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AKC Canine Good Citizen

The AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program 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 in 1989.

Canine Good Citizen is part of the AKC Family Dog Program and many dog owners choose CGC as their first step in training their dogs. It also provides a great foundation for getting started in dog sports.

As you work with your dog to teach the CGC skills, you’ll discover the many benefits and joys of training. You’ll enhance your bond with your dog, and dogs with basic obedience training are a joy to live with—interacting well with other people and dogs and responding well to household routines.

The CGC program offers many practical advantages too. 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,” and that is what CGC is all about.

CGC Test Items

Test 1.

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.

Test 2.

Sit Politely for Petting.  The dog will allow a friendly stranger to pet it while it is out with the handler.

Test 3.

Appearance and Grooming. The dog will permit someone to check its ears and front feet, as a groomer or veterinarian would do.

Test 4.

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).

Test 5.

Walking Through a Crowd. The dog will walk through a small crowd of pedestrians, passing in close proximity to at least three people.

Test 6.

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.

Test 7.

Coming When Called.  The dog will come when called by the handler (from 10 feet away on leash).

Test 8.

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.

Test 9.

Reaction to Distractions. The evaluator will select and present two distractions such as dropping a chair, etc.

Test 10.

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.

CGC Prep Classes

CGC Test Dates

This class is offered occasionally. Please subscribe to our newsletter to see our upcoming classes.

CGC Classes

AKC Community Canine

KC Community Canine℠ is the advanced level of the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program. Dogs who pass the AKC Community Canine test earn the official AKC Community Canine title that is designated by the letters “CGCA” (Advanced CGC) on the dog’s title record.

Whereas Canine Good Citizen tests are most often tested in a ring and situations are simulated (e.g., 3 helpers serve as a “crowd”), the AKC Community Canine test is done in real situations including at shows, classes, and in the community.

AKC Approved CGC Evaluators administer the AKC Community Canine test.

CGCA Test Items

Test 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 (e.g., at a park)

Test 2.

Walks on a loose leash in a natural situation (not in a ring) — does not pull.

- left turn

- right turn

- stop

- fast and slow pace

Test 3.

Walks on loose leash through a crowd:

- at a show or in class, this item is tested in a real crowd, not in a ring

- in the community, dog walks on sidewalk, through a crowd at a community fair, park, on a trail, through a busy hallway, etc.

Test 4.

Dog walks past distraction dogs present; does not pull.
This item may be tested along with #3 if there are dogs in the crowd, etc.

- at a show or class, dog walks by dogs waiting in the crowd–dogs 2 ft. apart

- in the community, dog walks by other dogs on a trail, sidewalk, in a hallway, etc.

Test 5.

Sit — stay in small group (3 other people with dogs).
Owners and dogs are in an informal circle/square while owners have a conversation.
Dogs are all on the owner’s left side, on leash; 3 ft. apart. (At least 30 seconds)

Test 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)

Test 7.

“Leave it.” Dog walks by food and follows owner instructions, “Leave it.”
This can be food placed by the evaluator on the floor or ground in a food dish with a wire cover as in Rally.

Test 8.

Down or sit stay — distance (owner’s choice).
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.

Test 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.

Test 10.

Dog will sit or stand stay (owner’s choice) while owner enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway. Owner calls dog through door when ready.

Owner may also choose to:

Whichever method is used, the dog must not pull the owner and must be under good control. Think of the handler having the leash in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

Doorway or gate can be real or simulated with ring gates, two chairs, or a natural passageway (e.g., entrance to trail) in the community.

- send the dog through first and have the dog wait for the owner, or

- the owner may choose to have the dog go through the doorway at the owner’s side.

CGCA Prep Classes

CGCA Test Dates

This class is offered occasionally. Please subscribe to our newsletter to see our upcoming classes.

CGCA Classes

AKC Urban Canine Good Citizen

All skills in the test are tested on leash. AKC Urban CGC should be administered in a place where there are cars, streets to be crossed, noises, and distractions. This test is administered in the real world; it should not be simulated in a ring at a dog show.

When test items (such as riding on an elevator) are administered in public buildings, the buildings must be dog friendly or evaluators must have permission in advance from the business owners, managers, etc.

The goal of AKC Urban CGC is to test the dog’s skills in an urban (city) setting.

CGCU Test Items

Test 1. 

Exit/enter doorway with no pulling in dog-friendly buildings. Exit building to start test, additional Public buildings items are below.

Test 2.

Walk through a crowd on a busy urban sidewalk.

People come toward the dog from 1-ft. away

Tolerate distractions (people wearing hats, coats, men, women, etc).

Test 3.

Appropriate reaction to city distractions. This includes movement, noises, and walking on a variety of surfaces. Examples:

Noises: horns, sirens, construction noise, etc.

Moving objects: skateboard, bike, carts, person running

Surfaces: concrete, grass, grates, plastic tarp, wet sidewalk

Test 4.

Crossing street: Stop at corner, stand or sit to wait and cross with no pulling (on leash, with owner). Crosses street under control.

Test 5.

Ignore food on sidewalk. (Dropped food, or cups, bags, cans, in which food was wrapped).

Test 6.

Person walks up and pets the dog. May be carrying an item such as a small dog in a bag, a computer bag, etc. Person does not put the bag down to pet the dog.

Test 7.

Public Building (that is dog friendly). Walks under control in building (slick surface, carpeted floor). Down stay (3 min) in lobby or outdoor area, or waits while owner has a meal or snack.

Test 8.

Stairs, steps, or elevator under control.

Steps (at least 3 – up and down)

Elevator (Enters under control, exits, rides under control)


Test 9. 

Housetrained for apartment, condo, city living. Owner may verify this item. Evaluator may also observe in public buildings, or have observed in training classes.

Test 10.

Transportation. Owner’s choice depending on transportation needs.


- Car. Enters/exits, remains under control during the ride. (Crate? Seatbelt?)

- Subway. Small dog in bag for ride. (large dogs are not always permitted; know and abide by the Transit Policies in your area).

Dog friendly (enters/exits or allows to be put in/taken out) under control.

Contact the office at or 860-646-5033

to set up a private CGCU evaluation.

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