Companion Dog (CD)

Posted by: elisabeth

Companion Dog (CD) - 11/23/14 01:09 AM

For those who have accomplished their CD title (either for CKC or AKC) what are some helpful tips that you can share in regard to prepping for this?

Any exercises you wish you solidified more before trialing? Any little surprises that you wish you knew about before hand?

Any advice would be welcomed.
Posted by: lhczth

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 11/23/14 11:19 AM

I had great advice with my first dog and that was to maintain pace. I think it helped me when Apollo decided to lag 2' behind me all through the off lead heeling. I was so nervous and he was not the most motivated dog (wish I had him when I was a more skilled trainer), but my not slowing down and waiting for him helped keep our score in the reasonable range.

With Tara, I had never trained for an outdoor trial so she was very very distracted. She forgot how to sit through most of the heeling patterns. Luckily she was good enough everywhere else that we got an OK score and passed.

With Treue I had a judge tell me that on the recalls I was moving my fingers. She said she didn't take points because she didn't believe I was even aware of what I was doing. This is where having good people to train with helps. I had this most of the time especially with Apollo and Tara. Most of the work with Treue was on my own.


Know the rules. Be polite. Smile. Don't turn into a zombie. If you think it might help you, do some fun matches. During the long sit/down do NOT stand there staring at your dog. That can make them uncomfortable and more likely to break. I used to look at my watch or over their heads. Know the rules.
Posted by: Codmaster

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 11/24/14 01:57 AM

Originally Posted By: elisabeth
For those who have accomplished their CD title (either for CKC or AKC) what are some helpful tips that you can share in regard to prepping for this?

Any exercises you wish you solidified more before trialing? Any little surprises that you wish you knew about before hand?

Any advice would be welcomed.


Biggest suggestion I would say is to have "Proofed" the dog in environments with high distractions similar to what you might encounter in the OB ring - i.e. with other people and dogs pretty close to where you and the dog will be working.

Also, proofed in noisy and somewhat chaotic situations. And depending on the handler - practice when you are excited and a bit anxious perhaps.

Good luck and most of all, have fun with your dog!
Posted by: Kayos

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 11/24/14 08:16 AM

Relax. I once had a jude tell me to have a shot of Baileys before I went in the ring!

I think the biggest problem for me was overcoming ring nerves. With my first few dogs I had pretty bad ring nerve issues. Any more it is just like whatever..... You pass or not.

You can proof and condition yourslef for many distractions adn sometimes stuff just happens that you cannot predict. I think the biggest is as Lisa said, maintain pace and give your dog a stable paltform to look to. Do stays with other dogs so she is used to that. Try some small breeds too.

I always make the sight picture different for the stays. For the recall my hand position is at my sides. For the stays I cross my arms across my chest and kind of lean back on one foot. I also chose a spot over the dogs left ear to watch. I do not make eye contact on the stays.
Posted by: elisabeth

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 11/24/14 10:58 AM

Thanks everyone!

When we went to our Rally trial I was so nervous I thought I was going to pass out. We pulled through but I could tell I freaked her out a bit with my behaviour (and the judge and Ring Stewart even told me so.. lol). I am usually very calm and collected but for some reason just lost it for this event.

I am signed up for 2 more legs to finish her RN title and then will be doing her RA title first before I try for the CD. We went in blind basically with only working with our trainer twice in this venue so I was extremely pleased with her performance especially since I left her to sorta do it on her own since my nerves got the best of me.

I am working with a trainer now and I feel more confident about this time around. I have had to adjust our training a bit so that I am not so clumsy with the lead.

All of this obedience is to prep me for our schH titles this fall. My trainer wanted me to get some trial experience before I go on the field since my nerves are so crazy. She said it is good for me to try new things and step outside of my comfort zone which is definitely happening!

Thank you for the tips, they are about on par with what I am being told by my trainer so that makes me feel good.

Posted by: lhczth

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 11/24/14 11:17 AM

The first leg of my very first CD I trialed under one of the toughest judges out there at the time. I wish people hadn't told me that. LOL It was also at the Doberman specialty. I was shaking so badly I thought I was going to collapse. I don't know how my knees didn't buckle and I doubt I breathed through the whole pattern. I sort of wish we had Rally back then to help get my feet wet.
Posted by: elisabeth

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 11/24/14 12:16 PM

Haha.. yeah, that sounds about right!

The judge we had for our Rally trial was super nice. He was giving all the novice dogs nicknames to try and calm the handlers. Some of the dogs were called, "pond dog" (for the retriever), "mop dog" (for the shih tzu)and Zefra was called "junk yard dog" (he said it was because she looked like one of those mean big old bad dogs you see behind the tall fence... lol). Made me laugh a bit but was still super nervous!

Rally I think will be a good thing for me. I did however get dinged for not talking to my dog and when it was over he asked me, "do you do schutzhund?" and when I said yes, he laughed and said "it shows" and smiled at me.
Posted by: middleofnowhere

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 11/24/14 08:28 PM

Yeah well the first judge tried to be friendly and conversational too. Didn't help- just another wrench in the works as far as I was concerned. I only took one dog through AKC obedience, the late great Barker the Elder. We managed to blow Novice A in a great variety of ways. At just a fun match she was in her rock solid long sit - saw me looking anxious and said "oh you always like it when I lay down. I'll lay down. That should help!" And in a way it did. Although we disqualified with that it was very hard to keep from laughing. She still gave me the best recall of the lot in those days when AKC people trained incredibly pokey downs and recalls.
The times we qualified were: 1. arriving in a rain storm; can't get squared away the night before like I prefer - what the heck we already drove about 300 miles might as well go ahead 2. entered to trial on vacation - nothing going the way I planned. Raining, outdoor trial, no room to set up crate, train going by with a whistle right next to the site. What the heck, I paid my fee. 3. close to our new home but they closed the building early so there was no way to set up the night before and I had taken time off work to do this. Not happy but again, paid the fees might as well do it. So personally, I did best when everything fell apart and I was relaxed because what the heck...

So what's going to work depends on the handler and the dog. I do better with a bad attitude...
Posted by: Codmaster

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 11/24/14 11:16 PM

A big thing for the nervous handler is to be sure that your dog is "ready" to go into the ring.

many many times you will see dogs/handlers in a trial who clearly are not ready to be shown. And you will see this even in the "B" classes where the handlers and/or dogs are supposed to be veterans, so to speak.

So the best advice is to train, train, train and "proof" enough so you are confident that your dog is ready. Also, are there any "matches" around you where you can go and practice? That will help your nervousness (and add to your confidence)!

For an example of "proofing", would your dog work heel and stay pretty perfectly if you took him/her walking down a public, busy sidewalk around your house; how about a practice in a nearby public park or how about just outside the fence near a nearby dog park? If I couldn't do this with my own dog, I wouldn't consider my dog ready to show.

Just a thought! And I also suggest that you go alone and watch a lot of trials - esp. the handlers and you can see what they do that is good and what they do that maybe you can avoid.
Posted by: Selzer

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 11/24/14 11:40 PM

I think, especially in A, the judges are really nice, and help you understand that they are not out to get you. Remember too that it isn't the end of the world. If you NQ, you sign up for another trial and qualify at that one, no big deal. You can get a CD with 3 qualifying scores. It never says that you have to have no more than 1 non-qualifying score. You can NQ every weekend for a year, and if you scrape 3 qualifies, doesn't matter, you get your CD.

The thing is, you are probably going to do just fine. They used to have matches, and they were great because you were judged like in a show, by judges, and sometimes even get ribbons, but they only cost $5. It isn't for legs, but you get experience, and you can then get really good before signing up for a show.

Try to find an obedience run-through if you are nervous about it.
Posted by: elisabeth

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 05/31/15 10:57 PM

I thought I would update this a bit... after our first trial Zefra got quite sick. She has been back and forth to the vet since for some anal gland issues. Infections and illness have been pretty common around here as Stark is now sick as well. Two sick dogs, TONES of vet appointments don't leave any funds for trialing. Our training had some set back due to this but now that everyone seems to be on the mend (knock on wood, its been a killer winter... frown ) I am hoping to get back to classes and hit the trial ring.

Thanks for all the suggestions and I will let you know once we get back from the few trials I have planned in the next few months.
Posted by: Codmaster

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 06/01/15 12:52 AM

Good luck - that sounds really tough!
Posted by: elisabeth

Re: Companion Dog (CD) - 06/01/15 01:32 AM

Thanks, it has been one heck of a year let me tell you. I don't know if it is a combination of genetics, environment (apartment living) or what... but I am very tired of having sick dogs and I am sure they are sick of being sick.. my poor pups. frown They both (knock on wood) seem to be doing okay now, but Zefra is still battling the anal gland thing and if at our next appointment (next month) she is still full and infected when expressed we will be opting for surgery (removal of glands) which will of course set us back again in training. She is very much bothered by this so it will need to happen if we can't maintain. It has been hard and we have had some very worrying nights here this past year.