What is the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and why should I get my dog tested?

Posted by: LaVonne Wilson | February 7, 2017 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Behavior, Dog Events, Dog Training

Going through a training class that focuses on (and tests for) a CGC certification is not only a great way to bond with your dog but will also give them a solid obedience education.

DSC_1020
What is the CGC certification?
The Canine Good Citizen is a program started by the American Kennel Club (AKC) back in 1989 to reward dogs who possess good manners at home as well as in the community.
A class is taken focusing on specific criteria and then your dog is tested afterwards. Here’s what you’ll learn:
TEST 1: ACCEPTING A FRIENDLY STRANGER
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness.

TEST 2: SITTING POLITELY FOR PETTING
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler’s side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

TEST 3: APPEARANCE AND GROOMING
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.

TEST 4: OUT FOR A WALK (WALKING ON A LOOSE LEAD)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog’s position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler’s movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.

TEST 5: WALKING THROUGH A CROWD
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.

TEST 6: SIT AND DOWN ON COMMAND AND STAYING IN PLACE
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog’s leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler’s commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.

TEST 7: COMING WHEN CALLED
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to “stay” or “wait” or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.

TEST 8: REACTION TO ANOTHER DOG
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

TEST 9: REACTION TO DISTRACTION
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.

TEST 10: SUPERVISED SEPARATION
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, “there, there, it’s alright”).
(taken directly from the AKC’s website http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/training/canine-good-citizen/training-testing/ )
Lydia-Amy-Laugh-crop-300x240

What that all means?
Your dog will be a joy to live with! They’ll have better manners around people and other dogs and respond better around the house to your commands. Plus you’ll be providing training that stimulates your dog’s intelligence and makes their quality of life, as well as yours, much better!

What to do after the class and certification?
Many dog owners choose CGC training as the first step in training their dogs. Some go on to work as service dogs while others progress to activities such as agility.
For additional information check out PetMD http://www.petmd.com/dog/training/evr_dg_canine_citizen
Sign up for the next CGC class at Central Bark http://central-bark.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/CB-Spring-2017.pdf

How Training Can Create a Better-Behaved Dog

Posted by: Pack Leader | November 20, 2016 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Behavior, Dog Training

They say that dogs are man’s best friend. But would you want a best friend who bit, barked, and misbehaved? A dog who isn’t trained isn’t going to make many friends, human or otherwise. For that reason, it’s extremely important to put forth the effort to teach your dog to behave correctly. Whether you choose to hire out for Seattle dog training or handle things yourself, here are a few tips and tricks to ensure that your dog cultivates some manners. (more…)

Ask the Trainer: Excessive Barking

Posted by: admin | June 5, 2012 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Behavior, Dog Health, Dog Training

QMy dog barks all the time.  I have tried spray bottles, vinegar, and collars but nothing seems to work in the long run.  What do I do?

A: Dogs bark for many reasons: boredom, stress relief, attention, to scare away bad things, and many more.  I think the one thing all these barky dogs can agree on is that they bark because they’re dogs.  Barking is a totally natural behavior in dogs.  It only becomes a problem when it doesn’t fit into the requirements for human living.  Here are some questions to ask if you are having trouble with barking.

1)  Are all of Fido’s needs being met?  Is your dog getting adequate exercise, attention, mental stimulation, and are their housing and feeding requirements being met?  Remember, your dogs needs are determined by your dog and your dog alone.  An active 2 year old Lab needs more exercise and mental stimulation than a 7 year old Cavalier.  If those needs are not being met, then there’s your barking problem.

2)  Is your dog getting “Doggy Time”?  Dogs have to have an outlet for their doggy behaviors.  They have to dig, bark, chew, play and do zoomies somewhere.  If you don’t give them appropriate outlets for their doggy behaviors, they will find inappropriate ones.

So what do we do now?  15 minutes of hard exercise and 2 minutes of training a day goes a really long way towards making most companion dogs happy.  Putting naughty dog behaviors on cue goes even further.  You can put barking, crazy running, digging, and much more on cue.

  1. Simply say “Bark”
  2. Prompt your dog to bark by ringing the doorbell or doing some other bark-inducing behavior
  3. Tell them what a great ferocious watch dog they are
  4. Get them to “Shush” by prompting them into a sit with a food treat
  5. Praise them for being a wonderful quiet dog

Now you have a happy fulfilled dog that only barks on cue!

 

Ask the Trainer: Recalls

Posted by: admin | March 15, 2012 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Training

Our little terrier mix Sophie is a great dog but she doesn’t always come when called.  We have been though basic training but she still ignores us.  What can we do to make her recall more reliable?

This is a great question and one I love to answer!  Emergency recalls are easy and fun to train and very effective if you follow a few simple rules.

What is an emergency recall?  I use the term “emergency” because I train a recall specifically in case I need to call my dogs out of some dangerous situation.  I need them to turn and fly back to me immediately.  I also need to be able to catch and leash them when they return.

Are there non-emergency recalls?  Absolutely!  I train a formal obedience “Front” for my competition dogs and I use a casual leg pat to let my dogs know that I am changing directions or pace and they need to pay attention.

Here’s how you train it…

Step 1.  Call your dog loudly once “Fido COME!”

Step 2. Reward your dog for atleast 5 seconds.

Step 3.  Repeat once every few days in different places.

The rules to keep your dog coming…

Always reward.  I like to continue rewarding for my emergency recalls to keep the behavior strong.  Use different toys, treats, and games.  Switch it up to keep it interesting.

Never punish.  Always calling your dog for a nail trim, to leave the dog park, or go in the dreaded crate are all great ways to make your dog run away from you when it hears the word “come”.

Rewards should be engaging.  Playing tug, tossing treats up for your dog to catch, or pulling out a spoonful or wet dog food are all ways to get your dog to stay with you, not just check-in and then disappear off again.

Now you’re on your way to an amazing emergency recall.  Good luck and happy training!

The Results are in for Dog Training!

Posted by: admin | February 28, 2012 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Behavior, Dog Events, Dog Training, Uncategorized

We asked what you wanted from our training program and you told us.  You wanted to brush-up on your basic manners and wished for more attention and focus from your dogs in general.  You were also interested in taking your sidekick to the next level with fun & games classes that encorporate tricks, agility, and aspects from other dog sports.

Well here it is…

Polite Greetings & No Jump – Teach your dog to sit or stand politely when greeting people.  Learn and practice techniques for greeting on walks, at home, and for visitors

– Sunday March 4th: 1 – 2pm  $10

Leash Walking & No Pull– Learn skills to walk anywhere even under distraction

– Sunday March 25th: 2 – 3pm  $10

Basic Manners – Build a strong training foundation or an obedience
refresher.  This class covers polite greetings and leash walking, attention, and basic obedience cues sit, down, stay, come, leave-it, and more.

– 4 Sundays April 15th, 22nd, 29th, & May 6th: 4 – 5pm   $80

We will have an intro to sports & games class on the agenda as well.  More details to come.  You can enroll via e-mail at info@central-bark.com or by phone at 206.325.3525  See you there!

Ask the Trainer

Posted by: Pack Leader | October 19, 2011 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Behavior, Dog Training

Tucker is a very friendly 3 year old retriever mix that we adopted from the Humane Society.  He has always been great with my three kids and loves playing with other dogs and going to the dog park and has never been in a fight.  Recently he has been barking and pulling towards dogs on our walks.  I thought he just wanted to play but yesterday when he reached the dog he bit it on the face.  What has happened to my sweet Tucker?

What you are experiencing with Tucker is called “reactivity” in the trainer world and it is very common.  Tucker’s reactivity is probably due to a combination of being uncomfortable meeting on leash and feeling frustrated at not being able to greet and play with dogs that he meets.  In this case, having a social butterfly can make the situation even worse because the frustration at not being able to play is even greater.

There are two things that you will need to do to help Tucker’s reactivity.

1)  Teach him that dogs approaching him on leash is awesome and that they are a cue that you are about to dispense awesome cookies and fun games.

How to – Bring tasty treats on your walks with Tucker.  As soon as he sees another dog, say his name and pop a scrumptious treat in his mouth, then walk away.  Treat him the very second he spots that other dog. Before long he will look up at you every time he sees a dog.

2)  Teach him that calm behavior and attention is the key to being able to greet and play with friendly dogs.

How to – Have a helper bring a dog that Tucker knows and likes.  Pick a distance from the other dog where Tucker is distracted but not lunging or barking.  Ask for a sit, wait for him to comply, then release him to go play with his buddy. This exercise works best if both dogs are released at the same time and meet off leash.

I recommend Patricia McConnell’s book Feisty Fido if you want some extra help.  Good luck in your training endeavors!

You can ask the trainer yourself at info@central-bark.com