CGC is a certification program that
is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at
home and in the community. The Canine Good Citizen Program
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.
To learn more about CGC testing, visit the American Kennel Club
• AKC Canine Good Citizen Test •
AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test
Before taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners will sign the
Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. We believe that 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 dogs infringe on
the rights of others.
After signing the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, owners and their
dogs are ready to take the CGC Test. 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 evaluator
and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must
show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position
or try to go to the evaluator.
Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger
to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting
at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, 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 stand in place as it
is 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, such as a veterinarian,
groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates
the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator
inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The
dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight,
clean, healthy and alert). 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 examination,
and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement
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 need not be perfectly aligned with the handler 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
or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left
turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and
another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the
way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice.
The handler may sit the dog at the halts 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 and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test.
The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the
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 position, whichever
the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command,
then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the
stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line
20 feet long. 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 evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's
commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but
may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by
the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward
the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural
pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it
may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler
to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or
Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the
handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face
the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to
get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay"
or "wait" 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 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries,
and continue on for about 10 feet. 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 past 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. The handler may talk to the
dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.
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 (e.g., "there, there,
All tests must be performed on leash. Dogs should wear well-fitting
buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special
training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, etc. are
not permitted in the CGC test. We recognize that special training
collars may be very useful tools for beginning dog trainers, however,
we feel that dogs are ready to take the CGC test at the point
at which they are transitioned to regular collars.
The evaluator supplies a 20-foot lead for the test. The owner/handler
should bring the dog's brush or comb to the test.
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, squeaky
toys, etc. to get the dog to do something. We recognize that food
and toys may provide valuable reinforcement or encouragement during
the training process but these items should not be used during
Failures - Dismissals
Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed.
The only exception to this rule is that elimination is allowable
in test Item 10, but only when test Item 10 is held outdoors.
Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack
a person or another dog is not a good citizen and must be dismissed
from the test.