Star got her Canine Good Citizen title yesterday.
It was a total shocker. I felt we were still unprepared.
Items I thought she would fail: neutral dog approach (convinced she would not resist the dog), major distraction (sure she would bark), loose leash walk (new places mean sniff-and-drag), neutral stranger approach (would not stay seated).
Then I heard about the upcoming test and I thought, hell, why not give it a shot? We can always take it again later if we need to. And I'll find out what test items are her weaknesses.
Still, day of the test, I took extra steps to make sure she performed her best.
We went to the dog park early that morning, and she ran rampant with a crowd of dogs for almost an hour. I sincerely hoped this would reduce her enthusiasm for a neutral dog approaching during the test.
We got to the test site an hour early. I wanted her to be familiar and bored with this new place by the time the test started, to prevent sniff-and-drag and to minimize her distraction.
During this hour, we practiced sit, down, walk, stay, and come relentlessly.
We also strolled casually by the little Dachshund being used for the neutral dog test--twice. Star was interested, but she kept walking. I was pleasantly surprised.
Unfortunately, we over-practiced, and as the sun climbed, Star got too hot. The really stupid move was when Byrd took her on a short jog. That was her limit. With only twenty minutes until the test, she stopped obeying commands and just stood there, panting. All the water and treats in the world couldn't get her back on track. Screwed.
We put Star back in the car and ran the A/C full blast. Finally, she cooled down enough and started responding to treats again. Whew!
The test went smoothly.
During the neutral dog approach, Star craned her neck to peer at the little Dachshund walking past--but she didn't cross in front or pull on the leash.
I had a near heart attack when it came time for "sit." Star was still too hot, and I had no treats (can't use treats during the test) to lure, and it looked like she simply was not going to sit down. After almost a dozen "sit" commands, I breathed a sigh of relief as I saw her butt hit the dirt. She collapsed straight into a "down" without any argument.
I was blown away when I returned from the last test--the supervised separation--to the evaluator's extended hand, and the words "Congratulations. Your dog is a Canine Good Citizen."