence level when put in a strange situation. It’s about how your dog recovers from “distraction” (anything from a person in a wheelchair to a basketball being dribbled to a dude doing a happy dance in the middle of the street) and how your dog behaves when you hand his leash to a stranger and walk out of his sight and hearing (which seems cruel, but could be necessary in case you need to run into the store for a gallon of milk and lose your mind enough to leave your dog with a stranger… or in case you take your dog to the vet, and he needs to stay for some diagnostic work).

CGC test Stage 9: Reaction to Distractions 

The CGC Handbook puts it this way:

“ This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations.

The Evaluator will select two distracters from among the following:

(Since some dogs are sensitive to sound and others to visual distractions, it is preferable to choose one sound and one visual distraction.)

  • A person using crutches, a wheelchair, or a walker (5 ft. away).
  • A sudden opening or closing of a door.
  • Dropping a pan, folded chair, etc. no closer than 5 ft. from the dog.
  • A jogger running in front of the dog.
  • A person pushing a cart or crate dolly
  • passing no closer than 5 ft. away.
  • A person on a bike no closer than 10 away.
  • The dog may show casual interest and may appear slightly startled. The dog may jump slightly but should not panic and pull at the leash to get away.
  • The dog may attempt to walk forward slightly to investigate the distracter.
  • Dogs who become so frightened that they urinate (or defecate) should not pass.
  • Dogs who growl or lunge at the distracter should not pass.
  • An isolated (one) bark is acceptable. Dogs who continue to bark at the distracter should not pass.
  • Handlers may talk to dogs and give encouragement and praise throughout the test. Dogs may be given instructions by the handler (“Sit…good me…”)”

When we’re out in the world with our pups, things may happen that don’t normally happen in our home lives. This is the CGC test to see if your dog can process these strange occurrences and move on without becoming panicked, aggressive, or so amped-up that he could cause a hullaballoo.

To prepare your dog for these situations and this stage of testing, your dog needs to be taught that these “distractions” won’t hurt them.

CGC test Stage 10: Supervised Separation

In our handy-dandy CGC Handbook, they tell us:

“This CGC test demonstrates that a dog can be left in the presence of a trusted person and will maintain its training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, ‘Would you like for me to watch your dog?’

An Evaluator will hold the leash of the dog while the owner goes out of sight for 3 minutes. In the early days of the CGC Program, evaluators were asked to not talk to the dog so that the testing of this skill could be standardized across evaluators. We realize that most owners would not leave their dogs with someone who did not talk to the dog. Evaluators may talk to and pet the dog but should refrain from giving the dog excessive attention, playing with the dog, etc.

  • The dog does not have to stay in position.
  • If the dog continually barks, whines, or howls, it should not be passed.
  • The dog should not pace unnecessarily, should not show signs of agitation.
  • A dog that simply walks back and forth and looks for the handler is passed. There should be no signs of extreme stress, including pant- ing, breathing hard, etc.
  • If a dog begins to look very upset or distressed (barking, whining, panting, pacing, pulling), the test should be terminated. The CGC test is an activity that should be fun.”

This skill comes in handy in situations where we may need to hand our dog over to a person who s/he isn’t familiar with. We want our pups to be comfortable with this. The situations can vary but, most often, it will be when you have to leave your dog with the vet, groomer, or boarding facility. Getting Rover accustomed to being away from you will lower his stress level in these situations and make life easier for you, for him, and for anyone who needs to interact with him when you aren’t there.

For more information on the CGC test, or to get help dealing with your dog’s obedience needs and problems call Guthrie Pet Hospital to set up a meeting with Stefani Fortney, ABCDT; CGC Evaluator. Our number is (405) 282-8796

Here is the whole series, in case you missed one:

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