The CCC Newsletter
Where in the World is CCC?
Madalyn McKenney Moorman
Jenny East Cole
Team Rusty's Story
We adopted Rusty from a rescue organization when he was approximately a year old. It was easy to see he wasn’t all German Shepherd…our best guess, based on behavior, appearance and a Wisdom Panel DNA test, is that he’s mixed with Borzoi or Whippet or something along those lines. They couldn’t tell us much; they’d accepted him into rescue about two months before and put him in their overflow kennel instead of a foster home. He came to us advertised as “good with cats” (our orange tabby VEHEMENTLY disagrees) and with no comment regarding temperament, behavior, etc. I used my reporter’s training and traced him back to a small town in central Ohio, where he’d spent three months in a kill shelter before being adopted and vetted with the express intent to be surrendered to the rescue organization. So he’d spent about half his life before entering ours living in a shelter/kennel environment. He was very nervous, seemed to have been housebroken at some point, didn’t have any obedience training and, contrary to what we were told, definitely was not crate trained. He was also very underweight at 59 pounds (at age 4½, he is not overweight at 87 pounds).
In the 3½ years since Rusty joined our family, we have done numerous trainings with him. Rusty was a quick learner and picked up his basic obedience in nothing flat. When we first welcomed him into the family, he was able to go anywhere with anyone, had play dates with neighborhood dogs, etc. We noticed things changing as he got more nervous and started exhibiting a greater need to take charge in situations, even those involving household members! Never particularly fond of small children (and not exposed to them often), he became more reactive to them as well. This then extended to his interactions with other dogs, including ones he’d been friendly with and played with. We shrunk his world to maintain control, and tried a group class as a first step toward taking on agility, to give him a job, tire him out and focus him positively. He aced the class, losing a single point in a 90-point obedience trial on the last night, but failed overall by tangling with a classmate he’d worked next to for eight weeks! Vet tech Casey Gover, whom both Rusty and I adore, had been suggesting CCC for many months; after that experience, I wanted to try a different approach with him.
I felt welcomed by CCC Instructors Cindy and Michele from the very beginning—starting with our evaluation with Cindy. She didn’t rush Rusty but noticed everything about him, including that he had trouble with eye contact and needed a bubble to feel safe. By the end of our initial meeting he was almost taking treats out of her hand, and his curiosity about this CCC place had been piqued. Mine, too. My favorite of all the wonderful quotes on the wall is the one about meeting the dog where he is at—and our classmates in Level 1 and Level 2 certainly witnessed that firsthand with Rusty. Every week, Michele built him a bubble out of plastic fencing. We started across the room from everyone else, and eventually “graduated” to the same side of the room, still with a bubble in front of the crate. Sometimes we erected barriers with blankets, if people or dogs worked too close to us. I am especially grateful to our classmates in the classes for their patience in helping my guy reach his potential. They were very caring and supportive.
Rusty is definitely more confident in his abilities, and definitely more connected—at least to me, and demonstrably so to our son as well. While Rusty doesn’t yet look to me for permission before every decision and in every situation, he is reliably coming when called, is seeking me out many times a day for attention and to make his needs known (potty break, dinner, etc.) but in a respectful, not obnoxious way. He makes eye contact! He loves to hear he is “so good!” He knows when the puzzle bag comes out he’s going to work, and he gives it his best effort! He will never be “good with cats,” but he and Cheddar are getting along better. We will never trust him completely around the 12-and-younger set, but using our new connection skills and “Go Hunt” we can take neighborhood walks and manage encounters with other dogs and the wee people. We are working on door skills and have found “Go Hunt” to be a great help. I have been lucky enough to share my life with seven dogs, including Rusty—and while he has been the most difficult, confounding and challenging of them all, it’s also been the most rewarding experience to see him relax and start to realize his full potential.
CCC Challenge Map
Have fun practicing your CCC skills using this new puzzle map.
Remember: if your dog lunges toward the puzzle, you're too close. Move your markers further from the box.
Level 2 & 3 folks: Remove visible puzzle & use remote rewards.
Looking for ways to practice your CCC skills in new ways? Incorporate your connection work in daily tasks at home, splitting your attention while you . . .
load the dishwasher
sort your mail
fold the laundry
tie your shoes
fix your dog's dinner
make your bed
put groceries away
weed your garden
water the plants
The CCC Apparel Store
Looking to share your love of CCC? Check out the CCC Apparel Store, where you can have the CCC logo embroidered on all sorts of clothing and accessories. Once your order is delivered, send us a photo of you sporting your new look!