Friday, July 10, 2009

The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program was established by the American Kennel Club in 1989 to reward good doggie manners at home and in public as well as responsible ownership. All dogs, mixed and purebred, can participate and become CGC certified.

CGC tests are administered by AKC-approved evaluators. To receive certification, the dog must pass each of the following ten test items:

1. Accept a friendly stranger
2. Sit politely for petting
3. Accept grooming and examination
4. Walk on a loose lead
5. Walk politely through a crowd
6. Sit, down and stay on command
7. Come when called
8. React politely to other dogs
9. Demonstrate confidence in a distracting situation
10. Maintain good manners under supervised separation

If the dog doesn't pass one item, s/he must redo the entire test in order to pass the test. Dogs can take the test as many times as needed to become certified.

Treat/food lures are not permitted during any portion of the test. Reassurance through pats, hugs, smiles, and verbal praise is allowed and encouraged. Dogs are tested on a 6-ft lead wearing a flat or slip collar. Head collars, harnesses, and prong collars are not permitted during testing. Eliminating (peeing or pooping) during the test, disqualifies the dog from passing and the dog must retake the entire test.

The owner/handler must pledge the following:

- I will be responsible for my dog's health needs.
- I will be responsible for my dog's safety.
- I will not allow my dog to infringe on the rights of others.
- I will be responsible for my dog's quality of life.

Many therapy dog programs are now requiring dogs pass the CGC test before they can be considered potential therapy dogs. Some insurance companies and landlords have incorporated the CGC into their requirements. And, various animal control agencies use the CGC Program to manage dog problems in the community. Other countries, including England, Australia, Japan, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, and Finland, have developed CGC programs based on the AKC’s CGC Program.

The cost of testing and certification is usually minimal, from $5-15.

To locate CGC classes and evaluators in your area, go to:

For more info, visit the CGC website,

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