Started in 1989, the CGC Program is designed to reward dogs who have good manners 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.
Many dog owners choose Canine Good Citizen training as the first step in training their dogs. The Canine Good Citizen Program lays the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events. As you work with your dog to teach the CGC skills, you’ll discover the many benefits and joys of training your dog. Training will enhance the bond between you and your dog. Dogs who have a solid obedience education are a joy to live with-they respond well to household routines, have good manners in the presence of people and other dogs, and they fully enjoy the company of the owner who took the time to provide training, intellectual stimulation, and a high quality life. We sincerely hope that CGC will be only a beginning for you and your dog and that after passing the CGC test, you’ll continue training in obedience, agility, tracking, or performance events.
AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program is one of the most rapidly growing programs in the American Kennel Club. There are many exciting applications of this wonderful, entry level that go far beyond the 10-step CGC test.
Many other countries (including England, Australia, Japan, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, and Finland) have developed CGC programs based on the AKC’s CGC Program. A CGC Neighborhood Model has been established, police and animal control agencies use CGC for dealing with dog problems in communities, some therapy dog groups use the CGC as a partial screening tool, and some 4-H groups around the country have been using the CGC as a beginning dog training program for children.
A number of specialty (one breed only) clubs give the CGC at their annual national dog show. Dog clubs have discovered that the CGC is an event that allows everyone to go home a winner. Veterinarians have recognized the benefits of well-trained dogs and there are some CGC programs in place in veterinary hospitals. State legislatures began recognizing the CGC program as a means of advocating responsible dog ownership and 34 states now have Canine Good Citizen resolutions.
In a little over one decade, the Canine Good Citizen Program has begun to have an extremely positive impact in many of our communities. This is a program that can help us assure that the dogs we love will always be welcomed and well-respected members of our communities.
Who Can Participate?
All dogs, including both purebred and mixed breed dogs are welcome to participate in the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program. Dogs must be old enough to have received necessary immunizations such as rabies vaccines. Owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge attesting to having the dog under the routine care of a veterinarian who will work with the owner to determine an appropriate plan and schedule for vaccines and other health care procedures.
There is no age limit for the CGC test. A dog is never too old to be a good citizen. Puppies who have completed all immunizations and boosters may be tested, however, because we know that behavior and temperament can change over time, when puppies pass the CGC test, owners should have them re-tested as adults.
There are a few exceptions relating to participation in a CGC test. If the CGC test is given at an AKC show, the age requirements for the show apply to CGC also. Further, when the CGC test is administered at an AKC show, the test may be restricted to only dogs entered in the show or to purebred dogs.
Some dogs who are entered in CGC tests will have completed CGC classes or basic obedience classes. Owners who have trained their dogs themselves may also have their dogs tested. Clubs and training programs in almost every city can provide CGC training to owners and dogs who need to learn a few more skills before taking the test.
Courtesy of American Kennel Club: Canine Good Citizen Program.