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Hi, I have looked into getting the CGC, but wondered what your experiences have been with it. Is it worth doing, how long did it take, what age was your dog? Any fails? Successes?I live in a small, remote town and am self training my dog, would probably have to drive a ways to find somewhere that will do the test, but I hope to someday be able to do some informal therapy dog work, looks like this is a first step. Any info would be great!
 

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My dog was 2 yo. The hardest part was walking out of sight. The required training is definitely worth it. If you are disciplined (and a perfectionist), the certificate may not be needed, once you are satisfied that the dog is calm, confident, and predictable. However, the CGC certificate used to be proof of a good dog... which may be needed for therapy.
 

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I always have my dogs take the test. I also have some of my foster dogs take it. My youngest dog to ever test was 5 months old. She marched through the test like a pro. My oldest dog was 8.

Most therapy groups do their own testing, but many of the tests have the CGC embedded in them. I think it's worth it to take the CGC. Many dogs act differently in testing than in training, so it's good to get out there and do the work under the pressure of a semi-formal environment.
 

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The Therapy test and the CGC are very similar in the fact that the Therapy test encompasses the CGC and then adds on a few extra things that are strictly for therapy, like, a dog having to do well with a wheelchair around it or has to remain calm while all of the machines are making the noises.

The CGC can be done either by taking classes designed toward the end goal being the CGC or just by training yourself. You can find the requirements for the CGC on the AKC website to help you figure out what areas you and your dog may have to work on.

Having said that - you can't take the therapy test until your dog is over 1 year old anyway. So I haven't taken the CGC yet. I'm waiting for Bella to settle down and mature a bit before I go and do the two (if I feel she'll be a good candidate). I might not take it for another year or so with her. I do know someone who passed their CGC with a Siberian at 9 and a half months but it can be done at any age.
 

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We have to have cgc or obedience certification for the sar dogs, so we do them. Usually by 4 months, depending on the dog. It's ok, though they don't offer the advanced stuff. It's good for teaching pups to behave around other dogs and people if you don't have that option elsewhere. Usually I do the obedience cert through napwda or an equivalent.
 

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Hi, I have looked into getting the CGC, but wondered what your experiences have been with it. Is it worth doing,
The CGC - or whatever the equivalent is in your country - is definitely a goal to aim for. Goals are good motivators (for people - the dogs work for their own motivators)

The CGC program is not just about the test - it also teaches responsible dog ownership.


how long did it take, what age was your dog? Any fails? Successes?I live in a small, remote town and am self training my dog, would probably have to drive a ways to find somewhere that will do the test, but I hope to someday be able to do some informal therapy dog work, looks like this is a first step. Any info would be great!
It takes what it takes. Our "black Marley" was the only one we've done it with that didn't pass on the first try after a reasonable amount of training (not unexpected for him).

In most training schools, the test is usually given at the end of the final "pet training" class - sometimes in conjunction with a therapy dog test - sometimes by itself. It's also part of a lot of 4H classes.

However, I know MANY people who have self-trained with their dogs and passed the CGC test and the therapy test.

Depending on where you live, "informal" therapy dog work may or may not be possible. Around here, you must have a certification from a therapy dog organization to go into a medical facility, school, library, etc., where most of the therapy work takes place.

Most therapy organizations require that you pass their own test even if your dog already has a CGC or equivalent. Some accept the CGC test but require a retest if the test is more than a year old.

People who are seriously into doing therapy work often go way beyond the minmum requirements. Many of them do trick training, freestyle, etc and incorporate those things into their therapy visits.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks. I am not in Canada, just a transplanted Canadian living in the USA, even have my citizenship now! Thought it was a cute little flag-waver, but maybe confusing. Anyways, I really live in a rural area, and just thought about visiting seniors or shut-ins or helping kids with things like reading with a dog or something like that. I seriously doubt there is anything more going on around here, and I am sure I would just get her trained and then volunteer and see if anyone wanted me to do it. But as she gets older I will look into it more seriously. I had seen someone saying (before this thread) that their 5 month old puppy had gotten his CGC, so I didn't know if I was behind.Thanks for the advice, guys! I am a SAHM who just wants to do the best I can for our new puppy. She is kinda my fun project and exercise motivator :)
 

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I have a golden retriever that got it at 7 months and my 7 month old german shepherd will attempt it Monday...I'm not to sure she will stay with a stranger..she is very attached to me.
 

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I was the one who had a 5 month old pass the test. I now have a 7 month old who wouldn't have a chance at passing!

There are no rules! Some do things earlier than others!
 

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My adult Boxer passed it on a Whim at a dog fair- we were just passing by(there was a Booth set up for you to register to take the CGC)-- I had done 2 obedience classes with her (puppy class and dog 101) as well as a bit of Agility -- what I can say is I had had a baby(she was a toddler at the time of the test) so the dog was used to odd movements, did nt startle easily, and was super responsive and mellow-- also at the end of the exam where your dog greets the next dog (a Sheltie) appropriatley-- that dog bit her in the Face (and she did nt respond just looked up at me like, Mom what just happened?)-- my other Boxer would never have passed-- he was super neurotic, over reactive, and male dog aggressive....
 

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So I just read through the test items on the AKC site and for the grooming section it says they have to be brushed (with your own dog brush) calmly. Jubel's coat is short enough it doesn't need brushing so the closest we come to brushing is using a zoom-groom when he's shedding. He doesn't really fight it but he's really squirmy when I do it.

Is the brushing even for short coated dogs actually required? If it is I think that would be the biggest challenge for Jubel in this test, any other grooming/handling thing he'd be fine he just doesn't like brushing and doesn't need it so we don't do it. Pretty sure the only risk of him jumping up on people is if they have treats on them which aren't aloud for testing so I'd assume the evaluators won't have or smell like them.

For greeting a friendly stranger if they squat down to greet him it's quite possible he'll try and give them a kiss if their face is close enough, is that allowed?

This might be one of the next things I do with Jubel only a few things he might have trouble with at this point I think.
 

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When we were doing the CGC ~ 10 years ago, the point was to have a friendly, calm dog that doesn't get over-excited easily. Interpretation of each item was up to the judge.
1. When they do the brush test, they use your brush. The general feeling is that dogs like to be brushed. Mine is like yours that he doesn't need brushing (his coat is mid-length Lab, rather than short, like a boxer or pit), but he will tolerate it. He loves a massage, but doesn't seem to care for brushing. The judge did require brushing.
2. Licking- again my dog is like yours, if you get in his face, he may wash yours :) ... I asked the judge beforehand, and she answered that CGC is not a formal show or obedience evaluation. It's to measure temperament. And, in her opinion, a dog that wags his tail and licks the judge .... should get extra points!

Your mileage may vary :)
 

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hmm... I may just go and take the test at a near by training facility. They have an intermediate obedience class with CGC testing at the end and also offer just the test for $15 on certain dates (assuming when the classes end and test). Pay $15 and see how we do and decide if it's stuff I can work on on our own if he doesn't pass or if we should sign up for the class.

Also our instructor for our nosework class we're doing right now is a CGC evaluator, guess I can ask her some questions this weekend. Haha she already has an inside look at Jubel's "worst" behaviors from his excitement in class he'll pull on the leash and jump up on people with treats if they ignore him and I let him close enough to do so.
 

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All of my dogs have passed the CGC it is quite easy and I do think it is a good thing to do. There is nothing wrong with training at home, I have done this as well. In fact, the local kennel club has a class that teaches it but I found I could do better on my own.

Funny story about a dog that I had many many years ago. It was a 140lb male Rottie that was the most Teddy Bear like dog you can imagine. He was a total love and a very very easy going guy. There were tons of people in the test area at a training center where they were holding the CGC. They were actually testing many dogs at the same time, each in different test areas. It was our turn and we passed everything with flying colors until the last test area which was the "stay, out of site" In this case we were to bring our dog into a back office with a handler, you could either hand her the leash or tie the dog to a desk and leave the room. The handler was afraid of my dog so I tied him to the desk. NOT good, It was against my better judgment, I should have asked for a handler that wasn't afraid of my dog. Well, he stayed for a little while and then all of a sudden, I am sitting on the bleachers out in the front with about 25 others and we hear this horrible noise. It sounded like a large, heavy wooden desk being dragged down the hall. UGH! My dog had simply gotten up and began walking out to find me. The fearful lady had not shut the door or tried to talk to him at all. He wasn't panicked or anything, he was just board. He still passed because he had stayed well past the time he was required, and he wasn't nervous at all despite the fearful woman in the area with him. Needless to say, everyone got a good laugh.

The testing for this has been different in the past few years. It is usually one dog at a time, the people seem more comfortable around dogs of all sizes and shapes. They even offered the test at a pet fair I was at with Oliver. I didn't know they were doing it, hadn't been working on it but thought, I would try it with him since we were there. He passed with flying colors and even made a few friends while we were there.

Licking is not a bad thing for a CGC, It isn't a great thing for Therapy but if the dog gives one quick lick, it won't be deemed unworthy of therapy work. If your dog is friendly and is used to being handled by you and others, you will likely not have any issues. The biggest thing for many folks is the approaching a friendly stranger with a dog. Practice walking up to people (you know) who have a well behaved dog. Have your dog heel, and then ask to sit before trying to shake the persons hand and then walk past. Don't allow your dog to go by the other dog. It seemed to me that most folks found that to be the hardest part of the test. Also practice leaving your dog with others for a few minutes here and there.
 

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... And, I do recommend working with your nosework instructor, before you pay the $15. As Inga said: The out of sight test, and meeting with a friendly stranger can cause the most difficulty... even with a friendly dog.
 

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So I just read through the test items on the AKC site and for the grooming section it says they have to be brushed (with your own dog brush) calmly. Jubel's coat is short enough it doesn't need brushing so the closest we come to brushing is using a zoom-groom when he's shedding. He doesn't really fight it but he's really squirmy when I do it.

Is the brushing even for short coated dogs actually required?
Yes it is required (Item # 3 on the test). We don't expect the dog to be stacked as in the show ring, or even to follow a Novice obedience Stand for Exam. Just under reasonable control as the evaluator lightly brushes or combs him and does a very brief exam.

The "official" AKC guideline for this Item :

"Some dogs will wiggle or squirm when they are excited. Some squirming is acceptable, however, this should not be so excessive that the dog cannot be brushed."​


So it would be a good idea for you to curb this a bit.


If it is I think that would be the biggest challenge for Jubel in this test, any other grooming/handling thing he'd be fine he just doesn't like brushing and doesn't need it so we don't do it.
I would suggest you start doing it - a little every day or so - to get Jubel used to it. Most dogs actually get to like a light brushing with a soft brush after it's been done a few times - it's basically the same thing as petting them - and you don't have to actually train that part- just do it. But if your dog is one of those that absolutely won't tolerate it, you will have to train it.

One of the common failures on this Item is really squirmy dogs, so it's actually something an evaluator will be looking for.

Pretty sure the only risk of him jumping up on people is if they have treats on them which aren't aloud for testing so I'd assume the evaluators won't have or smell like them.
You're correct - the evaluators won't have treats on them. However, keep in mind that for the most part, the evaluators are 'dog people' and may well carry a hint of dogs and dog food that your dog will detect. So it's a good idea to train him to not jump at all.

For greeting a friendly stranger if they squat down to greet him it's quite possible he'll try and give them a kiss if their face is close enough, is that allowed?

On the CGC test, for item #1, the evaluator will remain upright when greeting you and will pretty much ignore the dog. For item # 2, the evaluator will pet your dog, usually from as upright a position as they can maintain and still touch the dog.

On a therapy dog test, however, the evaluator may adopt all kinds of postures and positions.- including bending over, sitting, squatting down, hugging the dog, etc - as required or suggested by the organization. A quick lick usualy won't be a problem, but a full scale tongue washing may be.
 

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Lloyd has his, it was easy. Although we were being used as the tester dog for awhile before I bothered to do the test lol. I figured if he was being the tester dog he might as well do the other parts lol. The two things dogs seem to have the most trouble with are when their owner greets another person who also has a dog (they usually want to go say hi to the other dog but aren't supposed to) and when the owner leaves the room.
 

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Lloyd has his, it was easy. Although we were being used as the tester dog for awhile before I bothered to do the test lol. I figured if he was being the tester dog he might as well do the other parts lol. The two things dogs seem to have the most trouble with are when their owner greets another person who also has a dog (they usually want to go say hi to the other dog but aren't supposed to) and when the owner leaves the room.
Haha as long as I can tell him to sit and stay I don't anticipate either of those to be a problem. Really in my mind the biggest issue to work on may be the brushing right now. He wouldn't snap or snarl at anyone trying to brush him but he'd squirm and maybe try and mouth the brush to get it to stop. If I can use the zoom-groom as a brush he'll do better but still quite squirmy.

I haven't tested how long he'll hold a stay with me out of sight for duration so I guess that depends on how long he needs to stay but I KNOW he could easily go 3-4 minutes. Plus he's comfortable being left with others, he'd prefer to go with me and might try and follow if I don't ask for a stay but he wouldn't freak out over being left. Might break the stay but I doubt he'd freak out.
 

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Buffy passed it either at 11 months or 13 months, I forget. We had taken some obedience classes but no specific CGC preparation. We did do some CGC-type exercises in class though. They were offering it at a pet event, so I figured I'd try it, and she passed.

The instructor was a little annoyed that most people didn't bring their own brush, so I had to lend mine for a bit. There was also a Chinese Crested ahead of us which, as a hairless dog, didn't have to do the brush test. It didn't pass anyway for other reasons.

I'm not sure Buffy would pass it now though. It's hard to say. She does well in classroom environments, but her jumping on people has gotten worse.
 
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