Ellie was entered for the Gold Kennel Club Good Citizen exam today. Sadly, it's a disappointing result. Only kidding, she passed with flying colours, and with no repeats needed. A repeat is needed if the dog doesn't perform any exercise as is required by the examiner.
An outline of the exam requirements is:
Exercise 1 - Road Walk
Exercise 2 - Return to Handler’s Side
Exercise 3 - Walk Free Beside Handler
Exercise 4 - Stay Down in one Place
Exercise 5 - Send the Dog to Bed
Exercise 6 - Stop the Dog
Exercise 7 - Relaxed Isolation
Exercise 8 - Food Manners
Exercise 9 - Examination of the Dog
Exercise 10 - Responsibility and Care
You can read full details of the exam requirements here.
Our thanks should go to all at ICC Training, in particular Christina, who has been our instructor week after week, since we first got Ellie. As you will know from previous entries, it took a while before the examinations for the Good Citizen scheme came about, but once things were sorted out, they've been as regular as clockwork, meaning we've been able to make rapid progress. Even more rapid than we'd planned in fact! We're about eighteen months ahead of my very loose schedule.
This result means that Ellie has gone as far as she can go with the Good Citizen scheme, and we have to start thinking about what we're going to do with her now, and what weekly classes, if any, we are going to enter her into. I am now going to return my focus to trick-training with Ellie. She enjoys learning new things, and I really enjoy teaching them. Jan is also looking to enter into heelwork to music with Ellie. That's not my thing at all, but we've reached a point where Jan can at least mention it without me bursting into fits of choking.
I believe it is vital that any dog attends weekly classes of some sort. It's not really about the learning, as much of that takes place at home anyway. You can learn the techniques at the classes, but you still need to go home and practise them day after day. Far more important, for me, is that the dog is learning to respond to requests and focus on the handler, in the presence of other dogs, and in a controlled environment. This is the sort of experience that cannot easily be engineered in a home environment. Any socialisation Ellie has learned has come about almost purely through attending weekly training classes. We don't really encourage her to play with other dogs as that could so easily result in her finding playing with other dogs more exciting than playing with us. Then the problems could really start. If you are able, attend a weekly training class, would be my advice.
Well done Ellie! We're so very proud of her.