Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program

Last Updated on: 24th March 2024, 11:57 am

The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program is a renowned certification designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. Administered by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the CGC program is open to all dogs, aiming to promote responsible dog ownership and encourage the training of well-mannered dogs.

Objectives of the CGC Program

The primary goal of the Canine Good Citizen program is to foster responsible pet ownership and to enhance the bond between dogs and their owners through training and behavior assessment. The program emphasizes the importance of well-behaved dogs as members of families and communities, focusing on the basic training that dogs need to behave well in various social situations.

Structure of the CGC Test

The CGC test consists of 10 skills that dogs must successfully perform to earn the CGC certificate. These skills are designed to evaluate a dog’s temperament, obedience, and behavior in different scenarios. The test includes:

  1. Accepting a Friendly Stranger: The dog must show no signs of resentment or shyness when approached by a friendly stranger.
  2. Sitting Politely for Petting: The dog must remain calm and polite while being petted by a stranger.
  3. Appearance and Grooming: The dog must allow a stranger to check its ears and feet, simulating a grooming scenario.
  4. Out for a Walk (Walking on a Loose Lead): The dog must demonstrate good walking behavior on a leash.
  5. Walking Through a Crowd: The dog must navigate through a crowd calmly, without showing over-excitement or aggression.
  6. Sit and Down on Command/Staying in Place: The dog must respond to the sit and down commands and stay in place as directed.
  7. Coming When Called: The dog must come when called by the handler from a short distance.
  8. Reaction to Another Dog: The dog must behave politely around other dogs, without aggression or excessive excitement.
  9. Reaction to Distraction: The dog must not panic or show aggression when faced with common distractions.
  10. Supervised Separation: The dog must remain calm and not show anxiety or aggression when separated from its handler for a brief period.

Benefits of the CGC Certification

  • Promotes Responsible Ownership: The CGC program encourages owners to take an active role in their dogs’ behavior and training.
  • Foundation for Other Activities: The skills learned for the CGC test can serve as a foundation for other activities such as therapy work, agility, and obedience competitions.
  • Enhances Socialization: The training process helps socialize dogs, making them more comfortable and well-behaved around people and other dogs.
  • May Reduce Restrictions: Successfully passing the CGC test can sometimes help mitigate breed-specific legislation or insurance restrictions on certain dog breeds.


The Canine Good Citizen program plays a crucial role in promoting responsible dog ownership and encouraging the development of well-mannered dogs.

By participating in the CGC program, owners commit to a level of care and training that benefits not only themselves and their pets but also their communities. Achieving CGC certification is a commendable milestone for any dog and owner, reflecting a dedication to the principles of good behavior, obedience, and mutual respect.


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