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Lucky Gets a Good Brushing
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.
Take 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!