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Canine Good Citizen is the gold standard of behavior for dogs in our communities. Almost one million dogs, both purebred and mixed breed, have participated in the program since it began. The CGC program offers many practical advantages. The CGC award is a prerequisite for many therapy dog groups. Some homeowner’s insurance companies encourage CGC testing, and an increasing number of apartments and condos require that resident dogs pass the CGC test. The tagline of the CGC program is, “Responsible Owners, Well-Mannered Dogs.”


Both purebred and mixed breed dogs are welcome, and there is no age limit. AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program is the next logical step after AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, but AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is not required prerequisite for CGC.

Owners who have trained their dogs themselves may also find an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator and take the CGC test.

Going Beyond CGC

There’s nothing better than a well-trained dog. Canine Good Citizen training will make your dog a joy to live with, and it will provide your dog with intellectual stimulation and a high quality of life. Canine Good Citizen training provides a solid foundation for all other training. After CGC, your dog can move on to more advanced training for sports and events such as AKC Community Canine (advanced CGC), Urban CGC, therapy dog, tricks, obedience, agility, tracking, and other other fun performance events. Learn more about the next steps in training.

CGC Test Items

  • Accepting a Friendly Stranger. The dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach and speak to the handler (the dog owner) in a natural, everyday situation.
  • Sit Politely for Petting. The dog will allow a friendly stranger to pet it while it is out with the handler.
  • Appearance and Grooming. The dog will permit someone to check its ears and front feet, as a groomer or veterinarian would do.
  • Out for a Walk (walking on a loose lead). Following the evaluator’s instructions, the dog will walk on a loose lead (with the handler/owner).
  • Walking Through a Crowd. The dog will walk through a small crowd of pedestrians, passing in close proximity to at least three people.
  • Sit and Down on Command and Stay in Place. The dog must demonstrate sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay.
  • Coming When Called. The dog will come when called by the handler (from 10 feet away on leash).
  • Reaction to Another Dog. The dog will 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.
  • Reaction to Distractions. The evaluator will select and present two distractions such as dropping a chair, etc.
  • Supervised Separation. This test demonstrates that your dog can be left with a trusted person. The evaluator will hold your dog’s leash while you go out of sight for three minutes.
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