Is your dog a good citizen? Can you take him anywhere confident he will represent the best of canine manners? Would you like to earn an official title for your dog? This class fine-tunes skills all dogs should have and prepares the dog/handler team for the Canine Good Citizen award and title test. This is a proud accomplishment indeed! Your dog must already have had basic manners training and be social towards people and other dogs. This class does not address behavior issues or other training problems or concerns. If you need help in these areas, please contact us for other class options.
Canine Good Citizen (CGC)
$115 per 4-class session. Test fee ($15) is not included. (Available test dates will be announced by instructor)
(meets 1X/wk for 4 wks)
Tue 8-9pm / 6-5 to 6-26
Tue 8-9pm / 8-7 to 8-28
We can also test anyone who is ready (without enrolling in our classes) for a fee of $50
Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA) & Urban CGC (CGCU)
$50 plus travel (if needed) Private testing offered, call for details
*Please note: The AKC's filing fee is not included with the class or test fee*
Select the "Sign-up" button above to register.
Online registration simply holds your spot in class, and is required.
After you register for your class return to this page if you would like to pay via Paypal or Credit Card
(scroll down to pay - a 3% processing fee is added).
If you prefer to pay via check, please mail to: 11 East Chestnut Hill Lane, Suite B, Reisterstown, MD 21136
You will receive an email confirming your spot once payment has been been received and processed.
A copy of your dog's latest veterinary records is required to participate in any class.
AKC’s Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program Training/Testing: CGC Test Items
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.
*To begin, the dog should be sitting at the handler's side, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body.
-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 evaluator 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.
Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog.
*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 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.
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.
-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 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 (in the sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers).
*First, the dog must do a “sit” and “down” on command. 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 handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance.
-Handler may not pull on the dog’s front legs to slide the dog into a downed position.
*Next, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long (supplied by the evaluator). Owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay (can be a sit, stand or down stay). 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.
*Using a supplied line attached to the dog’s collar, the handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog.
-Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.
-The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come.
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, then continue on for about 10 feet.
-The dog being tested should not try to go towards the other dog or handler. It should show no more than casual interest in the other team.
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 – one visual, one auditory.
Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, keys, or a pan, 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.
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.
*A test helper or the evaluator will say something to the handler 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.
AKC’s Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program
Before taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. We believe that responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept and by signing the pledge, owners agree to take care of their dog's health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others.
Owners/handlers will pay the testing fee and complete the test registrations form.
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, head halters, etc. are not permitted in the CGC test. We recognize that special training collars 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 regular collars.
There will be a scheduled time to take your test. You will be given a time to report to the testing area. Your name and your dog’s name will be called. At that time, approach the evaluator and your test will begin.
Have fun and relax. Your dog will key off your mood. You should maintain a happy attitude, talk to and praise your dog.
Test item #10 may be given to more than one dog at a time. Please wait until all dogs in your session have completed their testing to get your results.
To achieve the Canine Good Citizen award, your dog must pass ALL TEN test items.
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.
You will know immediately at the end of each testing session if your dog has passed all ten testing items. You will be presented with a Certificate of Accomplishment from Pet Experts to acknowledge your dog’s success. You will also be given a copy of your registration form. If you wish, you may send the form to the AKC and request an official certificate (for a small fee). There are also fun things like patches and tags to purchase to commemorate your dog’s achievement.