Friday, August 24, 2012

CGC Preparation:
Choosing an Examiner and Location


by Carrie Boyko, CEB
courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources via Flickr.com
In Your Dreams, Tanner!

Just as each evaluator will have a different approach to handling the test, each environment will vary. Knowing where the test will occur and possibly even the time of day, may affect your pup's ability to get through this lengthy exam. You know your dog's weaknesses better than anyone, so keep them in mind when arranging your test plan.

To locate local CGC evaluators, visit AKC.org and search by State. You can also check local AKC shows for CGC exams that may be held concurrently. The environment may be a bit chaotic at these tests, with lots of competitions going on and owners/dogs everywhere. Keep this in mind if you opt for this sort of test. 

Of course, the word of mouth method also works. Ask any trainer you meet and you'll get at least one name. Stop by a dog training facility and you'll likely get more help.

A brief chat with each may make a world of difference in getting your pup through this tough examination. Feel free to ask questions about things that may concern you. Now is your chance to get a feel for the evaluator and venue that may work best for you and your dog.
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Why will the location matter? Sometimes a story answers a question best: Tanner once took the test with a delightful, patient, calm evaluator. I felt good about this experience going into it. Oliver and Xena proved their ability to strut their stuff, but the environment challenged Tanner. Here's how it all unfolded....

Having agreed to perform the exam at a nearby park where a lovely dog-friendly walk circles a lake, we arrived for the exam just as a rainstorm struck. As the down pour continued, my worries were more for Oliver and Xena and their anxiety over thunder. I didn't give Tanner a thought, as he is oblivious to storms.

Fortunately the rain passed after a 30 minute wait in the car. The evaluator, his helpers, and my threesome all met under the trees at the lakeside just as a flock of water-loving ducks descended on the area for bathtime, along with a little frisky action to spice up the evening.

You may know that Tanner is a Golden Retriever, a breed intended to collect downed ducks for hunters. Tanner's DNA kicked into high gear and his attention was clearly not on the exam. Although he was able to pass some parts of the test, in general it was an epic failure as he struggled to move closer and closer to his quarry, craning his neck around every bush we tried to work behind.

Looking back on this experience I now realize that I could have prevented it by recognizing that I chose a time of day and location that were prone to storms. Add the presence of a lake and I really shot the bulls eye. A venue indoors is often tough to locate, as strangers or helpers are needed to complete portions of the exam. If your evaluator is able to provide these, you could potentially test your dog in a home or business location.

Obviously, if you select a trainer/evaluator with an indoor training facility, all they require are a couple of volunteers to help with the exam. Keep this in mind as you seek out the perfect person to test your dog.

Finally, you may wish to tune into the preferences of your examiner in terms of dogs. No examiner will give this up in so many words, so you may need to ask around. Some fancy show dogs, while others prefer big dogs. Still others like to see bully breeds or tiny pocket pups earn their stripes. Without knowing it, most examiners have preferences that they probably do not even realize. We discovered this with Oliver's first examination when a class full of toy-sized dogs all failed merely because of an overly-rough examination of their paw pads.
I'll be back next week with a video example of a simplified exam. Join me for this helpful visual and a wrap up. Any questions? I'll be happy to address them as best as I can.





Here's the whole series so far:

 
Join us each week for the Weekly Wag bonding series, held during the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop. The hop is hosted by Life with Dogs, Two 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!




2 comments:



Kim Gibson said...

Good things to think about before your dog takes the Canine Good Citizen test. I couldn't help smirking as I read how Tanner "struggled to move closer and closer to his quarry, craning his neck around every bush we tried to work behind." Lucy would do the exact same thing! I continue to marvel at how thoroughly Goldens are bred to retrieve! If Lucy sees birds flying by or if she sees something fall, she cannot resist the urge to retrieve it! Birds would be a HUGE distraction!!



browndogcbr said...

Hi Y'all!

Just hoppin' by to say "hi".

What a great post! Thanks for sharing.

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

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