Learning, Training, Playing – Gearing Up For Exams!

“What we learn with pleasure we never forget”
– Alfred Mercier

Oh how perfectly fitting that quote from Alfred Mercier is for our household at the moment! You see, we’re all very busy learning and putting into action all our hard work towards new qualifications. Phoebe and Cooper are both training hard to pass their tests that will be taking place in September.

Learning can be fun!

Phoebe is gearing up to take the Silver Level KUSA Canine Good Citizen Test. She absolutely blew me away with how well she did at the Bronze CGC Test so we have decided to go ahead and see if she’ll be able to do just as well in the next level. The tasks are in a similar format to the Bronze level with a lot of the same type of tests, just with more emphasis on endurance and concentration.

Phoebe and I learn more about each category in our Saturday morning dog school class where a portion of the class is dedicated to preparation as most of us will be doing one or two of these certification tests on the same day. As usual, Phoebe is happily surpassing all my expectations and is perfecting it every time. I am however very aware that the presence of new (strange) dogs may be her downfall in the “meet-n-greet” exercise, but you know what? I’m totally ok with that – all we can both do is prepare, give it our best effort on the day, and most of all enjoy the time we have to work and bond together!

"This is boring!" Phoebe finds the research part of the study time so very tiresome...

“This is boring!” Phoebe finds the research part of the study time so very tiresome…

Cooper, the newest addition to the family, is also hard at work to get his very own qualification! He is currently enrolled at the same Dog Training School as Phoebe (Dog on the Couch) and is busy training to get the Basic Obedience Certification. Cooper has been with us for about 3 months now, and though he has settled in beautifully, I am still regularly reminded that he is a rescue dog who missed out on many learning opportunities before coming to us. Our biggest problems with him are to get his attention (but I hear both Labs and Bassets can be difficult with this in the beginning?) and leash reactivity. Yup, it looks like I have ANOTHER reactive dog in the house! But it’s ok – at least I’m well educated on all the tips and techniques already!

Due to clashing class times I am not Cooper’s main handler for these lessons. He is being trained by The Greek (my wonderful, animal loving, caring significant other) who has been equally nervous and excited about his own first time doing a Basic Obedience Course – he has however always grown up with dogs and cats throughout his life, just none of them have ever done formal training or needed a behaviourist. Here’s hoping they are both the stars of the class!

"Sit? NAILED it!"

“Sit? NAILED it!”

Phoebe & Cooper’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Obedience, Focus, Training

Tool(s) Used: Obedience Training and Behavioural Training

Cost: Moderate

Ease of Implementation: Moderate

Effectiveness Rating: 5/5. Phoebe and Cooper both love the attention and regular outings they get to go on, whether it’s for “training” or for class. They especially love the regular supply of treats that are coming their way when they learn something new! 🙂 But on a more serious note, I feel the same way as I did for the previous test in that this time is so good and constructive for all of us as it gives us all clear goals to focus on while at the same time giving us the opportunity to not only exercise our bodies, but also our brains!


Have you either done, or considered doing “formal” qualifications with your dog/s? Do you enjoy it?


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