THE CANINE GOOD CITIZEN
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test
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
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
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
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
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 community.
Demonstrating Confidence and Control, The Dog Must Complete These Ten
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
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 4/1/96)
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
Authors: Jack & Wendy Volhard
Canine Good Citizen Update
Dog World Magazine column
Columnist: Sherry Carpenter