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For those that have CGC certified dogs, did you practice the elements of the test outside of your class? Do you have suggestions for practicing?

I plan on getting Aspen certified this year. I'd like to practice some of the elements now. The ones that I'm most concerned with are "accepting a friendly stranger" and "reaction to dogs". She is SO super friendly. To a fault. I've trained her to sit before she is allowed to be pet so that one should be fine. I think that if someone were to come talk to me and ignore her, she might get over excited and try to get their attention. Is this best to practice with someone that she doesn't know or does it not matter? Similarly, she loves all other dogs and I worry that she'd be in instant 'play mode' at the interaction. I know they will teach us this stuff in class but I was hoping to get a jump start on it.
 

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I don't see the harm in starting to practice it now before the class. I've never taken the time to get my dog certified, but when I would teach the classes regarding the CGC, we would just focus on every step of the test and practice. We practiced everything.
 

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Thanks @jclark343 - I was more curious on the methods people use to practice outside of the classroom. For example, if they practiced with people that the dog knows or strangers. In the class, you're able to set up basically any scenario you want but it's a little more difficult to get the tools/people in everyday life :)
 

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I would start with people the dog knows for 2 reasons, 1) setting them up for success. The dog is going to be more likely to jump on someone they know, giving you a chance to reward and reinforce proper greeting. and 2) because people you know are easier to train. And you can tell them hey, walk up and greet me and don't acknowledge the dog. When you first start working with it, you may need to have the person walk away if Aspen is getting too overzealous, and telling a stranger to walk away a few times doesn't usually go over well.
 

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Personally I would start training the different skills. Accepting a friendly stranger and reaction to another dog really are everyday situations. Dogs aren't going to be able to greet every persona and dog they encounter, so it's nice to have these skills trained!

Ditto that it's nice to start with people/dogs you know to train the behaviors and then move on to people/dogs Aspen doesn't know and/or even practicing in the real world. :)
 
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