Skip to Primary Content

Taurus Academy

What's a Canine Good Citizen anyway?

3 dogs sit on a 2-tiered wooden structure outside

So what exactly is a Canine Good Citizen (CGC)? Unofficially, these are the pooches that we see lounging on the floor of Bath & Body Works as their human friends shop for new finds. Or the fluffy companion that accompanies their people to all the hottest patios in Austin. Officially, the CGC is a test that is hosted by the American Kennel Club (AKC). This test is often taken as a springboard to get our pups involved in other sports such as search and rescue, agility or therapy dog work. While the CGC is not a requirement for the common house pooch, it is an awesome guideline of standard city dog-esque behaviors, and a incredibly inexpensive test to take. Most qualified trainers will offer this test for as little as $10, so it is an amazing way to show off Sparky’s smarts to all of your friends and family.

So - the CGC is a great guideline for behaviors that we want to teach, but what exactly does your pup need to know to pass this prestigious exam? The CGC is a 10 part test, and your pup must pass each section to win the gold. The test items are listed below:

  1. Accepting a friendly stranger

  2. Sitting politely for petting

  3. Handling and Grooming

  4. Walks politely on leash (no pulling allowed!)

  5. Walks politely through a crowd of people

  6. Sits, lies down, and stays on command

  7. Comes when called

  8. Behaves politely around other dogs

  9. Reacts appropriately and confidently to distractions

  10. Can be left alone with a trusted person (the evaluator/trainer) for 3 minutes with no excessive whining, barking, or panicking.

So in short, your pup should know his basics cues of sit, down, stay and here. Fido should walk nicely on a leash both around people, or when it’s just you and him. He should also be able to handle distractions pretty well - typically an evaluator will knock over a chair or drop a pot on the ground. And finally, he needs to be okay with being left with someone for 3 minutes.

So where do we start training for all this? In my experience, some of the hardest test items to work on are greeting people and other dogs, as well as being left alone with the trainer for three minutes. Obedience school is always a great choice for your pup to help them obtain all of these wonderful life skills, and working hands-on with a trainer is a great way for you to learn how to bridge the language gap between human and canine. Here at Taurus, we specialize in teaching your pup English while simultaneously teaching you how to speak Fido so that you and your fearless friend can meet in the middle.

Practicing for the Canine Good Citizen test is a great way to keep your smart canine polished on his basic manners, and it’s an awesome way to get her looking to you for fun games and puzzles. At the end of the day, training is all about having fun and keeping both you and your pup engaged!