Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tuesday Training Tips: CGC Test Item 5

The fifth in my Canine Good Citizen (CGC) series going through each of the CGC exercises and offering tips for practicing in order to successfully pass a CGC Evaluation. Test Item 4 was covered previously.

Test Item 5: Walking Through A Crowd

This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over exuberance, shyness, or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.

CGC test item 5 being demonstrated.
Picture taken from sheltiechick.com

So Your Goal: To walk through a crowd, on a loose leash, with your dog paying attention to you.

Training Tips:

This part of the test can be intimidating if your dog finds crowds to be overwhelming, but it can also be frustrating for the dogs that love crowds. One has to gain confidence, the other self-control :). Gradually helping your dog get used to larger groups can take time and effort, but will allow you to him more places and share more experiences with him. You want your dog to see a group of people as a pleasant experience but nothing out of the ordinary. At this point you should have already practiced greeting individuals in a calm manner (test item 1 and test item 2). If your dog can handle that well, then they are ready to move on to small groups.

Start with groups of only a couple of people (a good excuse to invite your friends over for a barbecue!!). At first keep your dog at a distance and gradually move closer to the group when you have your dog's attention on you and they are behaving calmly. With an excitable dog, especially work up to close encounters gradually until your dog is comfortable and in control of themselves (sometimes this can take awhile!). As your dog gets better and better, continue to add to the groupings and start visiting local playgrounds, downtowns, pet super stores, or somewhere there might be groups of people (remember if they start getting excited, to back up and increase the distance and then gradually move closer as they exhibit calm behavior!). When your dog can navigate these populated places without dragging you off to meet every person they see, you can consider them ready for this test item :).

Don't forget to treat and praise your dog while they are paying attention to YOU. Associating positive behavior and praise with high-value treats will help make you more desirable to pay attention to rather than strangers.

Next week we'll discuss CGC Test Item 6, Sit and Down on Command/Stay in Place.

Don't forget to check out the other CGC test items we've covered:

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