Test Item 8: Reaction to Another Dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 15 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on. The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.
So Your Goal: To have your dog stay next to you while you briefly talk to a stranger with a strange dog.
This part of the CGC has been the hardest for my dogs, especially Bourbon. He had to take the test more than 4 times because he couldn't handle walking head on towards an unfamiliar dog. We finally managed to pass, but it sure wasn't pretty. So don't worry, I already fell your pain :).
This exercise is intended to simulate a neighborly greeting and the dogs are expected to wait patiently without barking, jumping, or showing signs of fear or aggression. When you stop to 'chat' with the other handler, your dog does NOT need to sit next to you. Your dog can remain standing, it just needs to refrain from greeting the other handler or dog.
This test is best practiced in a place where dogs are generally present on-leash with their owners (think parks, pet stores, etc.). This is one exercise you will want to practice, practice, PRACTICE :). Repetitive experiences will eventually get your dog to understand what you expect. This is also easier to practice if you have a group of people also working with their dogs, giving you ready access to multiple handler/dog teams. You'll find that many trainers offer courses that help with practice and training to get ready for the CGC. But keep in mind that your may become accustomed to the other teams in your practice class, so you'll still need to throw in the random meeting with novel people and their dogs. So go out and get friendly with your neighbors :).
Next week we'll discuss CGC Test Item 9, Reaction to Distractions.
Don't forget to check out the other CGC test items we've covered: