Ahhhh, we came so close to getting the CGC yesterday that it's almost painful. Seamus did magnificently on the first nine tests, and Dale will be as surprised as Greg was to hear that Seamus did not do his usual "rummy, rummy" brand of sliming on the tester. He was happy and wiggly, but he kept his tongue to himself. He was polite but not wacky with the demo dog, a sweet yellow Lab named Becky. He didn't lose his cool in the "crowd," even though one of the people was blowing a whistle. He focused so well on me during the "leave it" exercise that he hardly noticed the nice squeaky toy the tester tried to offer him. He even aced the sit-stay and the down-stay, his weakest points in obedience.
The last test in the series is the "supervised separation." In that test, the handler leaves the dog with the tester and goes out of sight of the dog for three minutes. During that period, the dog is not supposed to whine, bark, lunge, howl, or show obvious signs of distress.
Poor Seamus did his best. When I returned to the testing area after my three minutes were up, the tester handed his leash back to me and said sadly, "He was reallllly stressed." He'd managed to make it without me for about a minute before he started squeaking. The tester then signed the form and checked off the "Did Not Pass" box on the front, though she obviously regretted having to do so. She handed it to me and we departed for home empty-handed.
Well, not really empty-handed. Around my herding buddies, I keep repeating a phrase that has helped me keep perspective when I blow it in the herding arena: "You never come away with nothing. You either get a leg, or you get a lesson." Guess this time we got a lesson.
I can't lie and say I'm not a little bit disappointed that we didn't get the CGC yesterday, especially since Seamus did so well in nine out of ten tests. Considering he and I haven't been together as a team all that long, he really did great. That tenth one is something that time and a little training can help.
Duncan was nine when he got his CGC, though he did get it on the first try. Charlie didn't get his; he was a 9-month-old puppy at the time, and he couldn't resist jumping up and kissing the tester. He wouldn't pass now, but for a different reason: he's a little too sound-sensitive after having had Lyme to be calm during the "crowd scene."
We'll try again when Seamus is a little older and more settled. In the meantime, we can focus on the activities that require us to work as a team. There are no long separations in rally-o or novice obedience. Of course, we still need to work on those sit-stays and down-stays.
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