AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Certification
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** Please see our Current Class Schedule for certification dates. **
If your dog has good manners, he or she may be eligible for an award from the
American Kennel Club. Our trainers are approved CGC evaluators, so we can help prepare you and your dog for the test as well as administer the test so that you can certify your dog.
The Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible
pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the
CGC test receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club.
All dogs, including both purebred and mixed breed dogs are welcome to
participate in the CGC program. There is no age limit for the CGC test. A dog is
never too old to be a good citizen. Puppies who have completed all immunizations
and boosters may be tested, however, because we know that behavior and
temperament can change over time, when puppies pass the CGC test, owners should
have them re-tested as adults.
The purpose of the Canine Good Citizen Program is to ensure that our favorite
companion, the dog, can be a respected member of the community. To receive the
CGC certificate, dogs take the 10 item Canine Good Citizen Test.
- Slip on or flat collars (I.E. - buckle or clip snaps in nylon or leather, or
choke chain and fur savor collars)
- No remote collars, haltis, prong/pinch training collars or harnesses are to
be used during the test
- Proof of current vaccinations, rabies certificate, and a city dog license
- Dog comb or brush
- 15' long line and a 4'-6' leash
Helpful hint: Walk or exercise your dog before the test (at least 1/2
an hour before the test.)
You must sign up with the evaluator to test and payment must be made in advance to
reserve a spot.
schedule for test dates / time
Items on the test include:
Test Item 1: Accepting a friendly stranger - This test demonstrates that
the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler
in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler
and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and
handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of
resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the
Test Item 2: Sitting politely for petting - This test demonstrates that
the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its
handler. With the dog sitting at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, the
evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her
dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog
must not show shyness or resentment.
Test Item 3: Appearance and grooming - This practical test demonstrates
that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone,
such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also
demonstrates the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility. The
evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must
appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and
alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog.
The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner,
lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not
necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and
the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.
Test Item 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead) - This test
demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either
side of the handler. The dog's position should leave no doubt that the dog is
attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler's movements and
changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and
need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course
or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In
either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at
least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the
dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice.
The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.
Test Item 5: Walking through a crowd - This test demonstrates that the
dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public
places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at
least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should
continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness
or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog
throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on
Test Item 6: Sit and down on command - staying in place - This test
demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's commands
to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or
down position, whichever the handler prefers). Prior to this test, the dog's
leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable
amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then
down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's
commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog
to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells
the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to
the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left
(it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release
the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.
Test Item 7: Coming when called - This test demonstrates that the dog
will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the
dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement
to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or
they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.
Test Item 8: Reaction to another dog - This test demonstrates that the
dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach
each other from a distance of 20 to 30 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange
pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more
than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or
Test Item 9: Reaction to distraction - This test demonstrates that the
dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The
evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions
include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger
run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express
natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should
not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk
to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.
Test Item 10: Supervised separation - This test demonstrates that a dog
can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and
good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like
me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go
out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but
should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything
stronger than mild agitation or nervousness.