Chix-A-Lot Friday: Me + Dude = one Canine Good Citizen

Well well well, my little brother is all grown up. He graduated from his class that was supposed to teach him to be basically obedient last Tuesday!

For his last class, he got to do a mock Canine Good Citizen test (is that anything like a mock turtleneck? Because if so, I sure am glad I didn’t have to go). The difference between the real test and the mock turtleneck test is that mama got to use treats to help him, and some of the elements were easified for him. It was just supposed to give him an idea of what he’s already very excellent at and what he still needs me to tutor him on so that he can be a CGC (with no mock turtleneck)!

Here’s how he did:

1. Accepting a friendly stranger / 2. Sitting politely for petting. Doodlebug loves friendly strangers and because of his most excellent calmness, he is great at staying dude-like during pettings from nice people. I am also good at this one.

3. Allowing basic grooming procedures. Duder is great at this too. I hate to admit it, but this is one element where I should be wearing a mock turtleneck but Dude can go naked: he doesn’t mind any kind of touching, but I can become what my mom calls “Witchy” sometimes if a stranger starts touching my back paws. What are you doing back there anyway, buddy? Maybe I will have Doodlebug teach me more about this one before I take the test.

4. Walking on a loose lead / 5. walking through a crowd. Doodlebug is getting pretty good at this, and I am most excellent. I can pull like the best of ‘em, but if mama just reminds me that we are doing The Rules, I walk like a total gentleman.

6. Sit/down on command and stay. I hate love to toot my own horn, but: I am an ace at the “stay” concept. Doodlebug? Not so much. Mama taught him a pretty decent sit and down, but the second she takes even one step away, his butt is back up and he’s going with her. They are working on this now, and he’s getting a little better. I love to lay on my chair and watch while they practice, and heckle when Doodlebug messes up. Silly dude.

7. Coming when called. This is another one that I totally dominate, but Duder is still working on. He is very much like his namesake The Dude in how slowly he takes life — never rushing. So when they practiced their “come” command in class, Duder moved very slowly and did a lot of “shopping” along the way to mama. Since then, they have been practicing “come when called” with his dinner — big raw duck meatballs — and amazingly, he’s gotten much faster!

8. Reacting appropriately to another dog. Again, I win, and Doodlebug loses! I mean– Duder needs to work on this one, it’s his biggest challenge. He gets way too excited and sometimes inappropriate when he gets within about 5 feet of another dog. I keep trying to show him how to stone cold ignore the other guys, but he thinks they’re much too interesting. Keep working, Doodlebug!

9. Reacting calmly to distractions. We both ace this one — we don’t care if a maniac is running around making noise while spinning a kayaking paddle, we’re gonna just channel our inner Dudes and be cool.

10. Calmly enduring supervised separation from the owner. Easy as pie for both of us!

So Duder’s assignments for the next few weeks are to work on his stays, finding more motivation to come when called, and learning to chill the heck out around other dogs. Once he’s gotten better at those — especially the last one — he’s going to go to CGC class, where he’ll learn how to not have to wear a mock turtleneck anymore!

And me? I just need to get better at being groomed by weirdos. Mama has a plan, and in a few weeks I’m going to take the test with no class at all!

Since you're such a good groomee, I will lick your chinny-chin-chin!

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20 responses

  1. As always Sir Chick, your blog post helped start my day off with a smile (kudos to you for that!). Sounds like you’re being an awesome big brother to the Dude.

  2. #1 doesn’t include dramatically flopping on one’s back for a bellyrub whenever a person approaches, does it? If not, I’m afraid Badger will never be a good citizen.

    Congratulations on graduating, Dude, and good luck on your CGC, Chick!

  3. “need to get better at being groomed by weirdos” – awesome! The list breakdown and analysis was great, it gives us an idea of what Maggie & Duke need to focus on too.The boys are way ahead of us!

  4. The dog greeting is always difficult. When we went through GCG with Heidi they said that’s where a lot of dogs fail the test. The Dude will get there with practice though! :) I’m super impressed with how he did! Way to go Dude!

  5. …and so how does one go about changing a dog’s reactivity to other dogs? I m helping out with my neighbors dog. He is a lovable, friendly 7 year old min schnauzer, who is desperately missing his dog buddy who died last November. He is super friendly and is fine (no high pitched whining and howling)when he can be up close to another dog but as soon as he sees a dog in the distance, he pulls towards the dog and howls and whines, even if it is the same dog that he was visiting a few minutes before. I treat the situation be turning in an opposite direction and shifting his focus. I reward him with praise once he regains focus. She has him on a harness which I find gives him to much mobility …I would prefer a collar…any thoughts?

  6. My Rottie, Karley, and I need help with walking on a loose lead. Can you recommend some materials to help me with this?

    • Hi! It’s a lot easier to learn from a person, live, than from a book or the internet. I’d recommend finding the best dog training center in your city and signing up for a class, or doing a private lesson with a one-on-one trainer. You’d be amad at how quickly you can pick up the basic principles, but it’s really hard if you’re just using a book!

      Best of luck, Aleks

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