At the NCSR sheltie reunion picnic, Treasure passed the CGC (AKC’s Canine Good Citizen) evaluation! This had been one of my goals when I first started doing some formal training with Treasure. I had been sloppy about teaching the stay exercise because it was difficult for Treasure and we rarely had use for it. But when I got the announcement that CGC would be offered at the picnic, I thought, hmmm …what would be a better place for Treasure to strut her stuff than at the picnic? So I sent in my paperwork and got to work!Her other skills were good because we use them frequently … walking nicely on a leash, sit, down, good behavior with other dogs and people, body handling and grooming, coming when called, etc. But that pesky stay … that one would be harder. Getting the initial stay as I stepped away from her was the hardest part. I could get her to stay with me right next to her, but that first step away was just too much and she moved to come with me every time.
Remaining in a sit position for a long period of time is hard for Treasure. I think this must stem from the spinal issues she had when she first came to me. Even though she knows the cue for sit and will do it readily, I still (two years later) very rarely see her sit on her own unless she is on her way into a down position. She will usually go directly from a stand to a down and then back to a stand. With the CGC, I knew I could choose either a sit or a down stay, so I chose to focus on the down stay.With lots and lots of practice, we finally achieved the down stay while I took a few steps away from her. Then I found the rest of the exercise to go very quickly and easily. With my dogs that can see, adding distance can be a tough thing for them because they can see me leaving and getting farther away. With Treasure, once I was a few steps away, I found that I could very quickly go as far away as I wanted to and she would stay in place. She knew I was away from her, but I don’t think she could tell just how far away I was.
We then practiced for longer periods of time and with me leaving her in different directions. We practiced in new places and indoors and outdoors. The hardest time for Treasure to practice was right before mealtime. She knows that it’s time to eat and she will rush to her crate and wait impatiently for her bowl to appear. Practicing a down stay outside of her crate at mealtime really tested her knowledge of the cues and her self-control, but it also showed me that she did understand.Finally, on the day of the picnic, I wondered how she would perform. I knew that she understood the cues and exercises. But I also knew that Treasure certainly has a mind of her own! If she decides to do something, she rarely stops until she finds a way to do it. If she decides NOT to do something, there isn’t much I can do to convince her otherwise!
But I didn’t need to worry at all. She was perfect! I think she surprised the evaluators, and she delighted her friends and fans! When we finished the evaluation, they cheered for her! Congratulations Treasure!!Now, on to the next goal … what will it be??
Treasure and I celebrating that we passed the CGC!