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Golden Retriever being walked by its family in the fall.

What is CGC?

At the AKC, we believe that all dogs can be good dogs, and all owners can be great owners: all it takes is a little bit of training, lots of love, and of course, plenty of praise along the way. 

That’s why we created the Canine Good Citizen™ (CGC) program: a two-part course designed to help you and your dog be the best you can be–together. Since 1989, over 1 million dogs and their owners have participated in CGC, mastering ten basic skills that instill confidence and good manners in and out of your home. 

Not only does CGC training create long-lasting trust between you and your pup, but also ensures you’ll be good neighbors and friends to everyone around you—and, if you’re interested in going beyond the basics, CGC also lays the foundation for other AKC sports and activities like obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events. 


The Canine Good Citizen Program is sponsored by

Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy being trained on a leash.

Training Resources

Every dog (and human!) learns differently. Start here to find CGC group classes and private lessons, or explore our video series to try your hand at practicing the CGC skills at home.

Terrier waiting by its owner to go on a walk.

Take the CGC Test

Whether you and your dog have completed CGC classes or practiced at home, when you’re ready, the next step is to take the 10 point CGC test. Find an evaluator in your area to administer the exam so you and your pup can test for your CGC award. You’ve earned it! 

Leonberger puppy on leash with its owner by the harbor.

After CGC

Your journey doesn’t have to end once you and your dog earn your Canine Good Citizen award. There are tons of other opportunities to continue to grow your knowledge and skills, strengthen the bond with your dog, and enjoy rewarding, enriching and fun activities together.

Obedience class of dogs and their owners.

For Evaluators

CGC wouldn’t be possible without our amazing AKC CGC Approved Evaluators. If you’re an Evaluator, renew your status, download station signage or test summary forms here, or—if you’re new to the program—explore how to become an Evaluator here. 

Danny and his dog, Buddy, were both 11 years old when they started training for their CGC title. James, Danny’s dad, had already owned Buddy for five years, and while Buddy was always very well mannered, it had never crossed James or Danny’s mind to start Buddy on any tricks beyond basic training. At the show, someone asked if the family wanted to try CGC. Danny wasn’t sure how they would do, so he gave Daniel the choice to try it “just for fun.” Imagine his surprise when Buddy did the CGC skills for Danny! He was amazed at how well Buddy listened to Danny’s commands. They have both caught the training bug and even made a consistent effort to continue training at home. James credits most of the pair’s success to the South Jersey Cocker Spaniel Club for giving Danny and Buddy a chance to see what they could do in the ring.
The Stone City Kennel Club is hard at work, introducing young people to the world of dog sports. In addition to working with 4-H, Stone City KC works with several area Girl Scout troops. The Club has offered free lessons to the Girl Scouts to train their dogs to pass the CGC test and earn AKC Trick Dog titles. This has sparked an interest and now several scouts are learning conformation by showing retired dogs.
Stone City Girl Scouts
Sometimes success stories also come from our beloved AKC Approved Evaluators. One in particular, Sallie Shepherd, went above and beyond the call of duty to help a little boy, Antonio, who wanted his dog to earn the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy award. As a result, Antonio’s mother wrote to us - Miss Sallie didn’t have to do all she did for us. She taught my son how to better handle his dog and she offered us some fantastic guidance about how we could better socialize our dog, Rex. Sallie was fantastically patient with my son. Antonio is so proud of what he learned to do with his dog. We can see the heart of a natural dog lover developing. Antonio is now saying he wants to learn to be a handler.

Top FAQs

  • Who can participate in CGC? +

    There are no age limits for participating in the Canine Good Citizen program. The only stipulation is that a dog must take the test with his owner. If a dog is in a shelter or foster situation, he can still learn the skills needed to pass the test and be labeled 

    Even though a dog may start CGC at any age, puppies are sometimes developmentally more suited for the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy program. 

  • Where can I find a trainer? +

    There are a few ways to find an evaluator. You can contact an individual CGC Evaluator or an AKC club that offers CGC testing and training to see if they have any upcoming tests. Find classes or trainers

  • Is CGC a therapy dog program? +

    CGC is not the same as a therapy dog program, but many therapy programs require the CGC award before accepting pups into their class. Learn more about the AKC Therapy Dog title

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