Does your dog have what it takes to become a Canine Good Citizen (CGC)? Of course he or she does! Learn the benefits of certification and how to get started.

Your dog’s a model of canine behavior. He has excellent manners and can sit, lie down, and remain calm for a friendly pet from a stranger. You’ve raised a canine good citizen. Now’s your chance to make it official.

The CGC Program

Thanks to the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program, good dogs everywhere (mixed breeds and non-AKC-registered included) can try their paws at certification. The program is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community, and that’s not all — it stresses responsible pet ownership too. After dogs pass the certification program, they can include the prestigious ‘CGC’ after their name just like an academic title, and they can potentially gain access to off-limits locales too. For example, a landlord may consider renting to a family with a certified Canine Good Citizen versus one without the certification.

The test is also a prerequisite for working and therapy dogs before they start their jobs, and it’s simply a great foundation upon which to build with additional training. In short, a passing grade shows that your dog is well behaved and that you’re a responsible pet owner.

So does your dog have what it takes to make the grade? The ten-part test simulates everyday interactions your dog has with people and other animals. And even if you decide not to take the official test to earn a certification, it’s good to know that you and your dog can perform all of the steps involved, so give it a try.

Here’s a quick overview of the 10-step CGC certification test

  • Greets a friendly stranger.
  • Sits politely for petting.
  • Welcomes being groomed, brushed; allows paws and ears to be handled.
  • Walks as directed on a loose leash.
  • Moves politely through a crowd.
  • Sits, lies down and stays in place on command.
  • Comes when called.
  • Behaves politely around other dogs.
  • Reacts with confidence to distractions.
  • Can be left with a trusted person.

Is your dog ready? Ask around at your local humane society or kennel club to find out where the test is offered in your community. Once your pup passes, he gets a certificate (that you’ll frame immediately) and you can order a special collar tag to show the world he or she is such a good dog. Bring on the test!

The Scoop:

Learn all about the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Program.

See details about the 10-step CGC Test. Could your dog pass?