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Just a "for fun" thing I've been wondering. Whether it's trials, sports, CGC variations, or therapy/working titles, what do you think is achievable by any dog if trained from a young age? That last part is because I know things can get much harder if you adopt an older dog who already has certain things ingrained in them.

Since this is a golden retrievers forum, feel free to answer the same question but specifically for goldens.

I definitely think CGC and CGC-U can be earned by any dog, as well as the novice trick dog. Maybe even intermediate tricks, too. I'm not sure about any of the sports, though- maybe novice rally?
 

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Any of the CGC titles, trick titles, and lower level Rally titles are achievable by pretty much anyone.

Edited to add: any dog with a decent amount of prey drive can also get coursing ability titles without any training really. Dock diving titles are also achievable with minimal training as long as the dog will jump off the dock and can swim.

I feel like I am missing something, so hopefully someone else will chime in with more titles.
 

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Field trial - hunt test titles;
For a dog with adequate prey drive and good health, any of the suffix titles are attainable. The training/handling, more often than not, is the limiting factor.

I have not ran any HRC hunt tests but I observed one and have seen many HRC titled dogs. From what I have seen any dog with sufficient drive can attain any of the titles, if trained and handled properly.

In contrast, FC and AFC field trial titles are very difficult to achieve. Most dogs entered never title, win a trial or even get a placement. Just finishing an all age stake at a trial is an accomplishment.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Any of the CGC titles, trick titles, and lower level Rally titles are achievable by pretty much anyone.

Edited to add: any dog with a decent amount of prey drive can also get coursing ability titles without any training really. Dock diving titles are also achievable with minimal training as long as the dog will jump off the dock and can swim.

I feel like I am missing something, so hopefully someone else will chime in with more titles.
Oh really? Some of the harder tricks seem like they'd be difficult to teach to some dogs, but maybe they'd just take more time. For rally, the virtual stuff this year makes things easier. But I wasn't sure about actual trials for a dog with fairly low desire to work.

I don't know too much about the CATs. Doesn't your dog have to be really fast for those?
 

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Some of the harder tricks seem like they'd be difficult to teach to some dogs, but maybe they'd just take more time. For rally, the virtual stuff this year makes things easier. But I wasn't sure about actual trials for a dog with fairly low desire to work.
The more complicated tricks are broken down into more manageable steps and then as the dog masters each step you work on putting them together. It does take more time but I think you can teach any dog how to do it you just have to understand how your dog learns best (which can be harder for those of us who are not very good trainers or new to training). And the desire to work usually means you just haven't found the key motivation for your dog. My rally instructor keeps talking about training dogs in drive (meaning to activate their drive) b/c they are motivated to work and they retain the training better. I haven't figured out how to do that with my dogs b/c all I get is over arousal.

In my experience, I'd prefer a dog whose motivation is play or affection b/c it's easier to keep their focus and to build up their energy without going over in those avenues (vs food motivated dogs). But I'm also the trainer whose dogs feed off my chaotic energy and it becomes a feedback loop. I'm working on it but like trying to get me to meditate, I just don't understand how to do it.
 

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Oh really? Some of the harder tricks seem like they'd be difficult to teach to some dogs, but maybe they'd just take more time. For rally, the virtual stuff this year makes things easier. But I wasn't sure about actual trials for a dog with fairly low desire to work.

I don't know too much about the CATs. Doesn't your dog have to be really fast for those?
The higher level trick titles do take more effort, but TKN, TKI, and TKA are pretty easy as long as you put in the time. I would say that Rally Novice and Intermediate are very easy to achieve. Like SRW said, it's the training/handling that is the limiting factor. Pretty much any dog can be trained through high level suffix titles if the owner puts in enough effort. That said, not every dog is going to be naturally good at everything and some suffix titles are hard to get, like UD in obedience for instance. If you are just concerned about getting titles and not high scores, then most titles are achievable for most dogs and trainers. Certain breeds aren't allowed to do certain types of sports as well - like herding dogs aren't allowed to do retriever tests and field trials, etc. Likewise, retrievers aren't allowed to do herding tests/trials and some of the other group/breed specific types of sports.

For FastCAT (100-yd dash), any dog can run if they are over the age limit (12 months). A faster dog will get the title in less runs, but being fast isn't a requirement. Smaller dogs get a handicap as well, so it's more even. Regular coursing ability tests are different than FastCAT, but still noncompetitive. I can't remember all of the rules off of the top of my head, but I believe regular CA tests are pass/fail based on whether the dog completes the course or not. It's also a much longer course that zigzags - mimicking prey such as rabbits. Only sighthounds are allowed to do competitive coursing, it's their version of a field trial; they even get the FC title for it.
 

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I'd say lure coursing. Absolutely no training needed and unless the dog is a complete dead-head, they're gonna chase the lure.
CCA (GRCA Certificate of Conformation Assessment) - no training required, and most dogs are to-standard enough to earn it easily.
I would say CGC, but that does require some training and natural aptitude on the part of the dog.
Even though dock diving requires little at-home training the does needs to actually want to do it to be even moderately successful. Not every dog wants to do it.
Beyond that, I think every title needs training to complete, no matter how meager. Some people are just absolutely unwilling to put any time into training their dogs.

TBH there are just soooooooooooo many title options out there. It is dizzying. I would have LOVED all that stuff when I was a teenager with my first dog. But now they just hold no value to me. Other than being a "gateway drug" into titles that actually take real work. When I see a dog with just alphabet soup of entry level/little training or talent titles I just dismiss them other than proof that their owner likes to spend weekends doing dog stuff. CD, JH, TD, novice agility titles are what start to pique my interest.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The higher level trick titles do take more effort, but TKN, TKI, and TKA are pretty easy as long as you put in the time. I would say that Rally Novice and Intermediate are very easy to achieve. Like SRW said, it's the training/handling that is the limiting factor. Pretty much any dog can be trained through high level suffix titles if the owner puts in enough effort. That said, not every dog is going to be naturally good at everything and some suffix titles are hard to get, like UD in obedience for instance. If you are just concerned about getting titles and not high scores, then most titles are achievable for most dogs and trainers. Certain breeds aren't allowed to do certain types of sports as well - like herding dogs aren't allowed to do retriever tests and field trials, etc. Likewise, retrievers aren't allowed to do herding tests/trials and some of the other group/breed specific types of sports.

For FastCAT (100-yd dash), any dog can run if they are over the age limit (12 months). A faster dog will get the title in less runs, but being fast isn't a requirement. Smaller dogs get a handicap as well, so it's more even. Regular coursing ability tests are different than FastCAT, but still noncompetitive. I can't remember all of the rules off of the top of my head, but I believe regular CA tests are pass/fail based on whether the dog completes the course or not. It's also a much longer course that zigzags - mimicking prey such as rabbits. Only sighthounds are allowed to do competitive coursing, it's their version of a field trial; they even get the FC title for it.
Oh gotcha, that's pretty neat. Basically a way for anyone to get started in sports, huh?
Thanks for that great perspective, too. While it's hard to imagine some of my dogs getting some suffix titles, I would much rather believe that anything is doable with enough time and effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'd say lure coursing. Absolutely no training needed and unless the dog is a complete dead-head, they're gonna chase the lure.
CCA (GRCA Certificate of Conformation Assessment) - no training required, and most dogs are to-standard enough to earn it easily.
I would say CGC, but that does require some training and natural aptitude on the part of the dog.
Even though dock diving requires little at-home training the does needs to actually want to do it to be even moderately successful. Not every dog wants to do it.
Beyond that, I think every title needs training to complete, no matter how meager. Some people are just absolutely unwilling to put any time into training their dogs.

TBH there are just soooooooooooo many title options out there. It is dizzying. I would have LOVED all that stuff when I was a teenager with my first dog. But now they just hold no value to me. Other than being a "gateway drug" into titles that actually take real work. When I see a dog with just alphabet soup of entry level/little training or talent titles I just dismiss them other than proof that their owner likes to spend weekends doing dog stuff. CD, JH, TD, novice agility titles are what start to pique my interest.
Hahaha, yeah I completely know what you mean. Sometimes there are so many letter combinations I can't even guess which sport the title is from. Even within a single sport like agility, you can end up with 3 lines of titles. It's silly but I love it. Anything that convinces people to spend more time with their dogs.
 

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In Rally:
(I am TOTALLY making up these percentages to give an idea of relative difficulty)
Rally Novice: 98%. There are probably 2% of dogs so psychotic they can't be taken into a show environment. Virtual Rally Novice, 99%.
Rally Intermediate. 95%. Still on leash, but the exercises are a tad more difficult
Rally Advanced: 85%: You'd lose some dogs that were completely unreliable off leash, plus a few physically unable to jump or with poor eyesight (more common than I believe people think).
Rally Excellent/Master: 82%: If the dog can get through Advanced, he can see and do a little jumping and is reasonably safe off leash for a couple of minutes. They slight increase in difficulty of the exercises might eliminate the exceptionally untrainable dog.


Obedience:
(Again, most of these percentages are not based on actual statistics.)
Beginning Novice (BN): random dog: 90%; goldens: 95%. Mostly on-leash, but would eliminate the dogs that can't sit still for a stranger's touch, dogs that can't be brought to a show site without having a nervous breakdown or trying to attack other dogs, and dogs that would take off during the 30 ft, off-leash recall.

Novice (CD): random dog;85% goldens: 90% Not too much more advanced than BN, but dog has to learn to stay more or less in the same zip code as the owner during the off-leash heeling. An experienced or a persistent trainer can train almost any dog to do a passing "heel"
Open (CDX): random dog: 60%; goldens: 80%. The rubber starts to meet the road in Open. The biggest percentage drop in titles between non-competitive levels of dog sports happens between Novice and Open OB. Only a little more than a third of dogs (about 36-38%) that get a CD go on to get a CDX. (That is a real statistic, from the AKC data on the numbers of titles in a given year.)

I don't think that means that only a third of dogs can get a CDX. Trainer limitations start to muddy the waters. Teaching non-retrievers to retrieve can be difficult, even for an experienced trainer. Teaching a scent hound to keep its nose off the ground for an extended period of time takes some persistence. Trusting an independent, semi-feral breed (basenji, saluki, etc.) to not head for the hills when the dog realizes it doesn't have a leash on is not for the faint of heart. Even with a good trainer, the difficulty of the exercises and the jump heights eliminate a lot of dogs. The dog has to take commands with the owner at a distance, surrounded by spectators and dogs. You may be asking a nervous dog to drop at a distance from the owner with all these scary dogs and people around. Goldens tend to have the traits that make them one of the easier dogs to train. They are biddable, usually smarter than a random dog, and generally love to retrieve. Nonetheless, the scary show environment might be too much for a timid dog and the height/width of the jumps will eliminate the dogs with physical or eyesight problems.

Utility (UD): Random dog: 30%, Golden: 70%. Statistically (a real statistic, based on the AKC title numbers), half of dogs that get a CDX go on to get a UD. It's kind of surprising that the drop between CD and CDX is so much bigger than the drop between CDX and UD. The Utility exercises are very hard; much more difficult than the Open exercises. I think part of the explanation is that a lot of the poorest trainers and dogs get weeded out between CD and CDX. If a dog has a CDX, he can probably jump and see well enough for UD. He has shown that he can be trusted off-leash, etc. Still, breed trainability really starts to become important in Utility. You see a big variety of breeds in Novice OB. By Utility, a lot of the variety has vanished. Even with a good, persistent trainer, there are many, many dogs that could not get a UD.

For the higher titles, like UDX and especially OTCh, dog, trainer, and financial resources all become important. About 60-70% of OTChs in the US go to 2 breeds (goldens and border collies). A handful of other breeds (shelties, labs, mini and standard poodles, and a few more I can't think of off the top of my head) pick up almost all the rest, with a few random more uncommon breeds picking up a few percentages.

There is not as much difference between a random dog and a golden in the ability to get Rally titles as there is in Obedience. There is a much greater variety of breeds at the top level of Rally than in OB.
 

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In Rally:
(I am TOTALLY making up these percentages to give an idea of relative difficulty)
Rally Novice: 98%. There are probably 2% of dogs so psychotic they can't be taken into a show environment. Virtual Rally Novice, 99%.
Rally Intermediate. 95%. Still on leash, but the exercises are a tad more difficult
Rally Advanced: 85%: You'd lose some dogs that were completely unreliable off leash, plus a few physically unable to jump or with poor eyesight (more common than I believe people think).
Rally Excellent/Master: 82%: If the dog can get through Advanced, he can see and do a little jumping and is reasonably safe off leash for a couple of minutes. They slight increase in difficulty of the exercises might eliminate the exceptionally untrainable dog.
I disagree with your percentage on Rally Master. It is MUCH harder to do than Excellent and Advanced. It’s not just harder exercises to train, it’s the complicated multi-part signs that are really easy to mess up. I’ve been to a trial where half of the dogs in the class NQ’d. It also takes 10 Q’s to get the title, so a lot of people don’t even attempt it. I’m going to go with more like 65-70%.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
In Rally:
(I am TOTALLY making up these percentages to give an idea of relative difficulty)
Rally Novice: 98%. There are probably 2% of dogs so psychotic they can't be taken into a show environment. Virtual Rally Novice, 99%.
Rally Intermediate. 95%. Still on leash, but the exercises are a tad more difficult
Rally Advanced: 85%: You'd lose some dogs that were completely unreliable off leash, plus a few physically unable to jump or with poor eyesight (more common than I believe people think).
Rally Excellent/Master: 82%: If the dog can get through Advanced, he can see and do a little jumping and is reasonably safe off leash for a couple of minutes. They slight increase in difficulty of the exercises might eliminate the exceptionally untrainable dog.


Obedience:
(Again, most of these percentages are not based on actual statistics.)
Beginning Novice (BN): random dog: 90%; goldens: 95%. Mostly on-leash, but would eliminate the dogs that can't sit still for a stranger's touch, dogs that can't be brought to a show site without having a nervous breakdown or trying to attack other dogs, and dogs that would take off during the 30 ft, off-leash recall.

Novice (CD): random dog;85% goldens: 90% Not too much more advanced than BN, but dog has to learn to stay more or less in the same zip code as the owner during the off-leash heeling. An experienced or a persistent trainer can train almost any dog to do a passing "heel"
Open (CDX): random dog: 60%; goldens: 80%. The rubber starts to meet the road in Open. The biggest percentage drop in titles between non-competitive levels of dog sports happens between Novice and Open OB. Only a little more than a third of dogs (about 36-38%) that get a CD go on to get a CDX. (That is a real statistic, from the AKC data on the numbers of titles in a given year.)

I don't think that means that only a third of dogs can get a CDX. Trainer limitations start to muddy the waters. Teaching non-retrievers to retrieve can be difficult, even for an experienced trainer. Teaching a scent hound to keep its nose off the ground for an extended period of time takes some persistence. Trusting an independent, semi-feral breed (basenji, saluki, etc.) to not head for the hills when the dog realizes it doesn't have a leash on is not for the faint of heart. Even with a good trainer, the difficulty of the exercises and the jump heights eliminate a lot of dogs. The dog has to take commands with the owner at a distance, surrounded by spectators and dogs. You may be asking a nervous dog to drop at a distance from the owner with all these scary dogs and people around. Goldens tend to have the traits that make them one of the easier dogs to train. They are biddable, usually smarter than a random dog, and generally love to retrieve. Nonetheless, the scary show environment might be too much for a timid dog and the height/width of the jumps will eliminate the dogs with physical or eyesight problems.

Utility (UD): Random dog: 30%, Golden: 70%. Statistically (a real statistic, based on the AKC title numbers), half of dogs that get a CDX go on to get a UD. It's kind of surprising that the drop between CD and CDX is so much bigger than the drop between CDX and UD. The Utility exercises are very hard; much more difficult than the Open exercises. I think part of the explanation is that a lot of the poorest trainers and dogs get weeded out between CD and CDX. If a dog has a CDX, he can probably jump and see well enough for UD. He has shown that he can be trusted off-leash, etc. Still, breed trainability really starts to become important in Utility. You see a big variety of breeds in Novice OB. By Utility, a lot of the variety has vanished. Even with a good, persistent trainer, there are many, many dogs that could not get a UD.

For the higher titles, like UDX and especially OTCh, dog, trainer, and financial resources all become important. About 60-70% of OTChs in the US go to 2 breeds (goldens and border collies). A handful of other breeds (shelties, labs, mini and standard poodles, and a few more I can't think of off the top of my head) pick up almost all the rest, with a few random more uncommon breeds picking up a few percentages.

There is not as much difference between a random dog and a golden in the ability to get Rally titles as there is in Obedience. There is a much greater variety of breeds at the top level of Rally than in OB.
Thanks, this is a great answer giving relative difficulties. Does anyone else have a similar approximate thing for other sports? Like field trials or tracking, etc.?
 

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CGC- Most, definitely not all, dogs can earn a CGC. Even with training. This is the biggest reason I never test puppies. That sweet 6 month old could be a neurotic mess at 2 years old. Unfortunately, I end up failing as many dogs as I pass. CGCU and CGCA are more difficult.

Tricks - TKN is nothing to earn. Nothing but basic obedience needed. Every level gets more difficult. TKE is fairly difficult. I have one at that level.

Obedience - Beginner Novice is more difficult to achieve than Novice for one big reason. The walk around sit stay is much more challenging than a stay at the end of a 6 foot leash. I’d say most are capable of a CD. CDX is pretty difficult for some dogs. Easier without the out of sight stays In some ways. I know people with at
least 1 OTCH who have struggled with command discrimination so harder in other ways. Utility is a huge level jump in my opinion. I am trying to title in Utility now.

Rally - Again, the novice level is pretty easy. If your dog has basic obedience and heeling skills it shouldn’t be a problem. Each level gets progressively harder. I think many dogs who are trained should be capable of an RA.

Agility - like obedience, it takes a lot of training just to get to show level,

Field - the lowest level isn’t extremely hard but you definitely need training!

Fastcat - Requires exactly zero training. The dog needs a strong prey drive to do it and a willingness to leave your side. They wither love it or hate it, There’s no in between.

i know some people think that all of these are easy. With the exception of FastCAT, many of these titles are challenging and take a lot of training at the higher levels, Even tricks! I have trained and/or trialed or tested in every single one of these sports, Some in multiple venues, Most goldens are capable of titling pretty high levels. The percentage of random dogs is smaller, I think one of the biggest reasons is because Goldens tend to be more willing than Other breeds to work on the same exercise repeatedly.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Agility - like obedience, it takes a lot of training just to get to show level,
Yeah, this definitely makes sense. In your opinion, is every dog who achieves an NA/NAJ capable of AX/AXJ? The jump from nothing to showing is a big step, as you mentioned. But once you have a dog who is capable of listening to you in a high-stress, exciting agility trial environment (achieving the NA/NAJ), can they all make the step up to open and excellent?
 

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Yeah, this definitely makes sense. In your opinion, is every dog who achieves an NA/NAJ capable of AX/AXJ? The jump from nothing to showing is a big step, as you mentioned. But once you have a dog who is capable of listening to you in a high-stress, exciting agility trial environment (achieving the NA/NAJ), can they all make the step up to open and excellent?
I think most can, The handler has to be prepared to continue with training. The courses become more difficult but obstacles pretty much stay the same.
 
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