Tonight was our eighth class of Canine Good Citizen. While Settler has some great skills and manners, his immaturity during the meet and greet still needs some work. The dogs testing for CGC need to remain seated when a stranger comes up to shake your hand. The stranger then asks to pet your dog and your dog still needs to stay seated. Settler's excitement to immediately say hello makes it difficult for him to hold position. He has some serious tail wagging going on! He does well but is always on the verge of wanting to get up. To work on this we have been rewarding a lot of calm behaviors in the house so he knows he gets rewarded for relaxing. I have also been having him hold a sit-stay and approaching him myself, or putting his collar on while he is in a sit-stay since that builds excitement for him. We will get creative when we work 1v1 since we do not always have another person around to practice with.
During the month of July we will take a break from Canine Good Citizen indoors and focus heavily on getting out in public. This will desensitize him a bit from all of the people and commotion since not everyone will want to say hello. We will do structured public outings with Mary of Lucky Dog Company and we will also do plenty of outings on our own.
Since Settler won't be participating in the indoor CGC class I have decided that Chesnee will begin her therapy journey as well. I would like to get her Canine Good Citizen title and decide from there if we will pursue anymore into therapy work at a higher level. Since Chesnee is seven years of age she has a lot more maturity. She also has a completely different personality and loves to relax with people and be pet. I will see where she is at during the first class starting in July to see which skills she needs to touch up on in order to pass the test.
Since I may or may not show Settler again in conformation I may also enroll him in a class for showing. Since there is a stand for exam where the judge must touch and examine the dog, this is a great challenge for Settler to also help in with therapy work but in a different context.
We cannot wait to see how July goes! Each day we are moving closer to our goals and are enjoying the journey so much. It is incredibly motivating to know at the end of all of this we will be helping so many people and putting smiles on so many faces.