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Friday, June 8, 2012

Weekly Wag #24: Canine Good Citizen
Tips for Training Preparation

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
Regular Exercise Reduces Behavior Problems
Join Your Dog for Bonding Fun
Part of the process of bonding with your dog is knowing what you can expect of his behavior in any given environment. The time to begin training is when you first acquire your puppy or dog. By the time you have mastered basic training, you'll have begun to form a closeness that will continue to blossom with additional training.

The AKC's Canine Good Citizen certification is one way to evaluate you and your dog's ability to communicate and bring about good behavior both at home and in public. While I'm not a dog trainer, I've been through the program with both Tanner and Oliver, and would like to share some observations and tips for helping you get through this more advanced behavior class with your dog. I guarantee you it's worth it.

I'll go through each of the 10 parts of the test, touching on things I've learned that can be useful in training for, and passing, each section. If you have questions along the way, feel free to chime in. If I can't answer them, I'll send them along to our Ask the Dog Trainer columnist, Michael Baugh.

Comments left at our initial Weekly Wag post qualify for quarterly drawings. You can find that post easily by clicking on the button in each post and the sidebar, or the Weekly Wag link.

Before I dive into the skills you'll be teaching your dog, I'd like to share some tips for preparing him for class. Most of these ideas were picked up as ways to solve the problems I experienced in each class. Your dog's particular behavior will affect what you may need to do to help him succeed.

Tanner and Oliver both were each quite young when we studied for the CGC. That said, they had unending energy. Think EverReady Bunny. Quelling that enthusiasm they each brought to class took preparation. I walked each of the boys 3 times a day at length. We biked, we ran at the dog park, and we socialized extensively with people and dogs everywhere we went. 

The result? By the time we arrived at our evening classes, the boys were too pooped to get extremely excited about all the social opportunities that were presented.That's not to say they still didn't misbehave, but they certainly were less vigorous in their efforts.
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There's a fine line between a tired dog and a sleeping one. Once I showed up for agility class with little Oliver well prepared--so I thought--to calmly take on the course. Instead he crawled into his crate, and with his actions announced he intended to nap off his exhaustive day! 

During my last CGC class I discovered the joys of Doggie Daycare and how much the all day, free-play could help to calm the dogs' energy and bring us to class in a somewhat quieter fashion. The other benefit, of course, was that I did not arrive totally exhausted from trying to wear out a pup with nearly all day exercise. There's a lot to be said for this approach, although it won't work in all situations.

We've discovered that Doggie Daycare is not Doggie Daycare everywhere. So if you check into one facility and find the playtime is highly limited or billed in 15 minute time frames, keep looking. Everywhere I go there are different arrangements. Find the one that fits your needs and you'll have found a way to solve many of your Fido's problems. I'll see you next week to begin with some tips for Test number one. This week would be a good time to assess your pup's energy level and greeting skills honestly. What would you like to accomplish if and when you decide to train him for the Canine Good Citizen certification?

Happy tails!

This post is part of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop hosted by Life with DogsTwo Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume. You are welcome to link up here, or check any of their sites for their rules of participation. Happy hopping! 


FANCY the Red Standard Poodle said...

Hi Y'all,

How y'all doin'? Just hoppin' by to visit. Hope y'all have been enjoying a fantastic week and are enjoying your weekend!

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

Richard the expert dog and puppy trainer said...

A lot of people are not aware that dogs tend to get stressed too and this also leads to behaviour problems. Exercise definitely does a good job in helping a dog get rid of the excess energy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tanner, Hey Oliver, Jet here. Hi Miss Carrie.

You always provide such great advice... wish Mom had enough time to follow all of your great tips! We'll be watching for your CGC posts!

evie said...

my oldest has her gc which could not believe she got b/c i had not done much w/ her. i think she was only abt 2yrs old...and they had it at a retail store in the mall, w/ lots of traffic and people.
however, my 2 younger ones, i dont think they would pass, i cant trust them w/out a leash, i live in an area w/ too many things and wild animals for them not to take off, you know how terriers are...

evie said...

i have a question for anyone...not really related to this post, cg, but i did not know where to ask. i dog sit for a friend's min. schnauzer when she goes out of town. i have never had a problem w/ fleas in the 12 yrs i have lived at my house, ticks, chiggers, yes, but never fleas...i have had her dog several times. since the first time, over a yr ago, i still have not been able to get fully rid of the fleas...i refused to keep her last time, but this time, she told me she was perfectly free of fleas and gave her a bath, which i could tell she did not, i found fleas on her as soon as she left, now my girls have fleas again and now i am going to have to wash everything, spray, no chemicals, etc. how and what do i say to her....i hit around that i have never had fleas until i kept her dog but it goes right over her head....she is a good friend so i do not want to cause any problems, but i am tired of the fleas, it is time consuming to clean everything, wash the dogs w/ special soaps, spray them constantly w/ homeopathic or natural things...i have used advantix on the oldest but not the younger two, even that has not gotten rid of the fleas off what do i tell my friend...i am so mad and very disappointed in her....

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