Cheryl May's Canine Good Citizen page

The Canine Good Citizen program is a great way to show that your dog is a good canine ambassador. The training necessary to complete this basic test of good manners begins -- for owner and dog -- a training relationship rewarding to both.

In 1992 my son, Jared May, convinced Kansas legislators to sponsor a resolution in both the Kansas House and Senate endorsing the AKC Canine Good Citizen program. The Kansas Legislature voted unanimously to endorse the CGC. As a result, Kansas became only the second state in the nation (after Florida) to pass such a resolution. Our family has a long involvement with the program -- beginning with Jared's interest while a 4-H dog project member. I continue to be enthusiastic about the CGC's potential for increasing the bond between owner and dog. I am a CGC evaluator for AKC, and teach a basic obedience class for a local dog club aimed at helping prepare owners and their dogs for the CGC test.

Please visit AKC's Canine Good Citizen page for further information about the test and lots more.


Your dog must pass every item to earn a CGC certificate. No toys or treats, or special training collars may be used during the test.

No. 1 Accepting a Stranger
The evaluator and handler will shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no signs of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.

No. 2 Sit Politely for Petting
Demonstrates that the dog will allow the approach of a friendly stranger and permit petting. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

No. 3 Appearance and Grooming
Demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit a stranger, such as a veterinarian or his/her assistant or someone other than the owner to do so.

No. 4 Out for a Walk (Walking on a Loose Lead)
Demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The evaluator may use a pre plotted course or may direct the handler by calling out instructions. There must be a right turn, left turn, and about turn, at least one stop in between and one at the end.

No. 5 Walking Through a Crowd
Demonstrates that the dog should have no difficulty in moving about in pedestrian traffic. The dog and handler will walk around and pass close to several persons (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers, but should continue to walk with the handler without evidence of shyness or resentment. The dog should not be straining at the leash.

No. 6 Sit and Down on Command
Demonstrates that the dog has training and will respond to the handler's command to sit and down, and will remain in place when told to do so by the handler. The dog's leash is replaced by a 20-foot line. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay, and with the 20-foot line in hand, walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a normal pace. The instructor tells the handler to release the dog.

No. 7 Come when Called
Demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. With the dog on a 20-foot line, the handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn and face the dog, and will call the dog. The handler may use body language and encouragement when calling.

No. 8 Reaction to Another Dog
Demonstrates the proper behavior when in the presence of 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.

No. 9 Reaction to Distractions
Demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with distracting conditions. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity, may startle but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness or bark.

No. 10 Supervised separation
Demonstrates that the dog may be left in the presence of a trusted person and will not bark, whine or struggle, demonstrating training and good manners.

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