Note: Test Two located here
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Test #1 is "Accepting a friendly stranger". The best way to practice for this very tough behavior is to get your dog out in public frequently. Camp out at the entrance to your local pet superstore and you'll have plenty of opportunity for practice.
Here's the drill. Fido will have to allow a total stranger to approach you and speak with you in a casual way. He may not bark, jump, show extreme excitement, hide behind you or show fear in other ways. In other words, he has to stay put and shut up.
This one reminds me of that awful rule I had to abide by while a child out to dinner with my family: "Children must be seen and not heard." Your dog may feel the same way.
For friendly dogs and puppies, this is one of the toughest parts of the test. Although it may seem unreasonable, in order to get a CGC certification, your dog will need to acquire the ability to remain calm in all situations, including social ones that may otherwise bring out his exuberance.
Tanner and Oliver, both intensely social dogs, each struggled with this practice. We spent hours greeting people as they entered a pet superstore, and I learned much about the type of person that appeals to each of my dogs. This is one of those learning experiences that does not have a shortcut. The more you practice, the more you will understand how to help your dog manage this calm distance he must project while you chat with a stranger.
Training treats when proper behavior is accomplished, along with calmly praising your dog will help him understand the target behavior. Practice cannot be overdone. Bring a chair and meet your neighborhood!
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