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Well, against my better judgement (;)), I decided Bailey and I would take the CGC test last night. She is going through a definite "adolescent phase" where much of what she knows doesn't seem to be in there anywhere! At any rate, we passed 9/10 steps but when it came to greeting a stranger and their dog, she crossed in front of me to go greet the dog. Bummer!!

On the bright side, the place where we normally do training is starting a six-week CGC/Therapy Test Prep Class in a few weeks, and we've already signed up. So, it won't be TOO long before we get to try again!

Anyway, my question is, how can I best keep Bailey's attention truly focused on me when there are distractions? She knows "watch me", but if there are other things going on (and NO treats!), I have a very hard time getting her attention.

Ideas?? Thanks! :)
 

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2 goldens and a BMD
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Practice, practice, and more practice. If you can go to a park and work with her, start her as far away as you need to where she will still focus on you and gradually move her closer and closer to the distractions continuing to work with her.

The CGC class will be really good for her. We took one and we practiced the meeting people and dogs every week so by the time we took the test, he knew what the routine was.

Good luck and have fun in the class!
 

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Brady Aedan Finch and Wren
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Oh, I am so sorry to hear you did not pass.

Attention is hard - especially around other dogs. It is practise and more practise. Then practise some more before getting closer to the distractions and practising again.

Since I don't know about you, but I rarely meet anyone while walking a dog on lead who also has a dog, the classes should really help. The more Bailey can practise around other dogs, the more solid she will be :)

One thing I would mention is that you perhaps need to start rewarding with the food if you are currently using the food as a lure. That is, only break out the food when Bailey is paying attention. You can begin by having the food in your right hand, then in your mouth and then out of your immediate vicinity. She pays attention and then is rewarded.
 

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We did the CGC training at PawsnEffect in Hamden. Shadow and Tucker were in the same class. The dogs experience many, many distractions. We were told that the dogs were learning MORE than they had to, to pass the CGC test. It certainly did help because even Shadow passed! Tucker was a given. It helped that the dog they had to meet was an obedience trained dog. Maybe my two copied her???

They had a young boy walking, almost running, around with a baby stroller. We did Obedience training with them, too. I seem to remember having to make letter patterns while walking the dogs and people had to be able to ID them. They had stuffed animals, dolls, balls, you name it. We even did some outside work.

I guess I'm trying to say the class was worth it. Kathy Shea is great. We enjoyed all of her classes. Remember, Bailey is young...
 

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I took the CGC in July; before taking the test, I also attended a six week class (one night a week) and it was excellent practice. I think you've made an excellent decision to take a class. Our instructor suggested that as we went through Test #8, Reaction to another dog, that we instruct our dog to either sit, wait, or some other similar command, so that way our dog would not go across us to greet the other dog. I practiced having my dog sit when I stopped to exchange the handshake with the other dog and handler.

I've copied and pasted the Test #8 for you--you can see that a sit is not required but I think that anything you can do to get your dog under better control, even if it's the "wait" command, would be a good thing. Your dog can still express interest in the other dog, but no more than a "casual interest." I think that would mean both dogs can look at each other and wag their tails, but that's about it, no nose to nose greeting. Hope this helps.

I flunked the CGC the first time with my second golden. She normally was so good on a loose lead, but she was stressed watching me take the test with my older golden. He passed, and then a dog or two later I went into the ring with her and she just raced at the end of the leash. We flunked walking on a loose lead and I made it a point to practice with her, and make sure she was nice and relaxed, when I took her in the second time. I know you'll do good too.


Test 8: Reaction to another dog

This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.
 

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I have been working so hard on Milly walking on a loose lead, and thought we were totally ready until she saw an older beagle in a pet supply store last week. She just about ripped my arms our trying to get to him. For some reason she has always had an obsession with beagles and bassets - I haven't met one she doesn't like! So now I think we need to work some more on encountering strange dogs before we take the CGC.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Anyway, my question is, how can I best keep Bailey's attention truly focused on me when there are distractions? She knows "watch me", but if there are other things going on (and NO treats!), I have a very hard time getting her attention.

Ideas?? Thanks! :)
As others have said practice, practice and more practice. The other thing I would suggest is to NEVER be without a treat/reward. Whether it be edible or a toy, especially while training "attention". I relate it to teaching the "come". Never do it when still training it, if there is ANY possibility you will not be successful. As wonderful as our dogs think we are they also find MANY other things just an interesting or heaven forbid even more so as they get older.
 

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Also, be a bit unpredictable. Humans can be boring. When she looks away, bounce a tennis ball she doesnt even know you have; swerve when you heel instead of always going in a straight line. . . "With Me' is a useful phrase along with the "watch me" one you already know. It tells her hurry up, this train is leaving without you.

There are so many fun attention games, especially ones from agility.

"FIND": Toss a treat and say Bailey's name and then FIND. Once she gobbles the treat, have her come back and sit for an even higher quality reward. After she masters that, and you can toss treats pretty far away and have her eagerly return to sitting in front of you lickitysplit, you can turn it into "Choose To Heel". It's the same game except you toss the treat, say "Bailey FIND", and then walk away in an unexpected direction. Teach her to return to your left side immediately for an excellent high quality treat. Bailey will soon choose to put HERSELF in heel from wherever she may wind up if she sees you moving away. This has a side effect of much better attention overall. Actually, Tally burns a hole in my face with his beedy eyes. he gives too much attention sometimes, lol bc he is such a chow hound. Getting him not to stare at my face is a challenge. I think this is hugely bc of Choose To Heel type games.

Also, ask Bailey to sit in front of you when you have treats in your hand. Hold the treats out to the side and watch her eyes. At first, she will stare at the treats, but eventually, her eyes will flick to you like what the heck? The instant she makes eye contact, click or say YES, and give a treat. Over time, she'll get it that it's eye contact that wins the reward. A variation of the same game is to drop a treat on the floor and step on it. Bailey will stare, sniff under your shoe, maybe dig a little. Eventually though, she'll glance up at you. With careful timing, click that look or say yes, and then treat. Soon, she will automatically look at you.

There are about twenty of these games, and they add up to some fun attention.

I agree about treating as a reward for attention instead of a lure or bribe at the CGC point. Try not to sat her name to get her attention- whoo hoo or helooooooooo is good though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all SO much for these thorough and helpful responses!! We will definitely keep practicing and incorporate all of these great tips/games into our training.

It was a bit of a disappointment to come so close to passing and not, but I know we will just be all the more prepared next time. Thanks again! :)
 
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