Canine Good Citizen Test Requirements

05 Mar

You may have heard of the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizenship Program.

For some, it’s a first step toward becoming a therapy dog at hospitals, schools and nursing homes. For others, it’s a basic grounding for competitive activities such as agility. For still others, it’s a way to obtain homeowners’ insurance for homes that contain breeds that insurance companies consider to be high risks.

But for thousands, it’s just a great way to assure that our dogs are obedient, friendly and well behaved in society. Training for the exam is an excellent form of quality time with your dog. And taking the exam can be an exciting time of great pride for both of you.

The American Kennel Club ( will give you information on when and how to take the exam, and how to find a training class to prepare for it. Many dog clubs offer CGC exams during their annual meetings and shows. 4-H clubs offer children and adults the chance to train for the exam and then take the exam. So do many dog training schools (PetSmart’s training program offers this in many stores).

It’s advisable to take the training class to prepare for the exam, but you don’t have to. So how do you know if you need the training class? What will be asked of your dog during the exam? AKC doesn’t publish the 10 requirements, but I found them at Here they are:

  1. Meeting friendly new people: Your dog will be expected to sit or stand calmly  while you stop and speak to a stranger.
  2. A pat on the head: Your dog must sit or stand while a stranger pets it.
  3. A trip to the veterinarian/groomer: Your dog must permit a stranger to brush it and examine its paws and ears.
  4. A walk in the park: Your dog will be asked to walk with you on a loose leash, including turning left, right and around and coming to a stop.
  5. A walk in a crowd: Your dog must show it is at ease while you walk it in a crowd.
  6. Staying put: Your dog must perform a sit and/or down and then remain in place while you walk away from it.
  7. Answering a call: Your dog must come when you command.
  8. Dog to dog: When meeting another dog, your dog must show only casual interest.
  9. Accepting the unexpected. Your dog must not panic when confronted by common distractions, such as a loud noise or a passing jogger.
  10. Dog-sitters welcome: Your dog should behave when a friendly stranger takes its leash and you disappear for three minutes.

It’s fun to try these 10 criteria to see how many your dog could pass today. If you decided to get your dog’s Canine Good Citizen certification, you’ll be able to say, “My dog’s a good dog, and I have the papers to prove it!” 

– Lisa Woody


Posted by on March 5, 2006 in In the News


8 responses to “Canine Good Citizen Test Requirements

  1. A PetSmart employee

    May 14, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    Just a note: PetSmart used to offer a class that culminated in issuing AKC Canine Good Citizen certification to the dogs who passed the test. I guess PetSmart’s agreement with the AKC expired or something, because they aren’t able to do that anymore; however, their “Advanced” class still teaches all of the skills necessary for a dog to pass the AKC-CGC test.

  2. Blue

    September 5, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    I don’t think I would could ever pass the last one. I always freak out when my humans aren’t around. 😦

    – The Blue Dog –

  3. Rokedrefpor

    October 28, 2008 at 10:23 am

    oh yeah, one more thing Are you trying to play with my flexible circulation I have a joke for you =) What do you get when you cross a rabbit and a spider? A HAREnet!

  4. utqw8p

    May 17, 2009 at 3:31 am

    Hello, Very nice site. Universe help us, dont worry man.

  5. CGC Comic Books

    May 18, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  6. a0c2v8

    June 11, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    dsfsdfs67877 test test

  7. Carolin

    September 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Is there an age requirement? I thought I read somewhere they have to be at least 1 year old before they can take the test, is that true?

  8. Bank Jake

    October 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Our PetsMart DOES offer the CGS test and our dog is ready to take it and will only be 8 months old.


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