Supervised Separation – Canine Good Citizen

Supervised Separation

“This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash” — AKC website.

Try to assess your dogs  feelings about being without you.  Hand her to a stranger and walk a few feet away.  Does she pant? Freeze? Will she take a treat from the stranger?  Some dogs are fine left alone with a stranger.  Many, however, become at least a little nervous.  You will be able to tell your dog’s state of mind if you are good at  reading his or her body language.

How to Train It

The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness.

Start training this in small steps to successfully help an uncomfortable dog become comfortable being without you. Arm the person who is handling the dog with the best treats possible.  Remember that practicing in a familiar environment will be easier than in a new busy environment.

Disappear just a few steps away (behind a tree perhaps) as a start, for a few brief moments.    When you are leaving and out of sight, the handler starts giving treats.  When you return to sight and walk back to the dog, treats stop.  (The same counter conditioning and desensitization protocol we always use.)  If the dogs will not take treats that is a sign you have made the drill too hard.  Of course, if out have any reservations about safety do not jump into this drill without good training advice and preparation.

Gradually build up to three minutes.

About Laurene

Laurene von Klan is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer serving West Los Angeles
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