|Oliver May Enjoy this Greeting|
But it's Not Allowed on Test Two
Now that I've been through this exam with three different trainers/testers and seen the variations in execution, I have a different perspective. First, let's talk about the test. Test Two requires your dog to sit politely for a petting. Sounds simple, right? Not so much when it came to my dogs, Tanner and Oliver. Their little butts popped off the floor the minute they realized that a human was coming to greet them. Xena was fortunate to have the calmness that comes with being 13, so she was successful when at 2 or 3 she, too, would have struggled with this test.
Some of the CGC administrators will ask the greeter to pet your dog under the chin, as opposed to leaning over your dog and patting it on the head. For many Fidos, this is an important step in getting the desired result. Don't hesitate to ask for this, if your dog is noticeably more comfortable with a neck rub than a head pat; he's not alone.
It may seem odd, but I've now realized that highly socialized dogs have a tougher time with this test than those that are a bit more aloof. Who knew?!!
If your pooch is not one to mingle with the humans, seeking a belly rub or offering a face wash, then you are among the lucky on test day. As long as your pup is willing to allow a gentle pet without much reaction beyond pleasure (no moving away, no barking, jumping or mouthing) you're more likely to cruise through this test successfully.
Those of you with friendlier dogs may have more challenges. Tanner and Oliver, both young when they tested, found extreme difficulty in keeping their fannies on the ground and their excitement contained. This is where we had to go back to the closest pet store and camp out for more practice in calm greetings. See last week's notes on this strategy.
The other method that helped was to ask the person assigned to greet and pet my dog to avoid eye contact and approach slowly, calmly, and nonchalantly, as opposed to a well-targeted 'walk right up' to my dogs. Somehow catching them off-guard meant I got a little less reaction out of them both. You'd think they were twins from my descriptions, but they are as different as can be.
While practicing at the entrance to our PetSmart I discovered that asking a store visitor for a calm approach helped us get more success, allowing me to reward and praise my dogs for a job well done. They needed that success to begin to connect with what I was trying to accomplish. What else? More practice!
Next week we'll discuss Test Three, which relates to appearance and grooming. Be prepared to learn some new ways to get your Fido ready for a hands on test. See you next week, and remember, keep your practice light and fun. You'll be building a better bond all the way up to test day.
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