Canine Good Citizen

Training with Pat Brown-John

Training with Canadian Champion Pat Brown-John, director of All About Obedience

The American Kennel Club provides an opportunity for dogs to earn a Canine Good Citizen certificate which, as the name implies, recognizes those dogs who have passed a 10-step training test.

Started in 1989, the CGC program is designed to reward dogs who demonstrate good manners at home as well as in the community. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club. A number of other countries (including England, Australia, Japan, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, and Finland) have developed CGC programs based on the AKC’s CGC program.

You do not need to have an AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate to ensure that your dog is well trained.  In the photo here, for example, is Canadian Champion, Pat Brown-John who runs “All About Obedience.”  Pat has trained thousands of dogs, all of whom have excellent manners and could easily pass the Good Citizen Test.  (To contact her company, click here: All About Obedience.)

Many dog owners choose Canine Good Citizen training as the first step in training their dogs. As we now know, training promotes not only good manners for our dogs but enhances the bond between the dog and its human partner.

The essential ten tests are as follows:

Test 1:     Accepting a friendly stranger

Test 2:     Sitting politely for petting

Test 3:     Appearance and grooming

Test 4:     Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)

Test 5:     Walking through a crowd

Test 6:     Sit and down on command and Staying in place

Test 7:     Coming when called

Test 8:     Reaction to another dog

Test 9:     Reaction to distraction

Test 10:     Supervised separation

All tests must be performed on leash. For collars, dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, and electronic collars are not permitted in the CGC test. Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or another dog is not a good citizen and is dismissed from the test.

For additional information regarding each test, click here: Canine Good Citizen program tests.

Why would you want to have your dog become a Canine Good Citizen?  The AKC statement explains this very well:

Dogs who have a solid obedience education are a joy to live with–they respond well to household routines, have good manners in the presence of people and other dogs, and they fully enjoy the company of the owner who took the time to provide training, intellectual stimulation, and a high quality life. We sincerely hope that CGC will be only a beginning for you and your dog and that after passing the CGC test, you’ll continue training in obedience, agility, tracking, or performance events

With basic training and encouragement, almost every dog can pass the CGC test and receive a certificate as a Canine Good Citizen.

But, now that we think of it, wouldn’t it be a good
idea if PEOPLE had to pass a test like this?

For further information, click here: AKC Canine Good Citizen

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9 Responses to Canine Good Citizen

  1. Gloria Yarina October 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    Yes, it is a good program. My oldest boy, Sonny earned his Good Citizenship Certificate when he was about 2. With that type of training he was an excellent example for all of the dogs I fostered. They watched him and followed his lead.

  2. Kathleen Kaska October 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    I agree with the last comment: people should also pass a good citizens test. Although I don’t think it would be that easy for us. Dogs are willing participants; it is probably a lot of fun for them.

  3. Cliff Mueller` October 1, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    I’m afraid my dachshund would flunk the test. She, and she alone, decides when she sits and lays down. You can ask but she usually says “no thank you”.

  4. Norman October 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Nice job, Doc. It would be nice if we humans were so well behaved. But then, it’s all in the training or is it?

  5. Hemlata Vasavada October 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    I especially agree with the comment that humans should be trained to become good citizens. How about kicking out those who misbehave from entering any contest?

  6. Patti Cole October 1, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    As I read though the 10 tests, I am mentally testing my own dog. Yep, my lab Clyde REALLY flunks several, but God love em, his love for people just keep those jumping beans in his legs moving at warp speed!

  7. Bill Thorn October 2, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    Great article Patricia! I liked following the link to the AKC description of the tests and I like the section on the right with the Facebook things. I can’t help but think this would have been useful info when I was raising kids too!


  8. John Finlayson October 4, 2014 at 3:24 am #

    This looks like an excellent program for both dogs and handlers. I haven’t participated in it specifically but I have participated with my dog in very similar forms of all the “essential 10 tests”. We both enjoyed it….and still do.


  1. Training my dog for the AKC Canine Good Citizen test | “Life is a sum of all your choices”. ― Albert Camus - November 23, 2014

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