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Dog Training - Step 4 to the Canine Good Citizen Title

by C. Rogers Upson


Step 4 of 10 to earning a Canine Good Citizen title for your dog is the following:

"Out for a Walk. Goal: Handler takes dog for a short walk including right turn, left turn, about turn and stop."

Sounds easy, doesn't it? While they're not looking for perfect heeling here, they do expect you to be able to walk with your dog and make the moves the Evaluator tells you without getting tangled up. Making the right turn is relatively easy, as you make the turn before the dog does. But the left turn can be a little trickier.

One way to handle it is to draw back on the lead to stop the dog's forward motion and then make the turn in front of him and let him come alongside you after you've turned. By stopping the dog this way, you can make the turn without him walking into your legs and tripping you.

The about turn is usually done to the right and is a 180 degree turn about. The dog is expected to keep up with you in a reasonable manner, so when teaching this, you'll want to encourage him to hustle a bit to stay with you. I've seen folks that had not taught their dogs this and the dog then tried to cross in front of the person and tripped them. Could mean a nasty fall.

When the evaluator asks you to stop, ideally, the dog will sit next to you, but it's not totally required. It will depend on the evaluator.

Things that will fail the dog is if he lags (walks way behind you), forges (goes way in front of you), or strays too far from your side. If you were out walking in a crowd and the dog did that last, you might cause someone else to trip over your lead and get hurt. So, you want to teach your dog to walk nearby and, preferably, on a loose lead. Too much stopping to sniff is not acceptable, either. You're really getting there.

(The information in quotes at the beginning of this article is involved in the CGC test taken from the AKC test scoresheet.)


C. Rogers Upson has been training dogs and studying them for nearly 40 years. Her website is Dog Potentials and she has two dog-related stores at Keeping to the Borders and Dog Potentials-The Store.

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