Certificate of Conformation Assessment (CCA) - What to Expect
How exciting! You have an opportunity to get time one-on-one with three of the breed’s respected breeders. First, you will want to fill out your entry form clearly and get it in to the hosting club’s secretary. You’ll get word that the entry arrived and you have a ring time. Get to the event at least 30 minutes early- there’s much to do!
First things first!
First, go check in with the secretary. She’ll give you an armband and you will then take that to the photo station where you will have front and side shots of your dog taken. Measuring is next, and the person using the wicket will write your dog’s height on the back of the armband or on a sticky note to give to the secretary. Go back to the secretary’s table and she will make sure your entry form was complete and then write your dog’s height on every one of his evaluation sheets and tell you when to be ready to go in.
There’s no need to worry about grooming by a pro, just be sure your dog is clean, his ears and teeth as well, and he is able to stand to be examined. You may want to practice this, using friendly strangers or just family members.
When the time for your group to go in arrives, there will be three (or six at a Regional or National) other dogs and handlers also coming into the ring. You will do what we call a mingle- it’s fairly close to the AKC CGC ‘greet a stranger with a dog’ exercise. The evaluators will all be watching, and could ask you to do a figure 8 around the group, or to walk side by side as well. You want your dog to not jump all over the others, not growl or attempt to attack another dog or handler, and to tolerate a little sniffing if that happens.
More than one evaluator
Once the evaluators feel they have seen enough, each dog and handler team will go to a different evaluator for a 10-15 minute exam and evaluation. The evaluator will write comments while talking to you about the various parts of your dog, good and bad. Each of ten categories will be scored between 0-10, and you should feel free to ask questions if you don’t understand what you are being told, or just wonder what it means if the evaluator says something you weren’t aware of.
You’ll be asked to move your dog in a down and back fashion and also to go around the area, so the evaluator can see the side gait of the dog. Many clubs try to have a Junior around to move dogs for folks who cannot move a dog due to age or a health condition. Ask when you check in if you believe you’ll need help with this so that the club can gather someone up to do this for you.
After the mingle, individual exam, and movement of the dog, the evaluator should have a minute or two for your questions. Someone will come around to pick up the sheets at each station and all three dog/handler teams will go to a new evaluator to repeat this procedure until you have been to all three stations for evaluation. Don’t expect the evaluator to know your dog’s score right off- many of them leave the addition to the secretary to do- but certainly if you see her totaling you can ask!
Once you have been to all three stations, the secretary table will be hard at work- the next group will be going in for their mingle, and the table will be checking the math. Each club does this slightly differently, so the event you are at may not award ribbons until the group photo for the Golden Retriever News is taken, OR they may award packets with your copies of your dog’s evaluation sheets and ribbons after the math is checked and the next group is in. In any case, if your dog has qualified you will stay for the photo ( qualifying is a score of 75 or greater, with no two categories less than 4 or one less than 2 in score, as well as no disqualifying faults- see the Breed Standard for those).
You will leave the event with a deeper understanding of your dog’s great parts and those not so great, and in many cases, with a new GRCA title!
Certificates and feedback
Title certificates will arrive in the mail in about 4-6 weeks, depending on how quickly the hosting club gets their completed paperwork in to the CCA Committee. Once we receive the paperwork, the new title is entered into the GRCA Yearbook database.
While you are waiting, please go to the GRCA site and fill out the feedback form and submit it. Remember to thank the hosting club before you leave, holding an educational event such as a CCA is a labor of love and much attention to detail and not a big fundraiser.