I just came here to share: This has been a frustrating journey to say the least. I first took the exam with my boy when he was about 14 months old, last fall. We did just so awful that I was humiliated. I'm sure the examiner thought that we've never set foot in an obedience class, when in reality he's been in class every month since he was 8 weeks old. He basically ignored every single thing in the exam and spent the whole time trying to play tug of war with the leash.
A couple of more attempts and several therapy dog classes later, I'm sad to say that we're still unable to pass. My boy is nearing 2 years old in August, so I'm frustrated that we're still struggling. This has been one of my main goals since I got him, so I'm really disappointed in myself. He did much better on our last attempt. We only failed two portions out of the whole exam, dog meet-and-greet, and recall. We got two redos on these but he still failed them.
To be honest, I think he should have passed them. He did much better on the second meet-and-greet and did not pull toward the other dog. And he did come on recall both times, but I had to call him repeatedly and he just sat there for a while. I know it's not the best performance, but the examiners actually passed this other dog that's leash reactive toward other dogs. I've been in exams with this dog multiple times now and it's constantly lunging and snarling at other dogs in class. They redid meet-and-greet and the dog still lunged toward the meet dog, but they passed it??? I know it's not a competition, but I honestly think if that constitutes a pass, then my boy should have passed for sure.
I'm just upset because I feel like I work so hard with my boy and it's just pointless. He'll behave how he behaves depending on his mood, the other dog, the weather, etc. And I also feel a little discriminated against because I feel like the examiners are holding my guy to a higher standard because he's a golden retriever. I mean his temperament is always WAY better than the other dogs. For one thing, he actually loves people. In the last few exams, several of the passed dogs barely tolerated handling. They had to be gently coaxed to be petted. Nor does he spend the whole class whining and barking like the other dogs. I mean he literally lays down and sleeps on separation, while another dog will also pass if it whines and drools.
I just feel like they should really take a more comprehensive look at the dogs that they pass, not just these 12 set exercises. At the same time I know that tons of dogs can pass this exam so I really want my boy to blow it out of the park so that I don't sound like a sore loser, and that there can be no question that he deserves to be a therapy dog. I really REALLY REALLY want this for him and he's OBSESSED with people. I know he'd be perfect for it.
I seriously think I'm going to be the one needing therapy after this whole ordeal, if it ever ends.
Does anyone else have any stories to share about their therapy dog exam?