Canine Good Citizen

The AKC offers the Canine Good Citizen Program as the “gold standard” for dog behavior.  Established in 1989, the program encourages responsible pet ownership and the training of well-mannered dogs.  The owner signs a detailed pledge reminding them of the obligations of dog ownership.  In addition, the owner and dog train to pass a short behavioral evaluation; they then earn a certificate and/or the official AKC CGC title.

The CGC evaluation consists of ten objectives.  The dog, on a lead with his handler, must

  • Allow someone to check it’s ears and feet as a groomer or veterinarian would;
  • Walk as directed on a loose leash;
  • Move politely through a crowd;
  • Sit, lie down, and stay in place on command;
  • Come when called;
  • Behave politely around other dogs;
  • React confidently to distractions such as a loud noise or an open umbrella;
  • Be able to be left with a trusted person.

The non-competitive test serves to introduce owners to the benefits of dog training, as teaching the exercises enhances the bond between owner and dog.  Moreover, the training is designed to produce a dog that is a joy to live with; dogs with the solid obedience education provided by CGC training respond well to household routines and have good manners in the presence of people and other dogs.  The Canine Good Citizenship program lays a solid foundation for training for other dog sports such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events. The CGC test is also a requirement for entrance into many therapy dog programs.    

AKC has introduced the S.T.A.R. Puppy program which can stand alone or serve as a precursor to the CGC test. The puppy (up to one year of age) and owner attend a puppy or basic training class taught by an AKC approved evaluator for at least six weeks.  After completing the class and passing a test, the puppy is eligible to be listed in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy records.

The AKC also offers a more advanced test, the AKC Community Canine or CGCA title for dogs (and their owners) able to perform more advanced behaviors in real situations including at dog shows, classes, and in the community.

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