Controlled separation for the CGC? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Controlled separation for the CGC?

Hey everyone,

I'd like to get the CGC on my dog. He is good on 9 items on the list and I'm confident he'll pass those. The only thing he'll fail is the controlled separation. I used to teach him recall by having someone hold his leash while I walk away and then call him. On top of that, I taught him to pay attention to where I am because I could disappear any minute. This led to a very reliable recall but also he'll now show anxiety and whine, pull, etc to get to me if I leave him with someone else.

Any advice on how to start the training process? Is it better to leave him with someone for 10 seconds and build up to 3 minutes or start at 3 minutes which will give him a chance to calm down and see everything is ok? what do you think?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 10:12 AM
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Will he lie down and stay?

Yes, you could do the short times and build up to the three minutes. The person holding is allowed to engage the dog a little too and does not need to stand there like a post.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by lhczth View Post
Will he lie down and stay?
That's a great idea...you could work on long down-stays (working up to 3 minutes), although depending on his age/mental maturity 3 minutes may not be a threshold he can manage for a stay that requires you out of sight.

Or, your previous idea was also great, work on 10 seconds (or whatever his current threshold is) of you being away and until you can get to 3 mintues. Make sure when you return, you return unemotionally and don't make a big deal out of it.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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That's a great idea...you could work on long down-stays (working up to 3 minutes), although depending on his age/mental maturity 3 minutes may not be a threshold he can manage for a stay that requires you out of sight.

Or, your previous idea was also great, work on 10 seconds (or whatever his current threshold is) of you being away and until you can get to 3 mintues. Make sure when you return, you return unemotionally and don't make a big deal out of it.
Thanks for the info. we are training him to be a schutzhund dog and will get his BH in November, so he can hold a very long down (up to 30 minutes) AS LONG AS HE CAN SEE ME lol

So as far as getting the down/sit/heel/stay/recall we are good to go, but when I tried a controlled separation he freaked out...

So I'll see which works best - rapidly coming and going every 15 seconds or so or a few long separations of 3 minutes...
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 03:00 PM
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Not every judge will fail him if he whines a little, he just has to control himself. And if he does fail that one thing they'll let you try it again. Good luck!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Hillary_Plog View Post
That's a great idea...you could work on long down-stays (working up to 3 minutes), although depending on his age/mental maturity 3 minutes may not be a threshold he can manage for a stay that requires you out of sight.

Or, your previous idea was also great, work on 10 seconds (or whatever his current threshold is) of you being away and until you can get to 3 mintues. Make sure when you return, you return unemotionally and don't make a big deal out of it.

What they said!

Sounds like at least the beginning of "Separation Anxiety" and something to be nipped in the bud as soon as you can; and the method above should work.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 09:02 PM
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I train this one as a long down/down-stay. For one, in real life I would never hand my dog to a stranger and leave the building (I have at the vet/vet tech but they are not "stranger"). When I do this exercise I ask the stranger not to pet or talk to my dog b/c that distracts them from the down-stay. I start short and in sight and work from there. FWIW this was the hardest exercise for my dogs and NONE of them have separation anxiety (besides the puppy they are all reliable free in the house while I'm gone, half the time don't even get up as I leave). They do not mind me leaving, but don't like being taken from me, if that makes sense. So, I train it as an obedience exercise, not a random person taking their leash and pulling them away. My instructor does fail for whining depending on how much stress the dog shows (even if it remains down).
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 11:33 PM
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we trained our dog just to accept the fact that someone else had him and he had to be ok. But then he was also trained a little bit in our classes by letting other folks in the class take his leash and walk around with him as we exchanged puppies once in a while. that approach seejmed to work very well.

But then he never showed any reaction except maybe curiosity when someone else took his leash and I walked away. A number of the other dogs in the class (mostly all GSD's) seemed to have a real problem with this as their owners walked away.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-30-2011, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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wow! so we tried working with a friend of mine who the dog knows and loves. The second I walked out of sight he went berserk! Whining, barking, pulling... Sounded like a hyena - fortunately he did get better over time and we got him to actually calm down for a little bit when I left. I knew GSD's were attached but I didn't expect this lol... I have been reading about this and seems that even as puppies GSD's have a tougher time than most other breeds with being separated from their owners...

it's my fault as well - when he was a puppy I spent so much time building a bond and making sure he knew to stay close by disappearing if he wasn't paying attention to me and stressing him a little. We also worked on the recall by having someone hold his leash while I run away teasing him and finally let go of the leash when I recall... these all worked because he now checks in constantly while off leash and has a very reliable recall but I just didn't spend the right amount of time working with him on this part...

I thought about it for a while - and wondered why in the world would they even include it in a CGC test. Why would I willingly hand my dog off to a stranger? But I get it - there are times such as going to the vet or groomer that you want to hand your dog off and have him walk with the stranger in a calm way...

Well, on to day 2! We'll keep working at it...
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 12:53 AM
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Just failed this portion of the CGC tonight with Blue :-( Although he was a little weak on some of the other areas (heeling is tough!) when it came to the separation test, Blue freaked out like a maniac when I was walking away. I know it's me, the trainer, that is the problem with things Blue doesn't do well, but I guess I'm a little confused as to HOW to train him. Blue isn't all that interested in treats and has little interest in paying attention to me in general--many times he'll ignore me when I give commands. The trainer for the class wants everyone to be over the top happy and talk in this high-pitched excited voice but Blue completely ignores that, even when the trainer is doing the exercise with him. Ugh--back to square one I suppose. But we have trainers here who train with corrections when the dog does something wrong and trainers who teach you should ignore the bad behavior and constantly treat the dog to get him to do what you want. Don't know which is best to follow.
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