Canine Good Citizen

Canine Good Citizen (CGC) is an official AKC title like Ch. (Champion) or C.D. (Companion Dog). It is meant to reward dogs for having good manners, which enhances the public acceptance of dogs. CGC may be used for advertising or pedigrees, and the AKC will add CGC to the dog’s official registration papers. “CGC” is an award and title.

As the CGC Program has become more popular over the last few years, a number of state legislatures have issued proclamations supporting the program, and some communities and apartment complexes have even used the CGC as a prerequisite for dogs living in those places. Good Canine is actively involved in assisting dog owners and landlords to find each other and acquire leasing arrangements that benefit each side.

At a CGC Test or Practice session, we expect each participant to have an experience that is positive, educational and fun. Handlers may talk to their dogs throughout the test, and the atmosphere should be relaxed. Praise should be given to dogs throughout the test, and handlers may reassure their dogs with praise, smiles, hugs and pats.

There is no age limit for dogs taking the CGC Test.  Because the AKC supports owners who wish to socialize and introduce their dogs to training as early as possible, dogs are welcome to participate in CGC tests when they are old enough to have completed all vaccinations. Owners who bring young dogs to CGC tests becomeacquainted with qualified trainers, and the CGC Test can be used to identify future training goals.

We would like to stress, however, that when a dog is tested and passes the CGC Test as a puppy, it is important for the owners to have the dog re-tested as an adult. This is because behavior and temperament can changeover time. Furthermore, the responsible owner will have dogs re-evaluated on CGC skills periodically (e.g., every 2 years) to demonstrate that training and good manners are maintained. If dogs are re-tested, owners may choose to order an updated certificate, or they may simply keep their old certificate along with updated CGC Test paperwork showing more recent proof of passing the test.

Dogs with disabilities, such as the loss of a leg, deafness, or blindness in one eye, are welcome in the Canine Good Citizen Test. Dogs must perform all of the 10 items to pass the test, but handlers may use hand signals, gestures or other cues to which the dog has been trained to respond. There are no breed specific exceptions to the test requirements (e.g., dogs may not skip the sit exercise because “this breed doesn’t like to sit”). Handlers with disabilities are encouraged to participate in the Canine Good Citizen Test, and we will make minor changes to standard procedures to accommodate handlers with disabilities.

The Canine Good Citizen test consists of 10 components. If the dog successfully completes all 10, then a Canine Good Citizen certificate is issued. If not, the dog can reenter another CGC test and try again at another time. This is not an official title such as a breed championship or an obedience title. It is regarded as a sign that the dog has excellent manners and is under his handler’s control and a pleasure to be around. It can be regarded as a step towards more advanced training or a short-term goal. It is important to keep in mind that a CGC test is not a test of your dog’s formal obedience but of his control and manners.

The above is taken from the Evaluator’s Guide for the Canine Good Citizen Program of the American Kennel Club.  “GOOD CANINE” will put on a monthly CGC Practice/run-through and will talk about some basics regarding equipment and behavior for the CGC Test.  Preregistration is required. The cost to participate in the practice is $10; the test is $25.00.  Remember, that not only will your dog be qualified for the CGC Certificate from AKC, but you will also get an ID Badge and a Certificate from “GOOD CANINE” along with being entered into their database for insurance and housing verifications.

10 Test Components