CGC - An Obedience Test for Assistance Dogs?
The CGC (AKC's Canine Good Citizen Program) is not a basic test for obedience. I hear this so many times on various sites, forums and groups.
The CGC is a first level evaluation to show that a pet dog is safe and has the proper manners to be taken out into the community. It is an evaluation that is also used by other programs as an entry level step. It is also highly recommended that any OTs try to make arrangements to take this test as part of their training criteria and also a valuable piece of paper to keep with their training logs.
When I have a group to give CGC evaluations to I open with an explanation of what the CGC is. Even those who have taken this test with others with past dogs sometimes are confused on this point.
From the AKC, " ... basic good manners for dogs. "
AKC's Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program
If I remember correctly mine had to have their CGC's before they could move on to the certified therapy test.
I would agree. I put a CGC on a dog who was actually somewhat dog aggressive. It is too basic.
I think having a sound basic obedience /temperament requirement for service dogs would go a LONG way in reducing the number of abuses that occur.
When discussing the AKC CGC Test for Certification or Title I am most often asked about one test section that is usually of the most concern to handlers.
Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright").
The ability for a dog to be separated from the owner/handler for 3 minutes is important for pet dog, trained companion, Therapy Dogs and Assistance Dogs. Why? It is common for vet techs to take your dog "to the back" for blood draws, X-rays and other testing. Maybe someday your dog will need dental work or other possible more intense medical procedures done and you will not be allowed to be present. What if your dog needs to stay overnight? For those with Service Dogs -- you may need to have intense medical treatment or an operation and your dog will not be allowed to be with you.
All dogs need to be able to have their owner put them into a crate or to hand their leash over to a "stranger" or barely known individual without the dog going into a panic. Should anyone be able to leash your dog and walk away with it without a protest from the dog? No, not really, but all dogs should be trained to "GO WITH" or "STAY" if their owner hands their leash to someone and gives a command to the dog to follow someone or to stay while the owner walks away. A 3 minute separation should not be a hardship for any dog. If it is then the trainer/handler should begin working on this as a priority.
When practicing a separation remember that the handler needs to relax. If you get overly nervous or upset your dog will know it and some dogs will in turn begin to worry. They may either become scared for their own safety or they may feel that it is their job to stay with their owner to protect or to face the scary something together. Don't wait until there is an absolute need for a separation when things will more than likely be tense anyway but begin training when you can remain calm and in charge.
IMPORTANT TIPS: Make sure that your dog SEES you handing the leash over to another person and HEARS you give the command.
Before taking a 3 minute separation test practice for a 5 minute minimum separation so the shorter time will be a breeze.
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