Tips For Success On Evaluation Day
Here are some tips to keep in mind to help make the C.L.A.S.S. evaluation the positive experience it is intended to be.
Potty your dog prior to the evaluation
Even though allowances are made for dogs to potty during the Warm-Up Time, giving your dog ample time to potty beforehand will help everyone feel more comfortable.
Allow time so that you and your dog have time to acclimate to the evaluation site without rushing around.
Use the "Checklist of Student Supplies" above so that you arrive prepared.
Maintain a positive attitude
Visualize what an Excellent performance looks like for each evaluation item. If you cannot see that in your mind's eye or doubt that it's possible, you are probably right. If mistakes happen, be encouraged to learn from those mistakes rather than be discouraged from trying anymore; mistakes happen to all of us.
Turn your attentions off of yourself and focus on others (including your dog). Listening is not only courteous but if we open our ears, we can learn a lot in the process. Before you talk, listen.
While an evaluation does not represent the final verdict of the student's or dog's behavior, it is a testing situation which may cause stress for the student. Worrying about the test will not help and may cause distress in your dog. Here are some tips to help the human de-stress so that both the student and dog may enjoy the evaluation process.
- Look at the evaluation from the dog's point of view. The dog does not care that he is being evaluated. See the evaluation as just another opportunity to work together as a team and enjoy spending time together.
- Breathe deeply and release the tension in your body. Your dog reads your body language and will see your raised shoulders, tight lips, and short breaths as a sign of your stress. Since dogs do not understand the concept of a test, your dog may react to your stress by disconnecting from you or becoming stressed himself. If your dog sees you relaxed with a loose body and normal breathing, he will be more likely to feel at ease, too.
- Relax your mind by focusing on what you are thankful for. Leave worries, grudges, and insults in the past. Connect with your dog in the present.
- Take your time and don't get in a hurry. Doing the skills correctly is more important than trying to rush through the evaluation quickly.
- Have FUN! Your dog doesn't care if you have to re-take the evaluation a few times. Focus on having fun with your dog throughout the process. In this way, you help create a positive association for your dog with the evaluation, and no matter what score you receive, you will both leave happy.