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What is the Canine Good Citizen Title?

AKC Canine Good Citizen Title (CGC)

The Canine Good Citizen test is offered to all dogs, purebred and mixed breed, to evaluate and test their rediness to become accepted members in our communities. Training for this test is fun and helps you establish a closer bond with your companion. Basic and Advanced Basic Obedience Classes are recommended before applying for evaluation. This is not a competiton and does not require a precise routine but your companion will be tested for completion of each exercise.

The Evaluation and Testing includes: (please click on an evaluation/test to find out more about it)

  1. Accepting a Friendly Stranger
  2. Sitting Politely for Petting
  3. Appearance and Grooming
  4. Out for a Walk (Walking on a loose leash)
  5. Walking Through a Crowd
  6. Sit and Down on Command/Staying in Place
  7. Coming When Called
  8. Reaction to Another Dog
  9. Reaction to Distractions
  10. Supervised Separation

To qualify for the Canine Good Citizen Certificate, a dog must pass all of the 10 exercises. The dogs may walk on either side of the handler and the handler my talk to their dogs throughout the test but cannot offer food. The test is perfomed on-leash and the dog should wear a well-fitting buckle collar or slip collar made of leather, fabric or chain. Pinch collars are not acceptable. Leash should be leather or fabric. Owners should bring a brush to the test for the grooming exercise.

Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed except during exercise 10, when test is held outdoors. Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks or attempts to attack a person or another dog will be dismissed.

The AKC urges all dog owners to participate in the CGC Program. A certificate is awarded upon completion of the test and your dog earns the title initials CGC behind your dog's name. Many AKC dog clubs, obedience schools and private organizations offer the courses to prepare you and your companion for the test. Many of these same groups will sponsor the tests upon completion of the course.

What is the Community Canine Title?

The Community Canine test (aka Advanced CGC or CGCA) is the advanced level test of AKC's CGC program. Like the CGC, the CGCA test is a 10 step test. Dogs who pass this test earn the official AKC Community Canine title and the letters CGCA appear after the dog's name, replacing the previous CGC title.

All skills for the CGCA test are preformed on leash and can be done outside, in a class, at a show, or out in a public setting. The CGCA test simulates real world situations such as maneuvering a busy sidewalk or showing good manners when required to wait near other dogs. This test is a wonderful precursor toward taking a therapy dog test.

AKC Community Canine Test

To earn the CGCA title, the dog must:

Dogs must pass all 10 items of the test to receive the CGCA title.

  1. Dog stands, sits or lies down and waits under control while the owner sits at the registration table and fills out paperwork, or if the test is done in the community, dog waits while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with another person.
  2. Walks on a loose leash in a natural situation (not in a ring) and does not pull.
  3. Walks on loose leash through a crowd.
  4. Dog walks past distraction dogs present and does not pull. — This item may be tested along with #3 if there are dogs in the crowd, etc. The dogs are 2 ft. apart.
  5. Sit-stay in small group (3 other people with dogs). — Dogs are all on the owner's left side, on leash, and 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 to "Leave it."
  8. Down or sit stay (owner's choice) at a distance. — 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.
  10. Dog will sit or stand stay (owner's choice) while owner enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway. The owner calls dog through the door when ready.

Contributed by Carolyn Sanford and Molly Sumner