AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC)

The Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) program, developed in 1989 by the American Kennel Club, is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. It is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership and basic good manners for dogs. Both pure and mixed breed dogs are welcome to participate and there is no age limit.


Before taking the Canine Good Citizen® test, owners sign the AKC's 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.


After the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge is signed, the 10-item CGC test can be administered.  All 10 items must be successfully completed to pass.  Once passed, the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certificate may be obtained and the suffix "CGC" may be used after the dog's name. Additionally, in 2013, the CGC became an official AKC title which can appear on title records of dogs registered or listed with the AKC.


Item 1: Accepting a Friendly Stranger

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.


Item 2:  Sitting Politely for Petting

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to pet it while out with its handler. The evaluator will pet the dog on the head and body. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.


Item 3:  Appearance & Grooming

This 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. The evaluator softly combs or brushes the dog, lightly examines the ears, and gently picks up each front foot.


Item 4:  Out for a Walk (walking on a loose lead)

This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. 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. Following the evaluator's instructions, the dog will walk on a loose lead with the handler and perform a right turn, left turn, about turn and at least one stop in between and another at the end of the pattern.


Item 5:  Walking Through a Crowd

his 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. 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 dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.


Item 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 position (sit or down) and place commanded by the handler.


Item 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.


Item 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 about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue 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.

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Item 9:  Reaction to Distraction

This test demonstrates that the dog is alwasy confident 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.


Item 10:  Supervised Separation

This test demonstrates that your dog can be left with a trusted person and will maintain training and good manners. 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.