What Is A Canine Good Citizen?
A Canine Good Citizen is a friendly, well-behaved dog that we can take virtually anywhere
without risk or bother to others -- a dog who behaves well in a crowd, has good manners
when guests visit our home, is reliable around children, and who doesn't lunge, bark at,
or threaten other dogs or passersby.
Components Of The CGC Test
The Canine Good Citizen Test is a certification program that tests dogs in simulated
everyday situations in a relaxed atmosphere. It identifies and rewards dogs that have the
training and demeanor to be reliable family members as well as good-standing community
members. All dogs passing the Canine Good Citizen Test receive a certificate from the
American Kennel Club.
The purpose of the Canine Good Citizen Test is to ensure that our favorite companion, the
dog, can be a respected member of the community because it is trained and conditioned to
act mannerly in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs. The program
embraces both pure-bred and mixed-breed dogs.
Canine Good Citizen training is fun and useful. Through it, you and your dog will
establish a closer bond and your dog will have the added benefit of knowing how to please
you. This test of your dog's manners and training is not a competition and does not
require that you and your dog perform with precision.
The American Kennel Club urges all dog owners to participate in this program, thereby
assuring that our beloved dogs will always be welcomed and respected members of the
Demonstrating Confidence and Control, The Dog Must Complete These Ten Steps:
Test 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 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 evaluator.
Test 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. While the dog is sitting at the handler's side, the evaluator pets
the dog on head and body only, then circles the dog and handler, completing the test. The
dog must not show shyness or resentment.
Test 3: Appearance and Grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and
will permit a stranger, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so.
It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and responsibility. The evaluator inspects
the dog, then combs or brushes the dog and lightly examines the ears and each front foot.
Test 4: Out for a Walk (Walking on a loose leash)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either
side of the handler, whichever the handler prefers. There must be a left turn, a right
turn and an about turn, with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The dog
need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops.
Test 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, without
appearing over exuberant, shy or resentful. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage
or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not be straining at the leash.
Test 6: Sit and Down on Command/Staying in Place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's command to
sit and down and will remain in place commanded by the handler (sit or down position,
whichever the handler prefers). The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use
more than one command to make the dog sit and then down. When instructed by the evaluator,
the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of a 20-foot line. The dog
must remain in place, but may change positions.
Test 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 will call the dog. The handler may
use body language and 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 as the evaluator provides mild distractions (e.g. petting).
Test 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 about 10 yards, stop, shake hands
and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 5 yards. The dogs should show no more
than a casual interest in each other.
Test 9: Reactions to Distractions
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common
distracting situations, such as the dropping of a large book or a jogger running in front
of the dog. The dog may express a natural interest and curiosity and may appear slightly
startled, but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness or bark.
Test 10: Supervised Separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left alone, if necessary, and will maintain its
training and good manners. Evaluators are encourage to say something like, "Would you
like me to watch your dog?" and a person will hold the leash of the dog. The dog will
be held for three minutes and does not have to stay in position, but should not
continually bark, whine, howl, pace unnecessarily or show anything other than mild
agitation or nervousness.
© 1997 American Kennel Club (Test updated
For More Information:
The American Kennel Club
Attn: Canine Good Citizen
5580 Centerview Drive, Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27606
FAX: (212) 696-8272
FAX: (919) 854-0151
The American Kennel Club
51 Madison Ave.
New York, NY
The Canine Good Citizen -- Every Dog Can Be One (2nd Edition)
Authors: Jack & Wendy Volhard
Canine Good Citizen Update
Dog World Magazine column
Columnist: Sherry Carpenter
Copyright © 1998-2000, Robin Kovary
Robin Kovary is the American
Dog Trainers Network helpline director
and canine behavioral consultant.