The AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program is the gold standard of behavior for dogs in our communities. Almost one million dogs, both purebred and mixed breed, have participated in the program since it began in 1989.
Canine Good Citizen is part of the AKC Family Dog Program and many dog owners choose CGC as their first step in training their dogs. It also provides a great foundation for getting started in dog sports.
As you work with your dog to teach the CGC skills, you’ll discover the many benefits and joys of training. You’ll enhance your bond with your dog, and dogs with basic obedience training are a joy to live with—interacting well with other people and dogs and responding well to household routines.
The CGC program offers many practical advantages too. The CGC award is a prerequisite for many therapy dog groups. Some homeowner’s insurance companies encourage CGC testing, and an increasing number of apartments and condos require that resident dogs pass the CGC test. The tagline of the CGC program is, “Responsible Owners, Well-Mannered Dogs,” and that is what CGC is all about.
The Canine Good Citizen Test
The heart of the CGC program is the 10-step Canine Good Citizen test. At the beginning of the CGC test, handlers sign the Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge before taking their dogs through the 10 step test with an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator.
CGC Test Items
- Test 1: Accepting a Friendly Stranger. The dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach and speak to the handler (the dog owner) in a natural, everyday situation.
- Test 2: Sit Politely for Petting. The dog will allow a friendly stranger to pet it while it is out with the handler.
- Test 3: Appearance and Grooming. The dog will permit someone to check its ears and front feet, as a groomer or veterinarian would do.
- Test 4: Out for a Walk (walking on a loose lead). Following the evaluator’s instructions, the dog will walk on a loose lead (with the handler/owner).
- Test 5: Walking Through a Crowd. The dog will walk through a small crowd of pedestrians, passing in close proximity to at least three people.
- Test 6: Sit and Down on Command and Stay in Place. The dog must demonstrate sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay.
- Test 7: Coming When Called. The dog will come when called by the handler (from 10 feet away on leash).
- Test 8: Reaction to Another Dog. The dog will behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries.
- Test 9: Reaction to Distractions. The evaluator will select and present two distractions such as dropping a chair, etc.
- Test 10: Supervised Separation. This test demonstrates that your dog can be left with a trusted person. The evaluator will hold your dog’s leash while you go out of sight for three minutes.
Learn more about and watch videos of the 10 test items. Once your dog passes the CGC test, you’ll be able to select one of these two choices:
- CGC as a Title. Get the official AKC CGC title for your dog. The processing fee is $20. You will receive the CGC certificate, be able to use the suffix “CGC” after your dog’s name, and CGC will be added to your dog’s title record.To get the official AKC title, your dog must be registered or listed with the AKC (and have a number of one of these three types: AKC number, PAL, or AKC Canine Partners). This is because to create titles, we attach them to the dog’s number.
- . CGC certificate only. Get a CGC certificate only without the official AKC CGC title. The processing fee is $10. CGC will not be added to your dog’s title record.
Who Can Participate?
Both purebred and mixed breed dogs are welcome, and there is no age limit. AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program is the next logical step after AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, but AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is not required prerequisite for CGC. Owners who have trained their dogs themselves may also find an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator and take the CGC test.
Exceptions: If the CGC test is given at an AKC show, the age requirements for the show apply to CGC also. Further, when the CGC test is administered at an AKC show, the test may be restricted to only dogs entered in the show or to purebred dogs.
- Training and Testing +
There’s nothing better than a well-trained dog. Canine Good Citizen training will make your dog a joy to live with, and it will provide your dog with intellectual stimulation and a high quality of life. Canine Good Citizen training provides a solid foundation for all other training. After CGC, your dog can move on to more advanced training for sports and events such as AKC Community Canine (advanced CGC), Urban CGC, therapy dog, tricks, obedience, agility, tracking, and other other fun performance events. Learn more about the next steps in training.
The Canine Good Citizen Program is sponsored by Geico