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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension



CGC Test Item #4. Out for a Walk (Walking on a Loose Leash)

This exercise demonstrates that the 4-H member is in control of the dog.

For this test the dog may be on either side of the handler. Proper obedience position is not required. The dog must walk on a loose leash, with the handler being attentive to the dog and in control without force. The handler may talk to the dog throughout the test, give praise and give a command to sit at each stop. The dog does not need to be in a perfect heel position as long as it is not pulling ahead or lagging behind to the point where the handler must control the dog using a tight leash. The dog also does not need to sit at the stops, but does need to stop and stand without pulling forward.

The evaluator sets up a course that includes a left turn, right turn, and an about turn, with at least one stop in between and one at the end. The evaluator directs the handler by calling out instructions or pre-plotting the course. Using small cones is a good way to plot out the course. 

The youth and dog must be attentive and responsive to each other throughout the course. The dog must walk in a position that shows that it is responding to the handler’s movements and changes of direction. The dog is not allowed to constantly strain on the leash so that the leash is pulled tight. The evaluator may instruct the handler to put more slack in the leash. An occasional tight leash is permitted.

Dogs are not permitted to excessively sniff the floor or ground to the point where they do not walk along with the handler. Dogs that are completely inattentive to their handlers should not be passed. Dogs that refuse to walk or constantly forge ahead and pull making the leash tight should not pass.

This video clip show the Lab walking on a loose leash by his handler. There is slack in the leash at all times. The team is attentive to each other, with the Lab responsive to the handler. Cones are used to plot the course, making it easier for the handler to follow, while the evaluator gives instructions.