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One of my goals is for my dog to get her CGC. She is currently nine months old and while she isn't perfect...she is fairly well mannered. I am going to sign Gracie up for a prep class in a couple of weeks. By the time the class is finished, she will be almost 11 months. Hopefully, at that point, she will be ready to take the test. :)

I would love to know what would be considered the best time to take the CGC. Is 11 months too young for the test to be an indicator of the kind of dog she is? Is it better to wait until they are adults? Does it matter?

It would also be great to hear what others experiences have been with this test.
 

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As a CGC evaluator, I can tell you that the test is a LOT more relaxed than any other AKC obedience tests. It is more of a test of just saying that you have a dog that is controlled in a social environment, is not aggressive, and will listen to you. I have passed most of the people that have taken it, but the few that have failed generally do not pass the sit/stay or down/stay, or are over exuberant while meeting a new dog/stranger.

My lab passed his test at 11 months, my GSD I have not tested because she doesn't accept new dogs that well at first introduction and I haven't really had the time to set up the scenario.

If you have a well balanced dog that will listen to you.. go for it. If you fail, you can always take it again, no harm no foul.
 

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I've always been told that you can take the test as soon as your able when they're puppies but to retake it again after they turn 2 because maturity can play into how they react down the road.

The last test i helped with, one dog didnt pass because he doesnt accept strangers and he cant be handled for the grooming part of the test. IMO this dog should not have even been permitted to take the test because he was a known biter. Yes, he went through the prep class and did improve a tiny bit, just not where he really needed the work but still took the test. He just about took my leg off (destroyed a pair of jeans) and when he was given a 2nd chance with another handler he got her hand pretty good. He gave no warning the second time around.

Definitely DEFINITELY make sure your dog can accept a friendly stranger as well as accept a stranger to touch their ears, chest, legs and brush them. And loose leash walking. The loose leash was the hardest for some of the dogs as well as the timed seperation. Find out where your girl is strongest at and where she's weak and focus on the weakest pretty heavily while still maintaining her strong points.
 

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They recommend retaking it but it is definitely not required and you won't get your old CGC revoked if you choose not to.



Edit: I guess they do stress the "importance" but to my knowledge it is still not required.

From my handbook:

We would like to stress that when a dog is tested and passes the CGC test as a puppy, it is important for the owners to have the dog re-tested as an adult. This is because behavior and temperament can change over time. Further, the responsible owner will have dogs re-evaluated on CGC skills periodically (e.g., every 2 years) to demonstrate that training and good manners are maintained.
If dogs are re-tested, owners may choose to order an updated certificate or they may simply keep their old certificate along with updated CGC test paperwork showing more recent proof of passing the test.
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Take it any time you like. If she doesn't pass the first time you'll know what you need to work on, and then you can take it again later. Doesn't the CGC prep class include the test at the end? Usually that's how it works.
 

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I think it has more meaning around 2 or so when the dog's true adult character is showing.
 

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Stosh took it the week following our 6 wk obedience class finished. He was 6 months old and passed it just fine. I took it to see what things he would fail so I'd know what to work on but he sailed right through it, probably because we had been in the class for the 6 wks.
 

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That is my goal with my GSD puppy and I did it a year ago with my golden retriever. Where I'm located you can take the test, but I wouldn't attempt to take it without taking obedience classes before hand. With my golden I did three classes, then took the test. I will probably do the same with my german shepherd pup. She is 4 months and has graduated from her first class. So she'll be around 9 months or so when she gets hers.
 

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The test is cheap and most places I know of offer a discounted or free retest. Like has been said, it's a great way to see the holes in your training in a safe, stress-free atmosphere. Dogs have to be old enough to have a rabies shot so 16 weeks is the minimum. I offer a CGC test on the last night of my classes. I have a photocopy of the form and take them through the steps. It can't be a real test though, because I know the dogs but I have a list of other evalutors they can contact.

Have you thought about doing the STAR test? It's for puppies under 1 year. You need to take a 6 week class with an evaluator as your instructor. It doesn't need to be a puppy class to qualify. If you are taking a class with an evalutor, ask them if they wouldn't mind testing your pup. You can print out the documents off AKC for them if they haven't ordered a package yet.
AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program: Test Items and Pledge

The last test i helped with, one dog didnt pass because he doesnt accept strangers and he cant be handled for the grooming part of the test. IMO this dog should not have even been permitted to take the test because he was a known biter. Yes, he went through the prep class and did improve a tiny bit, just not where he really needed the work but still took the test. He just about took my leg off (destroyed a pair of jeans) and when he was given a 2nd chance with another handler he got her hand pretty good. He gave no warning the second time around.
From the Evaluator's Guide:

"If an Evaluator observes any signs of aggression (biting, snapping, growling, attempting to attack) the test should not be continued.
Further, if any of these behaviors are observed in the immediate testing area prior to or after testing, the Evaluator should send a written report to the AKC CGC Department."
 

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Lots of good experience and advice above. We went through the classes and took the test at the end and failed the Stay for 3 minutes while I leave the room. We knew she would fail. Actually, I failed her for not preparing her properly. We may try again some time. In our case, getting the CGC was not important. It was more of an opportunity to see where she is at and the results were satisfactory to me.
 
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