Friday, September 23, 2011

Canine good citizen

I was talking to a friend about the canine good citizen test: apparently in Japan it is very strict, a status thing, and if you fail on even one item, that's it, your out. Personally I feel that kind of undermines the whole idea of the test, which is as I see it to  have some kind of visual marker/badge for people who don't know much about dogs to be confident they're safe, to trust your dog will be gentle and relaxed with them, other people and other dogs round about.  The ten US test items are:
  • ACCEPTING A FRIENDLY STRANGER - well, Claire is good with this, sits down to wait while I chat.
  • SITTING POLITELY FOR PETTING- again, Claire is a sweetie, and doesn't mind when people pat her after talking to me.
  • APPEARANCE AND GROOMING- Claire will hold still for shampoos and at the vet, and waits patiently while I shower her feet after every walk, although I can tell she doesn't much like it. I comb out her burrs quite a bit, too, so methinks she is fine on this item too. 
  • OUT FOR A WALK (WALKING ON A LOOSE LEASH)- she readily comes when I change direction, and doesn't pull, we have a good thing going  here.
  • WALKING THROUGH A CROWD- I haven't tried this one yet, but I don't think she'd mind too much if I keep the leash short and ask her to heel. 
  • SIT AND DOWN ON COMMAND/STAY IN PLACE-We're working on this one with Dodo sensei in our obedience training. She'll do it but sort of condescendingly, as if she finds the whole thing boring and a little absurd. 
  • COMING WHEN CALLED-Again we're working on this one. Basically she responds in her own time, rather than snappily. Probably will improve over time with reinforcement. But she does take note of me, and come with me, and to me.
  • REACTION TO ANOTHER DOG- Like she'll sit down so she doesn't get sniffed. At any rate she doesn't bark or jump around to play or anything, so perfect, I guess. 
  • REACTION TO DiSTRACTIONS- she's used to wheelchairs what with Granma, and doesn't chase after bicycles, not a jumpy nervous dog at all.
  • SUPERVISED SEPARATION - she'll wait on the leash outside the store when I go in for shopping, and I'm sure she'd be ok for this, very different from Sofie who had separation anxiety.
Claire about to accept treats from the local kids 
All in all as far as I can see, Claire would pass the good citizen test how hard can the Japanese make it??? I read that in the US test, if the dog performs well on all the other items, one item can be repeated at the end again to see if it was just nerves and the like...Ah well, for the moment tests are irrelevant, we're just going to work on reinforcing the basics with Dodo sensei. Clearly Claire was perfect already when she came to us from CACI, and I am more than satisfied with this darling dog.

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