What Is A Canine Good Citizen?

What IS a Canine Good Citizen? How do dogs become canine good citizens? Well, “canine good citizen” or “CGC” refers to a dog who has passed a test developed by the American Kennel Club and evaluated by AKC approved evaluators. The test is meant to demonstrate a dog’s ability to behave in a mannerly way in real world situations and includes 10 exercises intended to do just that. These exercises include loose leash walking through distractions, meeting friendly strangers and coming when called to name a few.


You can find the complete requirements of the AKC CGC Test on the AKC’s website: www.akc.org/events/cgc.

Teaching your dog the skills to pass a CGC test is not only a fun accomplishment to brag about to your friends but can also help convince reluctant landlords to allow your dog in their building, insurance companies to cover your house while your dog resides there and (for those of us with breeds that have been labeled “dangerous” in the past or present) friends and family that your dog is as mannerly as anyone could want. I’ve taught many pit bulls and other “difficult” breeds the skills they need to pass a CGC test and have helped rescued dogs earn their CGC award in an attempt to aid in their adoption prospects. I am pleased to offer a class specifically for the foster dogs of Phoenix Pack (www.phoenixpack.org). Pit bulls have a special place in my heart and it’s such a joy to be able to offer training to these dogs that are not welcome in many other training facilities.

Loose Leash Walking


 I obtained a CGC award for my personal dog, Andre (a pit bull/American bulldog mix), in May 2011 and could not have been more proud of him!  While earning a CGC is a fantastic goal it doesn’t have to be the end of your journey and in fact, I think it should only be the beginning! Earning a CGC was the first step in my journey with Andre toward AKC obedience competitions and we have since finished our Rally Novice title and are working hard toward our Novice and Rally Advanced titles.   A CGC award can be the first step in your journey with your dog too…

Helping Hounds Training offers a CGC prep class several times a year at K9 Kabana in St. Charles, MO. Here are some of the most recent canine good citizens…

Slater (his owner, Jamie, not pictured)

Koda (his owner, Kim, not pictured)

Daisy and her foster mom, Laura

Manny and his foster mom, Carol

Shela (her owner, Lea, not pictured)

 So whether  earning a CGC with your dog is your ultimate goal or only the beginning of her journey with you, I highly recommend getting started as soon as possible and joining a training class near you!  You can register for classes with Helping Hounds Training at K9 Kabana by calling 636-329-1325.

Remember, training should always be fun and dogs are NEVER too old (or young) to learn useful skills or playful tricks!  Happy Training!!

One thought on “What Is A Canine Good Citizen?

  1. Lea Wigginton says:

    Your CGC class is THE best class I’ve participated in with Shela. The results are amazing! A year of traditional training never got the results that we achieved in 4 classes with you.

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