AKC Canine Good Citizen

The Canine Good Citizen is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club. All owners participating in the CGC test will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. 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 dogs infringe on the rights of others. More information on the Canine Good Citizen and other AKC activities can be found at http://www.akc.org

CGC Video Sample of Exercises – click the link to view! 

Items on the Canine Good Citizen Test include:

Test #1 – Accepting a Friendly Stranger

  • This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The two should be able to shake hands and exchange conversation without the dog showing any signs of resentment or shyness. Sitting

Test #2 – Sitting Politely for Petting

  • This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler’s side, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may also stand in place as it’s petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

Test #3 – Appearance and Grooming

  • This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone else to do so. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (proper weight, clean and healthy). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the exam, and the handler may talk to to the dog throughout.

Test #4 – Out for a Walk (Walking on a Loose Lead)

  • This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog’s position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler’s movements and changes of direction. The dog doesn’t need to be perfectly aligned and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions. In either case, there should be a right turn, left run, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along way and give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at stops if desired.

Test #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). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or put tension on the leash.

Test #6 – Sit and Down on Command and Staying in Place

  • This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down, whichever handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. The dog will wear a 20 ft. long line during this exercise and the handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The handler may not force the dog into position but can touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. The handler will then tell the dog to stay and walk to the end of the line, turn, and return to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place it was left, but can change position. The dog may be released from the front or the side.

Test #7 – Coming When Called

  • This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 ft. from the dog, turn to face the dog, and then give a recall. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers can choose to tell the dog to “stay” or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.

Test #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 ft., stop, shake hands and exchange conversation, then continue on for about 10 ft. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

Test #9 – Reaction to Distraction

  • This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly pas the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark.

Test #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.


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. The evaluator should supply a 20-ft lead for the exercises it’s required. The owner/handler should bring the dog’s brush or comb.


Owners/handlers may use praise and encouragement throughout the test. The owner may pet the dog between exercises. Food and treats are not permitted during testing nor is the use of toys, etc. to get the dog to do something.


Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed. The only exception is test item 10 if held outdoors.

Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or another dog must be dismissed from the test.




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