Canine Good Citizen Award

Today was the day. No snow, no wind, and no freezing cold temps. Here's how the day unfolded.OK. I've been calling it the Canine Good Samaritan test. It's Good Citizen. Oh well. Whatever.

Up at 6 Am. Actually was warmer at 6 AM than it was at 7 AM. Let the Girls out to pee, and back into bed because it's fun for the whole family to fit on the bed and hang out. Back up at 6:20.

Then, eat, pack and load everyone into the car. Pick up Joanne, our wonderful friend, who gets a "Good Citizen" award herself. She took photos all day, held the dogs and seemed to have a great time, herself. She put up with all of us, all day long.

we got to the place near Colorado Springs at 9:30 and met some other dogs. I was the ring master, Steve was the side kick, and Joanne the photographer, and Girl's sitter when were busy.
Then you wait. And wait. And wait. Lots of waiting. Like a bike race. But it's not so bad. Getting your dog to learn to "wait" isn't a bad thing. Patience is a virtue. You know, like when you go to the coffee shop, run into a friend, and make your dog sit there like he/she is interested in what you're talking about. And sit there and sit there and .....

Then it was time to watch people start confirmation. That's where dogs of a certain class (female, or male, 6 months or adult) go into the ring. In the ring, they are expected to trot around, stack (certain kind of stand), allow the judge to touch them, look at teeth and watch them, and then, do an out an back trot for movement.

Lucie used to be a show gal, but didn't really like it. That was fine for us. We told her that being our lovable, smart, funny, obedient, hiking pal, was just fine with us. Today, she did her first "stack" in a year, and I think she looked awesome. Unfortuneately, it doesn't matter to the judges what I think. But then again, I'm just a person, and wife, a bike racer, and a mom to my girls, and well, I'd love them for whatever they decide to do with their lives.

So Lucie placed third out of three. I'll take it. Like I tell my bike racing clients, "It's not that only so many women showed up to race, it's that YOU showed up to race"

Next it was Kayla's turn. She's never been in a show ring. It showed. Oh well. Goofy Kayla. Tired her best. That's all I wanted. She finally had to be coaxed to trot around the ring with Lucie running around the outside of the ring with her. What a great big sister. Way to go Lucie.
That's what big sisters are for, right? Kayla second out of two.

Kayla's stack was, well, OK. At least she tried. She even let the judge look at her teeth.

Onto the "Best Female Head". I actually entered them into the "Movement" category. Since it didn't go so well in Confirmation, I asked to switch to the "Female Best Head" judging. How can you go wrong with your head? We didn't win the best head award, but the judges told me that both my Girls were second. Yeah!

Next, we were on to the Good Citizen test. The dogs go into the ring with 3 other dogs and three strangers/judges. The test includes several tests. All tests are to test the dog's ability to be with a stranger and be calm and inviting.

The tests are:
Walk around the judges and remain calm.
Walk past another dog calmly while the owners shake hands.
Walk around the ring while a lot of noise is being made. Our noise was made with cookie sheets banged together.
Allow the judges to brush the dogs, touch/pat the dogs, and look at their teeth.
Have the dogs hold a sit, down and a stay. The stay is held while we walked 25 feet away.
Have the dog stay with the judge, while we leave the area-unseen, for 3 minutes.
No problem holding a sit from 25 feet away. Bring on the hard stuff, mom.

Lucie and Kayla did wonderful. They did as they were instructed and were very obedient. I thought the hardest part would be my leaving them for 3 minutes. Nope, they were champs!
Probably harder for me leaving.

After the Good Citizen testing I decided to try them out with the Lure Coursing. Neither dog had done this before, but both come from champion coursing backgrounds, so what the heck. Always worth a try.

Lure Coursing is accomplished by the dogs chasing a plastic bag around a course. Today's course was only about 150 yards. Regular course are 600-700 yards. Seems easy, right? I mean dogs love chasing moving objects. And I'm always telling them not to chase the cats, or the bunnies in the driveway, or the ground squirrels.
The "bunny".

Lucie wouldn't start the chase and instead kept looking at me as if I was going to tell her to stop. Then she began to run and finished the course. Not stellar but she did it. Kayla ran tentatively around the course and came back to us.

The second go round was pretty funny. Lucie ran the course 1/3 of the way, cut across the middle, and right back to the machine that operates the "bunny". Kayla, ran 5 feet and headed straight back to me and sat between my legs. Game over, time to go home. Had enough. Done.

It's fun to take a whole day and do something you would never normally do. That's life and it's how we learn. Socialization is a good thing for human and canine. Now, lets go hiking back in the woods.

Kayla finishing the day by finishing the run, early.