|We did it! We passed the CGC test.|
We were the first ones to arrive at the testing site -- a city park sprinkled with adults and children enjoying the beautiful day. Once another dog and handler team arrived, we got started with the first test -- accepting a friendly stranger. Bo sat comfortably as our instructor's assistant walked up to me and said hello and then walked away, only to walk back and ask to pet Bo. The test moved swiftly from that point on and I praised Bo generously each time he completed an item. The last test was a supervised separation. I had to leave Bo with a friendly stranger, walk away and stay out of Bo's sight for three minutes. This was the hardest part of the test for me. I couldn't see what he was doing and the three minutes felt like ten. When I got the okay to return to Bo, the instructor told me he had passed.
I felt a great sense of pride with the news that he had successfully passed. This feeling of success and accomplishment wasn't because the CGC is a really hard or prestigious test that only select teams can take and pass. To the contrary, the test is available to any dog and handler team and the test items represent pretty basic obedience skills. What really fueled my pride was knowing the time, energy and work we both had put in to get us to this point.
For us, the CGC is the first of three tests we are pursuing as part of Bo's public access training. The other two are the AKC Community Canine, the advanced level of the CGC Program, and the Assistance Dog International Public Access Certification Test. We will continue our daily training, group training and one-on-one instructor guided training, as part of our goal to take and pass these advanced level tests.