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Dog preparing to take Canine Good Citizen test with Paw by Paw Dog Training
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The American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test is a nationally recognized program that instills a sense of responsibility and good manners in dogs and owners alike. The Canine Good Citizen title is a prerequisite for many therapy dog certifications, as well as a great introduction to more advanced dog training options. Some homeowners’ insurance programs even offer discounts for dogs who have the Canine Good Citizen title, and an increasing number of apartments and condos require that resident dogs pass the CGC test. 

Before taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. Responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept and by signing the pledge, owners agree to take care of their dog’s health needs, safety, exercise, training, and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting their dog infringe on the rights of others.

After signing the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, owners and their dogs are ready to take the AKC CGC Test, which is done on leash. Items on the Canine Good Citizen Test include:

  1. Accepting a Friendly Stranger
    The dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation.

  2.  Sitting Politely for Petting
    The dog will allow a friendly stranger to pet it while it is out with its handler.

  3. Appearance and Grooming
    The dog will permit someone to check it’s ears and front feet, as a groomer or veterinarian would do.

  4. Out for a Walk (walking on a loose lead)
    Following the evaluator’s instructions, the dog will walk on a loose lead (with the handler/owner).

  5. Walking Through a Crowd
    This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three).

  6. Sit and Down on Command and Staying in Place
    The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay.

  7. Coming When Called
    This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler (from 10 feet on a leash).

  8. Reaction to Another Dog
    This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries.

  9. Reaction to Distraction
    The evaluator will select and present two distractions such as dropping a chair, etc.

  10. Supervised Separation
    This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g., "there, there, it's alright").


Upon completion, our staff will provide all the necessary paperwork and guide you through the steps to file for an official AKC certificate and title. 


Please contact us at (240) 630-2057 or for more information about the Canine Good Citizen Test.

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