Friday, July 6, 2012

Dog Appearance and Grooming:
CGC Test #3

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© Karin Beil via
Lucky Gets a Good Brushing
Thanks for joining us once again for our series on preparing your dog for the Canine Good Citizen exam by the AKC. Well, clearly I need to go back to school too. Am I the only one that noticed I completely skipped Test #3? BOL!!

The purpose of test 3 is to assure that your dog will accept a friendly stranger for grooming. This stranger may be a vet, friend, testing assistant, or groomer, and must be able to check your dog's ears and teeth, handle his paws and pads to check for cuts or ticks, gently run his hands over the dog's body to check for wounds, ticks or painful areas, check the tail, and brush the dog gently. 

Many CGC testers will allow you to bring your own brush. I highly recommend this for your dog's comfort level. He is likely to recognize his own brush if you use if often enough, and this will signal a positive experience if you have done your job to prepare him at home.

Although a long list, these procedures may be completed in just a couple of minutes and need not be extremely invasive. That said, if your dog has not been used to handling by you or a groomer, this test may made him a bit testy, (pun intended) making the test tougher to pass. He is not allowed to pull away from the tester, mouth her, bark, or show any aggression.

To prepare your dog for this test you'll need to get started now with a daily routine of simple grooming activities done by you. Gradually build up from gentle touching to brushing and checking each area that must be inspected: ears, teeth, body, paws/pads, tail.

Pads are often the most sensitive and this test will vary by examiner. Once Oliver's 6'6" tester shoved his very large thumb in between Oliver's tiny pads, eliciting a squeal of pain. This was quite a surprise as Oliver had his pads manipulated from a young age to assure he would always allow exam between his pads. Never before had he responded in this way. Obviously this reaction meant a failure of the test on that occasion. :(

Retesting with a gentler tester proved successful. If your first experience brings a similar result in only one or two tests, retesting with a new examiner is frequently worthwhile.

Preparing your dog to accept the mouth exam is generally easier than expected, much to my surprise. I have noted that each tester performed a simple maneuver whereby he held (hopefully gently) the dog's snout closed with one hand, while lifting the lips near the jaw to inspect the back teeth. I have not witnessed a tester lift the front of a dog's mouth or attempt to open the dog's mouth for a tongue inspection. I suppose this is a good safety measure.

Some dogs prefer not to have their ears handled and this can become an issue in the exam. Stroking, caressing and brushing your dog's ears on a regular basis often allows this action to become one that Fido finds pleasurable. That should be your goal in preparing your dog for this simple exam, where the tester will handle and lift the dog's ear to peer inside as a veterinarian may do.

Weekly Wag ButtonTake your time as you practice these movements with your dog. Use a soothing voice and play soft music. Remember to treat your pup when done, if his response has been positive. He needs to associate this grooming experience with pleasure, and a treat often helps you accomplish this goal. Grooming is also a wonderful way to bond with your dog, both enjoying the pleasure of finishing up with a nice massage. Enjoy and good luck!

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! 


heyitsjethere said...

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

As always we learn so much from you... I think we could pass this part of the test right away, we like grooming time. As you mentioned, Mom finds grooming a lovely bonding experience.

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

@ Hetitsjethere: Good for your mom Jet. You're a lucky dog. Tell her to keep up the good work.

Cherie K. Miller said...

Thanks for sharing. I've been interested in the Canine Good Citizen test and didn't realize grooming was part of the test.

I am dropping by on the blog hop today to share an inspiring story about a parrot rescue lady in Canada. Watch the video and I know you'll be inspired.

Have a great rest of the weekend with your fur-kid. said...

I definitely need some work in this area.... with men.

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