What Should I do to Pass The Canine Good Citizen Test (CGC Test)
Do you want to prep for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test? In this article we cover the following topics: What is the Canine Good Citizen Test? What are the Canine Good Citizen Test rules? How do you pass the Canine Good Citizen Test? What are the required skills and what can you do to prepare for the Canine Good Citizen Test?
What is the Canine Good Citizen Test
The CGC Test, or Canine Good Citizen Test was started in 1989, by the AKC (American Kennel Club). Its main purpose is to make sure your dog is a well behaved member of your family inside your home as well as your community. This test requires that your dog is good with people, dogs, good on leash, knows all of their commands, and can listen and be comfortable in noisy/excitable areas.
Suburban K9 trainers are CGC certified instructors and would love to help you get ready for the test or perform the test if your dog is already trained and ready!
Is it Hard to Pass the Canine Good Citizen Test
The CGC Test is a great way to test that your dog is overall well trained. It is not an overly difficult test for a well trained and socialized dog to pass. We have administered the test hundreds of times and have worked with people who trained the dog themselves and others that have spent thousands of dollars training with professionals. Following the advice in this article should help you with what you need to pass.
What is the Canine Good Citizen Test Good For
There are a couple of situations where we recommend working toward the canine good citizen test:
Therapy Dogs and the Canine Good Citizen Test
Many owners come to us with the request to get their pup ready for therapy dog work. We always recommend getting the pup ready to pass the CGC test as the first step. Many institutions that allow people to bring in therapy dogs have a requirement that the dog has passed the CGC test. There may be other tests that are required. However the skills necessary are usually similar to the CGC. So, passing the CGC should help ensure your pup has what it takes for therapy work.
If you are looking for your dog to be a therapy dog and want help, reach out for a price quote today and see how we can help!
Overall Well Behaved Dogs and the Canine Good Citizen Test
It is always easier to achieve something when you have a goal. Training your dog is no different. Having the goal of getting your dog to pass the CGC test will give you something to keep you motivated. It will also help ensure that your pup is an overall well trained and socialized dog. We highly recommend making the CGC Test your training goal!
How should your dog behave for the test?
Before taking the test make sure your dog meets the following criteria:
Calm and friendly to people regardless of age, sex, race or age
Calm and friendly to all dogs regardless of breed or size
Can be separated from their owner without concern
Can heel well on leash
Knows all of their commands, sit, sit stay, down, down stay, and come
Can listen on a Martingale Collar or a Harness
These next three are really about making sure your puppy knows their obedience commands. Check out our Guide to Basic Obedience Commands to learn more!
The Canine Good Citizen Test has 10 test items
The test items and descriptions listed below are from AKC’s website found here.
CGC 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. A person will approach you and your dog and say hello. Your dog needs to be able to remain calm while you say hi.
CGC 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. A stranger will pet your pup. Again they should remain calm for the person to pet them.
CGC Test 3 : Appearance and grooming
This 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. Your dog will likely get brushed during this test. It is again important that they are calm. They also must allow this type of handling to take place without trying to stop it.
CGC Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog when the dog is walking on a leash. Your pup has to stay within a reasonable distance to you and should not pull.
Canine Good Citizen Test 5: Walking through a crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control when on leash in public. You will have a group of people walking around and talking. You will need to maneuver your dog through this without them pulling, barking, etc.
CGC Test 6: Sit and down on cue and stay in place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s cues to sit and down and will remain in place (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers).
Canine Good Citizen Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. This is another obedience test. Make sure your dog can come around distractions. Even thought it is not necessarily a part of the test. There will certainly be things going on in the public location of the test. Need help with come? Check out our Step By Step Guide to Come.
Canine Good Citizen Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Here is another socialization test. Reacting to another dog is the most common test that dogs fail! Make sure you have worked around lots of other dogs. You will need your dog to be calm and not pull on leash or lunge. If you need help with socialization, we can help! Our Video shows a great tip to turn in front of your dog after the interaction. This helps ensure they don't pull to say hi when they would normally get to do so.
Canine Good Citizen Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This test demonstrates that the dog is always confident when faced with common distracting situations.
Canine Good Citizen 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. The test administrator will ask you to leave the dogs site. They will make sure that the dog is not noticeably unwilling to hang out with them. I'd recommend trying this with a friend prior to attempting the test. Many dogs have some amount of separation anxiety toward their owner.
Why Might My Dog Fail the Canine Good Citizen Test
There are quite a few requirements that your dog has to meet for each test. That being said there are also some things that will generally result in failing:
- Pulling on Leash
- Being Reactive Towards People or Dogs
- Not Able to be Groomed
- Has Separation Anxiety from owner
- Overly Reliant on a training tool
Tips to Passing the Canine Good Citizen Test
All CGC tests should be done in public or at a training facility with real life distractions around. Find out the location of your test. We recommend taking your dog to the location the day before the test and training. Day of the test make sure to arrive early and practice some training. Doing these things will help ensure they are used to things happening in the location. This will give you a huge advantage for the test!
Looking for More Help for the Canine Good Citizen Test
Our Dog Boot Camp and our In-Home dog training programs are highly customized and can be designed to help get your dog ready to pass the CGC test. We focus on obedience commands, leash walking, off leash training, in-home behaviors, socializing, and many other training goals.
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