AKC Canine Good Citizen Certification
There are 60.2 million households in the U.S. that own a dog, according to American Pet Products Association. As the human population continues to grow, it’s only natural more and more dogs will become pets as well.
With that said, we have a few responsibilities as pet owners. One of them is ensuring we have a sturdy and protective fence to keep dogs from fence fighting and possibly getting harmed. Another responsibility is teaching our dogs polite manners. AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test sets the standard for pet owners and dogs.
What is the Canine Good Citizen Test?
American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen test was designed to provide a standard for canine polite manners and promote responsible dog ownership. Thankfully, the CGC test is open to all dogs regardless of breed. However, dogs must be up-to-date on all vaccinations, including rabies.
The CGC test involves 10 steps. A CGC evaluator sets up the course, observes and assesses a pet owner and her dog’s training skills within a myriad of everyday distractions.
Dogs and pet owners must pass all 10 steps to earn the CGC certificate, and treats cannot be used during the exam. Dogs should wear a flat buckle collar, martingale collar or body harness, and must be leashed at all times.
Before a CGC test is completed, a pet owner must sign AKC’s CGC Responsible Dog Ownership Pledge. This pledge verifies a pet owner will be responsible by providing her dog proper veterinary care, picking up after her dog and training her dog.
10-Step Canine Good Citizen Test
Accepting a Friendly Stranger
Tested dog allows a stranger to approach and chat with handler for a few minutes, then turns around and leaves.
Sitting Politely for Petting
Dog allows a friendly stranger to pet him or her while out for a walk with pet owners. Dog should not jump up on stranger.
Appearance & Grooming
Friendly stranger is able to touch the dog’s front paws and ears and brush the dog’s body.
Out for a Walk (Walking on a Loose Leash)
During an informal walk, dog is able to walk on a loose leash. Remember, a loose leash (no pulling) is considered polite leash manners. 🙂
Walking Through a Crowd
Dog is able to walk happily through a crowd (three or more people) while remaining well behaved. Dog should not jump up on people.
Sit & Down on Cue Plus Stay Behavior
Pet owner asks the dog to “sit” and “down” on cue. Both behaviors should be performed separately. Using a 20-foot line, pet owner asks the dog to stay in either a sit or down position until evaluator instructs pet owner to release her dog.
Coming When Called
Pet owner walks 10 feet away from her dog while the dog wears a 20-foot leash, then calls the dog to her.
Reaction to Another Dog
Leashed test dog is able to walk near another leashed dog without barking, growling or pulling toward the other dog. Both handlers will stop, shake hands and chat for a few seconds, then walk away in opposite directions.
Reaction to a Distraction
Test dog should ignore or show slight interest in a distraction within his or her environment. Distractions can be many things, including an evaluator walking near the test dog with crutches, a cane, a walker or a baby stroller, or an evaluator dropping a phone book or pushing a shopping cart nearby.
Test dog is left with the evaluator for 3 minutes while pet owner is completely out of sight.
Upon successful completion, the tested dog earns the title of “CGC” after his or her name. If a team fails their CGC test, they may take it again.
Benefits of the Canine Good Citizen Title
With breed-specific legislation and strict homeowner restrictions, it’s important to achieve proof of your dog’s good behavior. In fact, some homeowner insurances offer discounts for dogs that have passed the CGC test.
Preparing for the CGC Test
The CGC test is tough. Pet owners and dogs should attend puppy and adult dog group classes first. It’s also highly advisable to complete a 7-week CGC prep course too. Most CGC prep group classes offer a CGC test upon graduation, which is very convenient. Don’t forget to practice each CGC step in different environments, such as a neighborhood, park or pet store.