Training Your Dog For The AKC Community Canine Title

The AKC Community Canine is the advanced level of the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program. It is a 10-step evaluation that test specified skills that dogs must possess. Dogs who pass the test obtain the official AKC Community Canine title that is designated by the letters “CGCA” (Advanced CGC) on the dog’s title record.

Training Your Dog ForThe AKC Community Canine Title 1

While the Canine Good Citizen tests are simulations of real world situations, the AKC Community Canine tests a dog’s skills in real situations.

Read: Dog Training: Training Your Dog For The AKC Canine Good Citizen Test

For example, instead of being tested in a ring, the AKC Community Canine test items require the dog to walk through a real crowd in a true-life situation.

AKC Approved CGC Evaluators administer the AKC Community Canine test.


Which dogs are qualified to take the Community Canine test?

Dogs of all breeds and ages who have passed the Canine Good Citizen test can take the AKC Community Canine test.

The only exceptions may be if the test is conducted in combination with an AKC event – In these cases the specific club’s regulations apply and some dogs may not be entitled to participate.


What to expect during the AKC Community Canine Test?

All tests are performed on leash.

Your dog’s leash and collar should be made from either leather or fabric. You dog needs a to wear a collar with a well-fitting buckle, a slip collar (including a martingale), or a body harness. Body harnesses should not restrict your dog’s movement.

Pinch collars and head collars are not allowed. Retractable leashes are also a no-no.

Food and toys are also not allowed to be used during the test. But handlers may talk to their dogs and give them praises throughout the test.

Evaluators conduct the test in as natural, realistic setting as possible and are encouraged by the AKC to make sure the experience is also fun.


What are the requirements for a dog to obtain the AKC CGCA title?

If you want your dog to take the AKC Canine Community test, your dog should be registered or listed with AKC (AKC number, PAL, or AKC Canine Partners number). He or she must also have a Canine Good Citizen award/title on record.

During the Canine Community test, dogs will undergo the following tests:

  1. Dog stands, sits or lies down and waits under control while the owner:
    1. sits at the registration table and fills out paperwork, or,
    2. if the test is done in the community, dog waits while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with another person (e.g., at a park)
  2. Walks on a loose leash in a natural situation (not in a ring) — does not pull.
    1. left turn
    2. right turn
    3. stop
    4. fast and slow pace
  3. Walks on loose leash through a crowd:
    1. at a show or in class, this item is tested in a real crowd, not in a ring
    2. in the community, dog walks on sidewalk, through a crowd at a community fair, park, on a trail, through a busy hallway, etc.
  4. Dog walks past distraction dogs; does not pull.
    1. This item may be tested along with #3 if there are dogs in the crowd, etc.
    2. at a show or class, dog walks by dogs waiting in the crowd–dogs 2 ft. apart
    3. in the community, dog walks by other dogs on a trail, sidewalk, in a hallway, etc.
  5. Sit — stay in small group (3 other people with dogs).
    1. Owners and dogs are in an informal circle/square while owners have a conversation.
    2. Dogs are all on the owner’s left side, on leash; 3 ft. apart. (At least 30 seconds)
  6. Dog allows person who is carrying something (backpack, computer bag, etc.) to approach and pet it.
    “May I pet your dog?” (Item is placed on floor/ground before the person pets the dog)
  7. “Leave it.” Dog walks by food and follows owner instructions, “Leave it.”
    This can be food placed by the evaluator on the floor or ground in a food dish with a wire cover as in Rally.
  8. Down or sit stay — distance (owner’s choice).
    Dog is on 20–ft line, owner walks away with back to dog, picks up an item (e.g., backpack, training bag, clipboard, folder etc.) placed on the floor/chair/ground by the evaluator and returns to the dog.
  9. Recall with distractions present (coming when called). Handler goes out 20–ft. **(off center) and calls dog.
    Dog is on the 20–ft. line from #8 above.

    Training Your Dog ForThe AKC Community Canine Title 2

  10. Dog will sit or stand stay (owner’s choice) while owner enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway. Owner calls dog through door when ready.
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Owner may also choose to:

  1. send the dog through first and have the dog wait for the owner, or
  2. the owner may choose to have the dog go through the doorway at the owner’s side.

Whichever method is used, the dog must not pull the owner and must be under good control.

Think of the handler having the leash in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
Doorway or gate can be real or simulated with ring gates, two chairs, or a natural passageway (e.g., entrance to trail) in the community.

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