Friday, May 16, 2014

How to: Fail a CGC and not care

So we went out on a limb and entered a CGC test. We had been working a lot on her arousal levels with being petted and going to the dog park to practice not going up to the fence to greet the dogs.

Our first ever CGC we bombed...I mean epically totally failed.

So we went back to basics, and really focused on arousal levels. Anybody who knows Reyna or has followed this blog knows that Reyna does not have issues learning or performing behaviors, she has MAJOR gaps in her self control training.

So three months later we retook the test and missed two exercises, greeting a neutral dog and being pet by a friendly stranger, and honestly she should have failed the grooming for all the frantic wiggling but they gave it to her anyway.

We spent the next year primarily focused on Nosework and competition obedience behaviors. We got her NW2 which was really exciting! Then I found out I was pregnant and we already had a deposit on a Golden Retriever litter due in May (they are two weeks old now). With a baby and a puppy on the way and no NW3 trials in the foreseeable future in our area I switched my focus back to the CGC test. Inadvertently we had made drastic improvements in many of the areas through the obedience training and just by being a whole year older.

So I signed her up for a local CGC test and crossed my fingers.

She did amazing!!! She didn't just barely pass most everything she aced all of it....except for the dog one.

She didn't react though, and she wasn't over the top, but she definitely didn't pass. here are some things I learned though. I will probably not try again for the CGC, she doesn't like it. She did everything I asked because I asked it, but she did not like being thoroughly petted and groomed by a stranger. By half way through the test she was asking me to please just let her go back to her crate.

We stopped trying to teach her to be calm with guests in the house awhile ago, she is soooo much happier in our bedroom in the crate. I could probably spend a ton of time and energy helping her cope with that environment better but why? She loves her crate and if she was loose in the house what would I want her doing? Laying around calmly, which she gets to do in the crate.

There are things she loves, like being outside with guests, going on hikes and walks with guests. She loves being my pseudo service dog and running errands (at dog friendly locations) with a vest on so people won't bother her. handing me my wallet and keys at the checkout, picking things up when I drop them, helping me up when I'm sitting down. She helps me up and down stairs as I get more pregnant. She just beams the whole time. She is joy to walk even in crowded areas, I never worry about her reacting but also give other dogs their space when we pass because why not!

She is everything to me and what she told me at that CGC test was that she would do anything I asked, but that she did not like the test at on the way home I was a little bummed that we missed just one exercise, but the fact that she passed all her treats and toys just to crawl into her crate when we finished the test told me this wasn't the right thing for her, and really what's the point?

I'm so proud of how our relationship has evolved, especially over the last year or so. Leslie McDevitt taught me how to respect Reyna's emotional state how to rewire her brain without forgetting who she is. Over the last year we have been able to take it farther and through Denise Fenzi, Sylvia Trkman and Hannah Branigan  I have learned to play with my dog, to have joy in our training and just in being. I don't need a CGC title to show me that so until Reyna tells me she wants to do it again we have put that back on the back burner

Coming up...
How to: Q in your first rally trial
How to: Poison a cue in three easy steps
How to: Recover a lost retrieve