I’ve said for a long time that if I had known how to train a dog Luna wouldn’t have needed to take basic training classes because she already had the basics down before I brought her home. Now, more than halfway through her intermediate class, I was proud to know that she was one of the top dogs in her group. She loves to work and her stays (sit or down) can last forever as long as I’m in her sight. She once tied a lazy St. Bernard in our class on a down/stay competition. A tie because we got tired of waiting to see which dog would break.
I beamed the first time I had to leave her with our trainer while I cleaned up an accident and he told me that she hadn’t acted the bit concerned when I walked away. Apparently leaving your dog with a stranger for three minutes is one of the harder parts of the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test we are expected to take at the end of our course.
This was all before last week.
It was my own fault for not researching the CGC, I was so pleased with the way that she had progressed that I hadn’t felt the need to. Our trainer was walking down the line, petting each of the dogs on the chest and head, but on that particular time added the paws – at which point Luna’s ‘grin’ from the kennel returned and she backed away from him. She was having none of the feet touching and was not even pleased to resume the petting at that point.
After class was when I found out that touching her paws was part of the CGC and he wasn’t confident that she’ll be able to pass the test in a few weeks. It might sound odd to some, but it does make perfect sense when you consider that groomers and vets would have to handle the same area (oddly she had no problem at her vet appointment). Worse, if she can’t pass the CGC they won’t let her move on to the advanced class.
I understand the why, but it’s still disappointing. I’ve been to several sites researching the CGC and so many of them make it sound easy – if you’ve had your dog as a pup. It’s clear Luna didn’t have the perfect socialization as a puppy and I still half suspect that she was abused on at least some level by a male. I always say both puppies and rescues are hard in their own way and socialization is Luna’s trial.
We’ll take the next few weeks and try to work past this point. While I’m already working on her social skills we’ll be adding some extra trips to relative and friends in the next few weeks. Our trainer still wants her to at least test even if she’s not ready so we’ll know what to expect the next time around – and who knows, maybe the evaluator will be female and she’ll be much more relaxed!
Lisa (and Luna)