Why the AKC Think You Should Train Your Dog

Have your dog become a Canine Good Citizen

"Centuries ago, when dogs were taken from the wild to serve as companions, early dog owners began the process of assuming responsibility for each dog’s care and training. Over time, dogs were trained to obey household rules so they would be welcome family members. Today more than ever, dogs must also have good manners in public to live harmoniously within communities and survive the increasing challenges of anti-canine advocates. Every dog should respond to the basic commands needed to function acceptably in public. “Heel,” “sit,” “down,” “come” and “stay” are some of the basics for every dog. Response to these commands gives dogs the social skills that defuse anti-canine feelings and foster good citizenship. However, your dog is not capable of training itself. It needs the important training that only you, as the owner, can provide.

Training results in a controlled dog, one that does not bother the neighbors or their pets. Trained dogs do not balk at grooming procedures or a veterinarian’s examination. Training stimulates your dog’s intelligence and gives its life meaning by letting it know how to please you. In an emergency, training can save your dog’s life."


All tests must be performed on-leash. Dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special training collars, such as pinch collars or head collars, are not acceptable. The leash should be made of either leather or fabric.

A score is not given in CGC as in formal obedience. No dog “fails” the Canine Good Citizen Test. If a dog has not yet learned a skill, it simply needs a little more training.
To pass the CGC test, your dog must pass all 10 items of the test. You will be allowed to talk to your dog during testing and you may offer praise and encouragement. Food can not be used as a reward during testing.

Any dog that eliminates during testing must not pass. The only exception to this rule is that elimination is allowable in Item 10, but only when the test 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.

At check-in, before beginning Item 1, the handler will be required to sign the Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge indicating that the dog has a veterinarian who provides guidance, care, and recommendations on routine health matters such as rabies vaccines, etc

If your dog has minor problems with one item during the test, the Evaluator may choose to allow you to try the test again at the end of testing.

Learn more about the skill items for the CGC