Monday, May 19, 2014

Adventuring // California Canine Good Citizen Recertification Test 2014

Shadow Cliffs- Lakeside
Shadow Cliffs- One Curious Border Collie
 ^ Zoe was fascinated by this giant, weird-looking brown dog. I mean. There was a HUMAN on its back and it didn't care. What was this madness?!? ^
Shadow Cliffs- Doggy Headrest 
^ Headrest. ^
Shadow Cliffs- Best Buddies
 ^ These two were best buds. As soon as one got out of sight from the other, they'd both panic and go on alert. Definitely didn't need the joint leash to keep them together! (: ^
Shadow Cliffs- Border Collie People
 ^ The two Border Collies! Hanna {on the left} is shaved in order to cut down on the amount of upkeep and chance of ticks/pokey weed seeds that can get caught in her fur. I actually have a better picture of this where both dogs are right next to each other and look like twins, but the humans weren't looking at the camera. *sighs* People. ^
Shadow Cliffs- East Bay Regional Parks' Canine Volunteers
 ^ Group shot! ALL THE DOGGIES. And horses. And bike people. Whoot! ^
Sleepy Puppy
^ Aaand, she's out. ^

Getting Zoe recertified as an American Kennel Club {AKC} California Canine Good Citizen.


Who: La Madre, Zoe, & I
Where: Shadow Cliffs Regional Park in Pleasanton
When: Saturday at 8:30 AM

The Place: I've always thought Shadow Cliffs was part of Livermore, but apparently I was wrong. Anyways. This regional park is one of our family's favorites {or at least in our top three most visited}. It's a little off the beaten path {read: in the middle of nowhere}, but that also means it's quiet and there's tons of parking.

There are several lakes that make up Shadow Cliffs: the main one allows boats and is also Daddy's main fishing spot, while the other ones are smaller and harder to access. We heard from someone that there's a dogs-only beach somewhere in here, but we've never been there ourselves. The main walking/running/biking trail is this raised plateau with a great view of the surrounding area and is an easy walk {we've got a senior dog, so this is good info to know}. If you're interested in picnicking or having a party, this is a great place to do so because, again, it's quiet, there's a lot of parking, and there's this flat, wide open, grassy space near the main lake and its docks.

Fun fact, the day camp I attended as a little kid used to spend a day at the waterslides that were next door to Shadow Cliffs. For those of us who didn't want to slide down giant, curvy waterchutes of death {can you tell I wasn't the biggest fan? every time there was a dip on a slide, I would go airborne for a few seconds since I didn't weigh enough to keep the foam mat underneath me down and on the slide. freaked me out like no other. *shudder*}, we could go catch minnows in the shallow beach area of the lake next door. The slides were actually removed a few years back when the company that owned them went bankrupt. Also, I don't think there are minnows at Shadow Cliffs anymore though. Come to think of it, I don't even think Shadow Cliffs had a name back then. Shoot. I'm old...
The Event: In order for Zoe to be part of the East Bay Regional Parks' Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol {EBRP VTSP} with my mom, she has to be a certified AKC California Canine Good Citizen. And there's an annual test for dogs and their humans to make sure everyone's still well-mannered and under control.

When everyone first arrives, the owners have to sign in and show verification that their canines are up to date on their vaccinations. Then the waiting begins. One by one, the dogs and their owners are tested on their good behavior:
+ can the dog follow basic commands like heel, sit, lay down, stay, and come?
+ can the dog handle the owner being out of sight for three minutes?
+ can the dog walk amongst a crowd of people calmly?
+ can the dog be around other dogs without barking or growling?
+ can the dog be around moving horses, bikes, and loud sirens/car alarms?

Considering there was somewhere between fifteen and twenty dogs being tested, there were furry friends EVERYWHERE. And as someone who was just there to watch and help out, it was pretty fun. All the dogs were super sweet and petable {well, except one, but that one's been a part of VTSP for so long, it got special treatment and passed even though it basically got aggressive towards everything. *rolls eyes*}.

Other Observations:
+ Technically, the testing started at 9 AM, but we wanted extra time to let Zoe sniff everything beforehand so she wouldn't get distracted during her test by ALL THE SMELLS. Add the half hour it takes for us to drive there and the fact that we also had to run her before we left the house to let out her jitters, and you're looking at a 6:45 AM wake up call. Sigh.

+ I woke up at 7:50 AM. HA. Oops. I went from dead asleep to bolt upright to ready to leave in ten minutes flat. Those who know me are super impressed right about now. Ten minutes to get ready? Never happens. I impressed myself, man.

+ Dogs: two Border Collies, two Australian Shepherds, two Boxers, two Spaniels of some sort, two Terriers of some sort, two German Shepherds, a Chocolate Lab, and several dogs of indeterminate breed.

+ Humans: 95% older Caucasian people...

+ I was amused by Hanna and Zoe. Usually Zoe tolerates other dogs, but isn't too interested in playing with them. She'd rather play with humans and toys. Turns out, Hanna is the exact same way, so they actually got along really well {if "really well" means ignoring each other's existence}. Where else does the cold shoulder equal best friends forevaah?

+ The first time Zoe came across a large four-legged creature, it was a cow in the middle of a field. Zoe dropped into the "border collie crouch" and stared at it as it grazed. Then it raised its head while still chewing and the dog freaked. From what we've seen though, via various street parades and tests like this one, she's not afraid of horses. I'm not sure what the difference is in her mind, but she just seems to think horses are reallyreallyREALLY big dogs that warrant intense study and concentration. We're talking hardcore headtilt staring. Ah, this fuzz.

+ For the moving horses, bikes, and loud siren/car alarm part of the test, all the dogs were lined up in a row and were tested at the same time. They were all fine with the horses trotting by and the bikes zooming past, but the siren/alarm had a few of them howling along. It was like a doggie chorus. The humans were amused.

+ When taking pictures of dogs and their people, I've found that the humans have a harder time taking a good picture the first time around than their canines. Note to dog owners: don't worry about which direction your dog is facing or whether they're looking at the camera. If the photographer knows what they're doing, they can get the dog to look at them right before the shutter clicks. You, however, are now frowning or squinting or looking at the dog or a thousand other things and have ruined a perfectly good picture. Staaahp. I keep telling my mom: "Just keep smiling at the camera. I'll worry about the dog." She's almost trained now {the madre, not the dog. heh}.

+ I like dog people. Especially dog people who know that a well-trained dog is the best kind of dog. The time and effort and love they put into making sure their dog is well-behaved... it's always good to see how much the dog adores and respects their human in return. Spending the morning with kindred spirits {even if I was younger than everyone by, like, thirty to fifty years} and fuzzybutts was worth the early Saturday morning wake up call.

+ Also. ZOE PASSED. Whoot!


Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreational Area
2500 Stanley Boulevard
Pleasanton, CA 94566

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