CGC is a ten-skill training program that’s open to all dogs–purebred and mixed breed–that focuses on teaching the basics of good manners and obedience, instilling the values of responsible ownership, and strengthening the bond between you and your dog at home and out in the community.
After mastering the ten skills, passing the CGC test together, and taking the Responsible Dog Ownership pledge, you and your pup will join the proud ranks of over 1 million dogs who have earned their Canine Good Citizen award– accomplishment that’s definitely worthy of extra belly rubs!
For starters, we know it’s up to us as humans to lead the charge and promote responsible pet ownership, so our skills are based on learning how to better understand and communicate with each other. Through the hours of training and practice, you’ll deepen your bond and become a more connected pair. This bond allows you to become the best companions for each other, and great neighbors to those around you. It’s a win, win, win!
Beyond the bonding, there are practical benefits to CGC training, too. Not only will you and your dog understand the basics of dog training, and master skills like sit, down and stay, but you’ll know your dog will be able to handle herself with grace in a crowd and be a welcomed client at the vet or groomer. The CGC title is also a prerequisite for many therapy dog certifications, as well as a great introduction to more advanced dog sports and activities. Some homeowners’ insurance programs even offer discounts for CGC dogs, and an increasing number of apartments and condos see CGC awards as a major bonus for becoming a resident.
Even though a dog may start CGC at any age, puppies are sometimes developmentally more suited for getting their AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy award first, then moving up to CGC after graduation. Although AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is not a mandatory requirement to participate in CGC, it creates a solid foundation for puppies who continue on to additional training.
If a dog is in a shelter/rescue, or another instance where the owner isn’t available to train together with the dog, we offer the CGC Ready Program to pups to help them prepare to take the test once their owner is ready to participate. In shelter situations, training dogs through our CGC Ready Program is a wonderful way to give them the skills they need to increase their chances of adoption.
As for the humans training with their dogs, any adult, AKC Junior or 4H participant can take their pup through CGC program, but only one person at a time can be tested with the dog.