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Canine Good Citizen Program

We're Official CGC Evaluators through the AKC

The AKC's Canine Good Citizen Program is one of the most well known Titles a dog can earn to show that they have training and are calm and confident being out in society.

CGC is also widely used by insurances and requires similar behaviors as therapy dog groups.

All in all, it's a great test to show you've put time and effort into socializing your dog well.

How does your dog earn a CGC Title?

There's a 10 step test that your dog must pass to show that they know their stuff to earn the title.  

Test 1: Accepting A Friendly Stranger

Demonstrates: the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation.

Test: Evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries.

Dog: The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness.


Demonstrates: the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler.

Test: With the dog sitting at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise.

Dog: The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.


Demonstrates: 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. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility.

Test: Evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot.

Dog: The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.

The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog.



Demonstrates: the handler is in control of the dog.

Test: The dog may be on either side of the handler. 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.  There should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end.

Dog: The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired. 


Demonstrates: that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places.

Test: The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three).

Dog: 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 handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.


Demonstrates: the dog has training, will respond to the handler's commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers).

Test: The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.

Dog: The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance.


Demonstrates:  the dog will come when called by the handler.

Test: The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use 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.


Demonstrates: the dog can behave politely around other dogs.

Test: Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet.

Dogs: The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.


Demonstrates: the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations.

Test: 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.

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. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.


Demonstrates: a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners.

Test: Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes.

Dog: 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. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright"). 

Additional Test Rules


  • All tests are performed on leash.

  • Buckle or slip collars only 

  • No special training collars (choke, pinch, e-collar, or head collars)

  • While harnesses are allowed it cannot restrict movement (like a no jump or no pull harness)

  • Evaluator will supply 20 ft leash for distance test items

Treats / Rewards / Praise: 

  • You may praise and encourage the dog throughout the test 

  • food / treats / toys are not allowed during the test.  

Dismissal During Test / Automatic Failure:

  • Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or other dog

  • Any dog that eliminates during testing (unless during item 10 and test is outside)

Additional AKC Tests & Titles

Community Canine (CGCA)

  • the Advanced CGC

  • 10 more advanced test items

  • Set in a realistic setting

urban cgc (CGCU)

  • Demonstrate CGC skills & beyond in an urban setting

  • 10 step set of skills

AKC Trick Dog

  • Do More With Your Dog trick titles are recognized by the AKC

  • Or you can earn the AKC titles separately

S.T.A.R. Puppy

  • Socialization, Training, Activity, & Responsibility

  • For puppies up to 1 year

  • Is an actual class that is at least 6 weeks

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