Friday, June 29, 2012

The One Where Mr. B Becomes a Canine Good Citizen

One of our all-time most popular posts was this one about Mr B who tries so hard. Unlike Miss M, who could run away to become a circus dog, Mr. B really isn't the brightest pooch.
When we first adopted Mr B he took a 101 class. It took him almost all the class sessions to learn to lay down. And we knew Mr. B was satisfied just being Mr. B.
I saw that Miss M's former training group was offering the CGC (Canine Good Citizen) class and test. The test evaluates whether a dog can be good mannered in a variety of situations. It's something nice to have because it gives them official status for being an overall good canine ambassador. The test covers:
Can they remain calm if a stranger comes to pet them?
Are they comfortable being brushed and handled by a stranger?
Can they meet another dog and handler face-to-face without reacting?
Can they walk comfortably on a loose leash and in a crowd?
Can they be left alone while their handler leaves the room without showing anxiety?
Do they have a reliable down stay and recall?
How do they handle unexpected noises and distractions?
Sure Mr. B does well in crowded and crazy situations (have you seen this video!),but I wasn't sure how he would do in an actual testing situation where you aren't allowed to use treats.
 We took a 3 week practice class with the final week being the test. Taking the class was helpful because beyond practicing the elements, it gets the dogs accustomed to the classroom which is full of all kinds of interesting dog smells. Luckily for us, Mr. B's calm nature led him to do well. Our most difficult task, ironically, was the loose-leash walking. Which was actually my fault. The evaluator gives you instructions to walk and turn around (left turn, about turn, halt) and I was actually the one who couldn't figure out the walking directions.
The other difficult part of the test was that we were testing with many other dogs in a small classroom, and all the other dogs were along the perimeter of the room. There were a couple of dogs who came just for the test, and one dog who came just that day was super-amped giving play bows, vocal cues, lunges, and hard stares to the other dogs in the room during the test, especially when they had to pass by him as they were testing. It was just a bit frustrating because we had seen how hard all of the dogs had worked during our class sessions, and it was clear this dog was an unanticipated distraction.
We are just very proud of our Mr. B, and excited that we all have letters behind our names now (Miss M became CGC a few years ago).

How has everyone else's experiences been with CGC? Is it something you've taken? Or are you thinking of taking it in the future?


Regina Hart said...

Congrats, Mr. B!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Mr. B! Lucy became a CGC over a year ago, and to be honest, it was completely unexpected. We were taking a basic obedience class, and on the last day, our trainer, who also happened to be a CGC evaluator, asked me if I wanted to have Lucy tested right then and there. We did it, and we passed! It was sort of amazing. Now, when we foster dogs, we strive to get them certified as CGCs as well. And with Bully Project, we host CGC Testing Events - at the last one, we certified 7 dogs, and 6 of them were pitties! Read about it here:

Unknown said...

Congratulations Mr. B!!!! We are super impressed. We do not have a place to test or train around here.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Mr B.

I went through CGC with Stella, never thought she would pass and helped trained the foster dog at the same time for the same test.

The unruly boy passed and so did Stella. It was a great joy and a lot of work. Unruly boy wasn't so unruly anymore.

Your test was very different than ours. Our Trainer/Behaviorist would have kicked that dog out and failed it for the behaviors he/she was displaying even before the actual test on testing day. All the dogs were tested one by one with other dogs waiting outside the testing areas. Interesting how different the testing was.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's huge, Mr. B! Congrats! We'd like a dog of ours to have their CGC too at some point.

SherBear said...

I've thought about getting Nala the CGC but my hesitation is the issue you described - I don't like how there are factors of the test that I cannot control (such as your lunging dog, which would have completely set Nala off). At ACS we have switched to the C.L.A.S.S. (Canine Life and Social Skills) evaluations for our training class curriculums. Nala came as close as you can to passing the Bachelor Level test (there are three levels) without actually passing it, we will be retaking it later this year!

Congrats to Mr. B!!

Two Kitties One Pittie said...

Congratulations, Mr. B! (And A & E!) Just reading the list of all the things a dog needs to do to pass the test makes it clear what an accomplishment this is! (And that's so frustrating about the hyped up dog). I know that Zoe would struggle through just about every aspect of the test, so we have a longgggg way to go. But I want to start getting her prepped for it now so we can eventually get there!

Anonymous said...

congrats to Mr B.

The test was conducted in an atmosphere that is NOT the usual. The test doesn't expect a dog to ignore many other dogs misbehaving in a crowded area. My understanding is that the test only requires a dog to behave and ignore one other dog during a friendly greeting between the owners, so I'm surprised the instructor permitted that.

So Mr B was SPECIAL.. but then, his fans already knew that.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Mr. B! Your hard work paid off! Once Nola finishes agility class CGC is next on our list. :)

The Heartbeats said...

Yep! Calhoun has been a CGC for a while. It was such a "learning experience" for both Calhoun and I that I seriously CRIED when he passed!! To have a dog that some people are afraid of and to have that accomplishment for him is just awesome!!

Mamma Heartbeat

Corbin said...

Congrats Mr. B!!!!!!!!! I got my CGC letters last year! We also did the training class before hand. I have some videos on my blog from my test!

Two French Bulldogs said...

You go Mr. B...don't listen, we know your bright
Benny & Lily

Tucker The Crestie said...

Congrats to Mr. B! I would not have expected anything less of him.

By the way, we have an award we'd like to pass on to you - so if you'd like, please stop by our blog to pick it up!

Jen said...

Congratulations, Mr. B!

I haven't done the CGC for Elka, but I've thought about it on occasion. The classes and tests in my area are never scheduled at a time that's easy for me, unfortunately.

Chris said...

Congrats to Mr. B. Our Edgrr got his was was his one perfect day.

Anonymous said...

That is so awesome! Congrats, Mr. B!

Trissi_V said...

Congrats Mr. B! :-)

Lucy-Fur, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

Congratulations, Mr. B! Abby and I both managed to pass the CGC last year. Abby did the full training class, while I just went in one day (about a week after Abby passed hers), and took the test and passed. (Mom says it's because she ALWAYS works with us both together, so I was doing everything Abby had to do to pass the test, and I was in another doggie class at the same time, so I was pretty prepared.) Abby was very lucky that her test group was the same as her training group, and Mom spend a lot of time with her to get her ready for the test. We still do lots of training, and there are days when Mom jokes (I think she's joking) that if we behaved the way we do now for the test, we would have failed! Luckily our instructor always responds that she won't take back the certificates because we are still working on things! :-D

Congratulations again, Mr. B! That is a huge accomplishment!

*kissey face*
-Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

Emma said...

Congratulations Mr. B!!!

Emily said...

Way to go Mr. B! I speak often of my guilt in not formerly training our dogs. As lovable and wonderful as my dogs are there are many aspects of the CGC they would struggle with currently but it would be a great goal.

Mary said...

Congrats, Mr B!!! You are such a good boy and while it's nice to have those letters behind your name, you don't need to show what a sweet, loving boy you are!

Levi took the test and failed because he sniffed food on the floor instead of coming when called. In retrospect, I don't think he deserves to be a CGC without extensive training because of some of his stranger issues. And since Neptune is our second child, he was neglected on the training front. Luckily, he's a good boy on his own.

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