Veterinrian Recommended
Positive Pet Professionals Member
Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed CPDT-KA
North County Dog Training approved CGC Canine Good Citizen evaluator
North County Dog Training approved S.T.A.R. STAR Puppy trainer evaluator
Approved APDT C.L.A.S.S. CLASS Instructor

What should you expect from your Canine Good Citizen Class?

Class one will be dedicated to learning such things as how to properly hold your leash, how to interact in public with your dog, how to take care of his or her health including grooming and what to expect from spaying and neutering your dog. During this class your dog will work on the command 'settle' while you are attending to the lessons.

Class two will work on sitting, laying down and walking on a loose leash. We will have a question and answer period at the beginning of the class and at the end. You will begin to learn how to use positive reinforcement in order to get what you want from your dog. Please bring a grooming brush with you for this class as you will be doing a light grooming during the class. You will be given your 'homework' assignments to prepare for the next class.

Class three will start and end with a question and answer period. We will begin training with refreshing sit, down and walking on a loose leash. We will work on walking through a crowd while still reinforcing walking on a loose lead. We will also be passing by other dogs while walking. (This will be the beginning of reaction to a strange dog. We will work on accepting a friendly stranger during this class. We will begin work on the 'stay' command on both sit and down. You will be given your 'homework' assignments to prepare for the next class.

Class four will start and end with a question and answer period. We will begin training with refreshing all commands learned so far. We will work on supervised separation, starting with the owner handing the dog's leash to someone and moving a short distance away and coming back. Depending on the dog's reaction, we will move to the owner leaving the room and then returning immediately. This will build the dog's confidence that you are not abandoning him/her. We will have a visiting dog join the class and work on reactions to a strange dog and accepting a friendly stranger as well as sitting politely for petting and grooming. Please bring your grooming brush to this class. You will be given your 'homework' assignments to prepare for the next class.

Class five will start and end with a question and answer peroid. We will begin by refreshing commands learned so far. We will work on 'come' on a twenty foot lead. We will work on supervised separation, making the separation time slightly longer each time, depending on the dog's response. We will add distractions to all formerly learned commands. You will be given your 'homework' assignments to prepare for the next class.

Class six will start and end with a question and answer peroid. This will be the review class. You will have figured out what you and your dog need to work on in order to pass the test and we will work specifically on your team's weak points.

Class seven will be the test. We will have a question and answer period before the test. You will also have a chance to ask questions regarding the test before your particular test starts. During the test I will be unable to answer any questions other than to clarify what I'm looking for the team to perform. Please be sure that you have all your questions answered before you start the test so you will have your greatest chance of success.

Below are the test items you will need to perform.

After signing the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, owners and their dogs are ready to take the CGC Test. Items on the Canine Good Citizen Test include:

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The 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. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. 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. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming

This practical test demonstrates that 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. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. 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. 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.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)

This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. 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. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. 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.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd

This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). 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.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and staying in place

This test demonstrates that 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). 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. 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. 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.

Test 7: Coming when called

This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. 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.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog

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

Test 9: Reaction to distraction

This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times 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. The 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.

Test 10: 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 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").

Equipment

All tests must be performed on leash. For collars, dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, and electronic collars are not permitted in the CGC test.

As of November 4, 2010, body harnesses may be used in the CGC test. The evaluator should check to make sure the harness is not of a type that completely restricts the dog's movement such that it could not pull or jump up if it tried.

We recognize that special training collars such as head collars and no-jump harnesses may be very useful tools for beginning dog trainers, however, we feel that dogs are ready to take the CGC test at the point at which they are transitioned to equipment that allows the evaluator to see that the dog has been trained.

The evaluator supplies a 20-foot lead for the test. The owner/handler should bring the dog's brush or comb to the test.

Encouragement

Owners/handlers may use praise and encouragement throughout the test. The owner may pet the dog between exercises. Food and treats are not permitted during testing, nor is the use of toys, squeaky toys, etc. to get the dog to do something. We recognize that food and toys may provide valuable reinforcement or encouragement during the training process but these items should not be used during the test.
Failures – Dismissals

Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed. The only exception to this rule is that elimination is allowable in test Item 10, but only when test Item 10 is held outdoors.

Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or another dog is not a good citizen and must be dismissed from the test.

Unlike the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy designation, your dog does not have to go through a class specifically for the Canine Good Citizen test. You can take the test any time you want if you believe your dog can pass the requirements listed below. If you would like to go straight to the test, please contact us and let us know. Please put 'Canine Good Citizen Test' in the subject line.
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