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CGC Syllabus

CGC Video

About Canine Good Citizen


The American Kennel Club started the CGC (Canine Good Citizen) program in 1989 as a means of rewarding dogs who were well-behaved companions at home and in the community. The Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club.

The goals of the CGC program are to:

  • Teach responsible dog ownership to owners.
  • Reward owners that provide basic training to their dogs and dogs that have good manners.

A key component of the CGC program is a 10 step CGC Test. All dogs, including purebred and mixed breeds who pass the CGC Test can receive a certificate from AKC.

Earning the CGC award will ensure that your dog is a well-respected member of the community and provides and excellent foundation for all other training.

Training for the CGC Test is fun and useful. You’ll find that training for the CGC award will help you establish a closer bond with your dog.

In the CGC class your dog will learn and be tested on the following:

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

Sitting politely for petting
The dog will allow a friendly stranger to pet it while it is out with its handler.

Appearance and grooming
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.

Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
The handler/dog team will take a short “walk” to show that the dog is in control while walking on a leash.

Walking through a crowd
The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three) to demonstrate that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places.

Sit and down on command and Staying in place
The dog will respond to the handler’s commands to 1) sit, 2) down and will 3) remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers).

Coming when called
The dog will come when called by the handler. Handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog.

Reaction to another dog
To demonstrate that the dog can behave politely around other dogs, 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.

Reaction to distraction
To demonstrate the dog is confident when faced with common distracting situations, 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.

Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. 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.


The above may seem like a daunting task, that’s why our trainers are here to help you as you progress in your dog training. The exercises will be presented each week in a manageable way that will give you time to practice at home.

We encourage you to practice at home using short time periods to keep your dog from tiring or becoming bored. If at any time you find yourself becoming tense or impatient because your dog doesn’t seem to be responding, take a break from exercise for a bit. You might want to play fetch with your dog but please don’t scold him/her.

Remember, Canine Good Citizen is as new to your pet as it is to you.