Tuesday, May 29, 2012

10 Steps to Good Citizenship

Stoop SitterI've gotten it into my head that I want to slap a title on the Edster. Apparently Honorable Mention winner at the Pupkin isn't enough for me. Long term I'm thinking Therapy Dog but the first step to that is a test developed by the AKC called Canine Good Citizenship. There are 10 elements and today I thought we'd go through them and evaluate where Ed is on each one thus far. If you want a more complete description of any element go here to the AKC page about the test.

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
This is going to depend on the stranger, for sure. If it's a woman there's a high percentage chance that he'll be fine. Often he'll penalize men for smelling of smoke or being drunk or having a bicycle or merely existing. Last night a drunk woman walking her bicycle went apeshit over him and he was fine with it.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
Again, it will depend on the person. If he accepts the person at all then the petting is assured. If he doesn't accept the person then it'll be an epic fail.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming
He's clean and well groomed. He's easy that way. He's a good weight. I don't ever brush him so I suppose I ought to try that out to see how he likes it. He's always been perfectly docile at the vet, more inclined to squeal out of an overly dramatic impulse than to be aggressive so this one he ought to be fine with.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
He can do this. We need a little more practice before it's 100% but we've been working on it and he's pretty good at it. Of course we're still using treats and a test won't allow that but I still think he's got a better than average chance of passing this one.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd
You're allowed verbal encouragement so I think he could pass this one. I'm always tense with him in crowds in case he takes a dislike to someone so it'd be a tough one for both of us. I think in a test situation it's not a huge crowd so much as it's at least 3 people he has to pass politely. I think he could do that. Again, it'll all depend on the people.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
He's got this. He's great at this.

Test 7: Coming when called
Since you can do this from a sit/stay and you aren't required to call him out of a stimulating situation I feel confident in saying he's got this one, too.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog
Oof. This is one of the ones that I just don't know if he'll ever pass. Some dogs he really doesn't give a crap about but, by and large, he feels the need to at least go and investigate another dog. He doesn't like being told not to. If I had a nickel for every time he's barked and pulled and freaked then gotten to the dog, sniffed once, and walked away... I think he'll be capable of this one day but I am not even close to confident about it yet.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This one's right up there with #8. It'll depend on his mood and the distraction. If it's not a surprise then there's a chance, a very small one, he could pass this but it's not anywhere near assured right now. Dude likes to bark at shit.

Test 10: Supervised separation
More even than the other human interaction stuff this will depend on the person. When I bring him to training classes often he won't even work for a trainer, someone giving him cheese and meatballs and love, he'll just act as though he's being kidnapped. Stella's Jen, who he knows and enjoys, walked him right beside me while I walked Stella one day and you'd have thought she'd lured him into the back of a car with a piece of candy and a promise of ice cream.

Let's see what the tally is.

4 near-certain passes
3 decent possibilities
3 doomed for failure...right now

I'm thinking of asking our trainer if, during our next session, we can just try the test out to see where he is and get  some feedback on how to keep working toward it. We'll have to see if our classmates are interested in that, too.


  1. woo CGC! the dobe club of america has amore specific temperament test (the WAE), but they're a little different. i'd like to run Deckard through both tests to see how he does. would be neat to have two titles to his name this early in the game...especially since we're not showing him. :)

    good luck with the Edster. i'm sure you'll be able to get him that title.

  2. When you think of the remarkable progress he's made (and the progress he's forced you to make as a handler), I'm sure he can take these next steps, maybe faster than you think. So glad you posted this - as you know, I believe this would be a great milestone for Bu, too. (His current score is about 5 'yeses' and 5 maybes - which include one 'probably ok' and one 'oh, geez, maybe NOT.')