I think a good place to start is a CGC, CGN, or BH. The BH being the most difficult of the three. The CGC is really a certificate program. You take the dog to classes or just sign up for the test. If he passes 10 tests, the dog gets a certificate.
At that point, you probably have a dog that can manage to be trained and trialed for a title.
The easiest title that I have gotten was probably the RN (Rally Novice), though Arwen's CD was really a piece of cake as well, she got her three legs in three shows, and took first each time. I think it depends on the handler which is easier for them to manage.
Rally, the dog and handler have to know more maneuvers an be able to do them in order properly, but it is more relaxed, and will not have the same set of signs any two times in the ring.
The CD is very predictable, but if you are going deaf, then it is next to impossible not to make mistakes.
The ten tests for the CGC
1. Meet and Greet, the evaluator comes up to you and says high. Your dog sits or stands pleasantly and does not try to jump on her or maul her, pass.
2. May I pet your dog? the evaluator comes up, asks if they can pet your dog. You say yes, and she pets the dog usually under the chin, on the chest and up over the head. The dog does not maul her, pass.
3. Appearance and Grooming. the evaluator comes up and touches your dogs ears, both front paws, and runs a hand or brush down the back. You can hold your dog's head so that he does not lick her whole face while she touches the paws. It cannot be a death grip. The dog does not maul the evaluator. Pass.
4. Walking on a loose leash. The instructor calls out to go forward, turn left and right, about turn. The dog does not pull the handler everywhere and the leash manages to be loose. Perfect heal position is not penalized but it is not required. Pass.
5. Sit and Down. The instructor tells you to sit your dog, and without physically putting the dog into position, he sits. the instructor tells you to down your dog, and without body slamming your dog, the dog assumes the down position. Pass.
6. Stay and Recall. From the sit or down position, you tell the dog to stay, and go to the end of a 20 foot lead, turn around and come right back. The dog remains in position. You sit or down the dog, and then go 10 feet, turn and call the dog. The dog comes to you, and you are able to take the dog's collar. Pass.
7. Walking through a crowd. The evaluator asks for the millers to come in and walk around. Usually three or four spectators work fine for this. You take your dog amongst them. The dog can nose them, but cannot growl, maul, or drag you around out there. Pass.
8. Reaction to a distraction. The evaluator has someone slam a door or drop a stainless steel pan. Your dog does not go through the ceiling. The evaluator has someone walk by with a walker, wheel chair, or has some one jog by about 10 feet in front of the dog. The dog does not chase, growl, snap, maul the person. Pass.
9. Meet and greet with dogs. Two handlers with their dogs, or the handler and the evaluator with their dogs, generally walk toward each other with the dogs on their right sides (dogs on the outside). The handler's stop, exchange pleasantries, and walk on. (Good idea to tell your dog to SIT when you stop.) The dog does not cross in front of the handler to meet the other dog, does not bark like a fool, lunge, snap or otherwise act like an idiot. Pass.
10. Supervised Separation: You tell your dog to sit or down, and hand the leash over to a stranger, and then leave the sight of the dog, usually a room, but we have hid behind cars too. They time it and call you back after 3 minutes. Your dog does not have to stay in position, but he cannot whine incessantly and he cannot maul the holder or anyone else. Pass.
The evaluator can fail you at any time if they see it, if your dog does something bad like charge another dog or snap at a person. But it is not considered a fail, just needing more work in an area. So you can take the test as many times as you need to. They will encourage you to continue to work with your dog.
It is a good starting place.
Jenna, RN CGC & Babs, CD RA CGC HIC
Heidi, RA CGC
SG3 Odessa, SchH1, Kkl1, AD
Ninja, RN CGC & Milla, RN CGC
Joy, Star Puppy, RN CGC
Dolly CGC & Bear CGC