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.
Fun fact: CGC is a core part of the AKC Family Dog Program, an umbrella program designed to help dogs and their owners develop a lifelong bond and become well-socialized members of the community. AKC Family Dog includes the 4 levels of the Canine Good Citizen program: AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, Canine Good Citizen, AKC Community Canine, and AKC Urban CGC. AKC Family Dog also includes other fun activities for you and your canine family member like AKC Therapy Dog, AKC Trick Dog, AKC FIT DOG and the AKC Temperament Test. After CGC, you and your dog can simply enjoy a happy, healthy life together, or move on to advanced levels of the Family Dog Program, like AKC Community Canine or AKC Urban Canine Good Citizen.
The AKC Community Canine program is all about ensuring you have a well-behaved dog while you’re out and about in the community. Where CGC happens in a simulated environment, the 10-step AKC Community Canine test is conducted in real life situations—like walking on a busy sidewalk or through a local park–giving you and your dog the confidence to enjoy everyday to the fullest, no matter what comes your way.
Another step beyond the basic CGC test is the AKC Urban CGC title, which tests your CGC skills in an active city or town setting. There are 10-steps to the test that your dog must pass to earn the official AKC Urban CGC title, but it is administered in a place where there are cars, streets to be crossed, noises, and fast-paced distractions.
Trick dog training is a great way to provide your dog with physical and mental exercise. Going beyond the skills in your CGC training, you and your dog will learn how to high five, or try more advanced tricks, like training your pup to jump into your arms. For someone brand new to dog training, trick dog training might seem like a big leap, but your CGC training provides a great foundation for you and your dog to begin with easy tricks and progress to more challenging activities together. By earning the CGC title first, you only have to perform 5 tricks from the Novice checklist to earn an AKC Novice Trick Dog title, commonly called “CGC + 5.”
Another benefit of CGC is it allows you to prepare your dog for therapy dog training. In fact, many therapy dog program require the CGC award before their therapy-specific training begins. Whether they’re working with a child who is learning to read, visiting a patient in a hospital or a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of others. Dogs can provide a valuable sense of reassurance, joy, or calmness to people experiencing hard, stressful or lonely times in their life. Training your pup to become a therapy dog is a heartfelt way to share the love you have with your dog with the world.
If you want to go even further beyond the basics, Canine Good Citizen training is a great foundation for getting started in dog sports! The basic skills and teamwork gained through CGC are easily translatable to all AKC sports, including: