Canine Good Handler Program
What Is It All About?
Telling Tails will be offering a new and exciting alternative to advanced training. The Canine Good Handler (CGH) classes will offer an opportunity for students to complete and be awarded for skills that exemplify a well-rounded dog/handler team.
The CGH awards are modeled after the skills required in the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test, therapy dog tests, and service dog training. In this program, students may work on any of the award categories and progress in the levels separately from the other categories.
Each of over 70 skills in 16 different categories will be available for students to work toward achieving. Each category will have skills representing a variety of different levels. For example, in the category of GREETING, students may work on skills ranging from greeting another person from a distance of 10 feet, to having a dog lie down on a mat while a person reads to them.
CGH skills will be evaluated during your class time and will not require a separate “test”. All your class work including the time that you are not working on an exercise will be considered. The goal of CGH is to teach handlers to manage their dogs all the time, not just during an exercise. Our goal is always to have a “good citizen” in our dogs. Consistency is the road that will take you there. Your instructor will be not only helping you during exercises, but also suggesting ways to improve how you enter and exit class, move around class, and manage your dog between exercises to help you with that necessary consistency.
At Telling Tails we recognize that training is and should be an ongoing process. While we strive to reduce the number of treat rewards we require for basic skills, we also know that dogs, like people, should not be expected to always work without a paycheck. Rewards are important. For that reason, all the skills in CGH may be evaluated with the use of treats as rewards. Treats may not be used however as lures. They may only be used as rewards after a skill has been completed. This means that handlers must not have treats in their hands until AFTER the skill has been performed.
We also believe that some training tools like front hook harnesses and gentle leaders are necessary throughout the training process and for some dogs, for the life of the dog. We allow all training harnesses and collars except prong and choke collars.
Because working with dogs is a “team” sport (you and your dog) this class is designed to manage one handler per dog. If there are multiple handlers in the family that would like to achieve the awards, then the second handler may attend a second class where they will work the dog as the primary handler toward skill awards.
Because not all dogs are created equal and most of our dogs have lifelong struggles with some things, CGH is designed with the flexibility to work on problem areas but to also be awarded for the appropriate management of our dogs as they struggle with certain training skills. Your instructor will help you with a training plan for these problem areas but will also suggest ways to manage your dog appropriately as you work on your areas of concern.
Why We Created CGH
At Telling Tails we have been giving the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test created by the AKC for years. While we believe that this test provides a great goal for many, we also feel it is unfortunate that the test does not help us work gradually through the training process.
We have seen many students enter the CGC class after they have completed Pet Dog 102. At this point in training it is not uncommon for teams to be not quite ready to move immediately to the successful performance of all ten items on the CGC test. And it is less realistic to expect the successful performance of all 10 of those items without the use of rewards or the equipment that is not allowed during testing. Training is a process involving many small steps to get to our end goal. The CGC test is a big step. We wanted to help break down those steps.
We have felt for a very long time that it is unrealistic for many of our dogs to pass all 10 items in the CGC test and have felt defeated with them when they have struggled on one item that their dog may or may not ever be accomplished at.
We feel a dog can be a “good citizen” if the handler has been well trained and understands and knows how to manage his or her dogs’ limitations at the time. And so we wanted to reward that.
We have strived to create a program where dogs and handlers could thrive as a team, learning not only how to do a skill but also how handlers could learn to adapt to suit their dogs day to day needs.
How it Will Work
CGH Classes will be six weeks.
The 16 categories include: Sit, Down, Greeting, Stand, Leash Walking, Dog Distraction, Noise and Movement Distractions, Stay, Recall, Handling, Separation, Mat Work, Crate, Doorways, Leave it, and Car Manners. Within each of these categories there will be different skills at different levels for students to work on.