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Wily with ribbonWily's Brilliant Career

For years, the Evil Princess worked during the day and went to school at night, eventually earning three titles -- CGC, CD, and UCD -- and two legs toward a fourth.

The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) was a breeze, since we did it after we were pretty far along in training for our Companion Dog title, the CD, which is significantly more difficult.

Wily and me at schoolThe CGC, for those who are not dog training enthusiasts, is a test of a dog's basic manners and temperament. The dog must walk pleasantly on leash, for example, must be polite to a friendly stranger, and must not misbehave in the presence of another leashed dog.

The CD is earned in the novice level of formal obedience competition. It requires precise heeling on and off leash, and an off-leash recall. The dog must also stand still to be examined by a judge and then must hold both a sit-stay and a down-stay in a group of other dogs. The standards are pretty high, and it takes a while to learn the exercises. Most dogs train for close to a year in preparation for the CD.

After she finished her CD, Wily got the very similar UCD title, which is the United Kennel Club's version of the AKC title. There are minor differences, not so difficult to learn once you've gotten that far. For example, each dog has to lie unattended in the ring while another dog does his exercises. This was almost easier than the standard down-stay for Wily, because she had something interesting to watch while holding her stay. Also, the recall has a low jump. Wily liked that better than the straight recall required by the AKC. In all, she liked the UCD better and did a better job.

Wily at the officeOf course, all while training and competing Wily worked a day job at Craig's office, doubling as receptionist and office manager, and helping out with a little light typing and filing.

We trained for another year in preparation for the more advanced open competition, hoping to complete the Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) title. We got one leg, but then I became concerned that the jumps might be hard on Wily. By now, she was five years old. Rumor had it that the jump heights were coming down within the year, so we bided our time.

Wily and me on the roadAs soon as the new regulations came into effect, we hit the road again and got the second leg on our CDX. The old girl was living up to her name by then, though...

To get the CDX, the dog has to be able to do long sit- and down-stays with the handler out of sight. Wily figured I wouldn't notice if she took the occasional nap during sits, and figured she could sit up to relieve the boredom and then lie back down before I returned.

TrophyWe got into a habit of doing just great in the individual exercises and then flunking the groups. Eventually, I gave up. But not before we collected some cool ribbons, a couple of plaques, and one whopping big trophy.

I used to have a great video of Wily doing a near-perfect run at a big dog show in San Antonio. I was hoping to put that tape on this page, but I can't find it. Too bad. You should have seen her that day!



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