The Canine Good Citizen Test is a certification program that tests dogs in simulated everyday situations in a relaxed atmosphere. It identifies and rewards dogs that have the training and demeanor to be reliable family members as well as good-standing community members. All dogs passing the Canine Good Citizen Test receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club. The test consists of 10 different objectives. The dog must pass all 10 of the objectives in order to pass the CGC 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 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.
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, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body only, and then circles the dog and handler, completing the test. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.
3. APPEARANCE AND GROOMING – This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined, and will permit a stranger, such as a veterinarian, groomer, or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog, then combs or brushes the dog and lightly examines the ears and each front foot.
4. OUT FOR A WALK (WALKING ON A LOOSE LEASH) – This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler, whichever the handler prefers. There must be a left turn, a right turn and an about turn, with at least one stop in between, and another at the end. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops.
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, without appearing overexuberant, shy or resentful. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not be straining at the leash.
6. SIT AND DOWN ON COMMAND/STAYING IN PLACE – This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s command to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to make the dog sit and then down. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of a 20-foot line. The dog must remain in place, but may change position.
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 will call the dog. The handler may use body language and 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 as the evaluator provides mild distractions (e.g. petting).
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 10 yards, stop, shake hands, and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 5 yards. The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each other.
9. REACTION TO DISTRACTIONS – This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations, such as the dropping of a large book or a jogger running in front of the dog. The dog may express a natural interest and curiosity, and may appear slightly started, but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark.
10. THE SUPERVISED SEPARATION – This test demonstrates that a dog can be left alone, if necessary, and will maintain its training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and a person will hold the leash of the dog. The dog will be held for three minutes and does
not have to stay in position, but should not continually bark, whine, howl, pace unnecessarily or show anything other than mild agitation or nervousness.