The AKC Canine Good Citizen Program
The AKC Canine Good Citizen Program aims at making dogs well mannered and sociable. The two-part course run by the American Kennel Club caters to those looking imbibe the spirit of responsible pet ownership. Designed to teach dogs basic good manners, it gives certificates to pets that pas the 10-step Canine Good Citizen examination.
Teaching your dog good manners is imperative for a great relationship. It’s necessary for everyday living, as well as special occasions, such as having visitors over or going out to public places. If you have a well-behaved dog, it will make life easier and more enjoyable. One way to ensure that you’re establishing good manners in your dog is to engage in AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program (CGC).
The AKC organized the program to provide people with guidelines to follow when teaching their dog good conduct and to encourage responsible dog ownership. Some owners take the Canine Good Citizen test as a stepping stone to more advanced qualifications, such as service dog training and sports training.
Can My Dog Participate in the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program
All dogs, regardless of breed, can obtain an AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate as long as they pass the test. But it is important that your dog is fully vaccinated before the event. Vaccinations are typically done when your dog is between 4 and 6 months old.
If your dog takes the test at an early age and passes the same, you should consider repeating the process when your dog reaches adulthood as dog behavior can change over time.
You can also enroll your puppy in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program, which is like the AKC CGC Program, but for dogs less than one year, and then in the Canine Good Citizen test when he or she is older.
Make Sure Your Dog is Ready for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test
It’s important that you know what the AKC CGC test involves so that you can properly prepare your dog.
During the test, your dog will be expected to do the following:
- Stay calm and relaxed when a stranger comes near and talks to you.
- Stay relaxed while an unfamiliar person pets him or her.
- Stay calm and at ease when a dog and their owner comes near.
- Be comfortable with the type of handling typically performed by veterinary professionals and groomers.
- Remain calm and focused despite noises, smells, and distractions in the area.
- Walk on a leash in different environments (crowded, quiet, noisy.) without pulling or jumping.
- Stay calm when the leash is handed over to another person.
- Obey when asked to “come.”
- Successfully perform the “sit,” “stay,” and “down” commands.
During the test, you should use only verbal commands to help your dog. Food, toys, and other objects cannot be used for motivation. Peeing or defecating inappropriately, barking, growling, and other undesirable behavior that may take place during the evaluation phase will lead to automatic disqualification.
AKC Canine Good Citizen Dog Training
If you want your dog to pass the AKC CGC test while he or she is still a puppy, you’ll have to focus your training sessions on obedience and socialization. Your pup should know the basic commands, be comfortable being handled by strangers, and keep his or her composure in different situations.
You can also seek professional dog training help by asking for a recommendation from an AKC evaluator near you. This way you will work with a reputable dog trainer who is familiar with the AKC Canine Good Citizen test requirements.
Once you feel your dog is ready to take the test, go to the AKC website, find an evaluator near your area and schedule the test!
Watch the videos below to get an idea of what happens in the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test.