What’s In A Title – Canine Good Citizen

| February 26, 2013 | 1 Comment
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A future AKC Canine Good Citizen in action!

A future AKC Canine Good Citizen in action!


Yes, the AKC Canine Good Citizen is officially a title effective January 1, 2013! If your dog already has a CGC certificate (achieved after January 1, 2001), you will be able to apply to have CGC listed on the dog’s title record. Simply download and complete the “Add Canine Good Citizen to your Dog’s Title Record (The Grandfathering Form)“.

This article is a part of a series explaining various types of competition and how to obtain various titles in conformation, hunt, obedience, agility, tracking, etc. Check out the Related Articles section for other titles. The AKC Canine Good Citizen title is brand new – prior to January 1, 2013, the CGC program was considered an “award”. The information that follows is by no means comprehensive, just enough to whet your appetite and encourage you to get out with your dog. For AKC Canine Good Citizen rules and regulations, please visit the American Kennel Club (AKC) web site.

The AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program was created to promote responsible pet ownership and basic obedience for dogs while rewarding dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. Often dog owners choose the CGC program as an initial training step and continue on with other Companion or Performance events. You will find many benefits of training, including enhancing the bond between you and your dog and having a dog that is a joy to be with in your home as well as with around other people and other dogs.

AKC Canine Good Citizen Title

Eligibility. All dogs, both purebred and mixed breeds, can participate. There is no age limit; a puppy must have the appropriate immunizations (including rabies vaccines). Some exceptions may apply if the CGC test is given at an AKC show (e.g., age requirements or restrictions to dogs entered in the show).

Responsible Dog Owners Pledge

A key component of the CGC Program is responsible dog ownership. Responsibility should start the moment you decide to add a new dog or puppy to your family. Prior to the test, owners must sign a pledge to take care of their dog’s health needs, safety, exercise, training, and quality of life.

Test Items

All tests are performed on leash with an appropriate buckle or slip collar. Training collars are not allowed during the test (e.g., pinch collars, head halters, and electronic collars). Handlers may use praise and encouragement during the test and pet the dog between exercises. No food, treats, or toys can be used. Dogs that pass the CGC test may list the suffix “CGC” after their name.

  • Accepting a friendly stranger
  • Sitting politely for petting
  • Appearance and grooming
  • Walking through a crowd
  • Sit down on command and staying in place
  • Coming when called
  • Reaction to another dog
  • Reaction to distraction
  • Supervised separation

Qualifying Criteria. The dog must successfully pass each test item as judged by the evaluator. Any dog that eliminates during the test will be marked as failed (except during the last test item #10 when outdoors). Also, if the dog growls, snaps, bites, or attempts to attack a person or another dog, they will be dismissed.

Get Ready

The Canine Good Citizen Program is a great way to learn about being a responsible pet owner, bond with your dog, and learn basic obedience; it will be fun and educational for your dog and your family. Look for CGC or Obedience training in your community or contact your local AKC dog club. We hope this has sparked your interest to go out and have more fun with your dog!

Category : What's In A Title


About the Author ()

Lorraine has owned Labradors for over 20 years and has bred them about half that time. A good day for Lorraine is experiencing the unbridled joy of her labs greeting her (in the morning, after work, or even after a short trip to the store), witnessing the pure happiness of her labs in the field retrieving or exploring on a hike, and snuggling with (or under) them on the couch at night. A great day is a good day (just described) plus having a litter of puppies around!

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