Canine Good Citizen

Is your dog a Canine Good Citizen? (May 2021 Update)

Puppy Day School alum Ursus passed the CGC test! Will your dog be next?

Find out this summer! We’re excited to announce two new training opportunities this summer at Crossbones: a new format for our CGC Prep class and an AKC Canine Good Citizen testing event!

Not sure what the AKC Canine Good Citizen test is all about? Check out our blog post about it!

Commit to classes

Our spring experiment with Intro to Agility as a linear class has been very successful! We were inspired to use the format for CGC Prep, which is our class designed for teaching dogs the skills they need to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen class.

Linear classes meet on the same weekday, at the same time, for six weeks. They’re generally consecutive (save for any holidays or instructor vacations). Like a college course, students sign up in advance and commit to taking the whole course. This format allows the instructor to build each week’s curriculum on the skills previously taught. Since everyone is at approximately the same experience level, the class progresses through advanced skills together!

The prerequisites for this linear CGC Prep class are the same as the Flex Class version. All students must have attended at least 2 of each of our Core Manners classes: Polite in Public, Come This Way, Settle & Stay Put, and Self-Control. If you and your dog don’t have a solid understanding of all of those skills taught, we recommend repeating those Core Manners classes further before jumping into CGC Prep.

If you’re not sure if you’re ready, or if you’ve taken classes elsewhere and […]

5 Skills Your Dog Needs to Pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test

Preparing for the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test | Spring Forth Dog Blog Loose leash walking is one of the most important skills to master before taking the CGC test, because it is a part of several test items.

In last week’s blog post, An Overview of the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test, I described the ten elements of the CGC test. Preparing for this test is key. There are a few specific behaviors that not all “well behaved” dogs know.

Preparing for the CGC Test

The CGC test is designed to reward well-mannered dogs and their owners. The first step towards a well-mannered pet is training. What people consider “polite behavior” does not come naturally to dogs. Sitting politely for greeting, walking on a loose leash, and coming when called are skills that need to be trained step-by-step. A basic obedience class should build the foundation for many of the skills necessary to pass the test.

Some trainers offer group classes specifically geared towards the Canine Good Citizen test. These classes are typically taught by CGC evaluators who will be able to find the weaknesses in your dog’s training and help you overcome them. Practicing the test items each week will also increase your familiarity with the rules, making test day as stress-free as possible. We cover the Canine Good Citizen skills in our Advanced Dog Manners group class.

It’s not impossible to train your dog by yourself to pass the CGC test. If you decide to go that route, study the test items carefully and be sure to practice in public places, such as dog-friendly parks and pet stores, so your dog gets used to performing around the distractions that will […]

By |2022-05-09T22:07:19+00:00October 3, 2016|Canine Good Citizen, Training|Comments Off on 5 Skills Your Dog Needs to Pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test

An Overview of the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test

An Overview of the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test | Spring Forth Dog Blog

Every September, the American Kennel Club sponsors Responsible Dog Ownership Days. On that note, I would like to discuss the Canine Good Citizen program, which rewards responsible dog owners across the country. As an approved AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator, I am often asked about the requirements for passing the test. What does it take to become a Canine Good Citizen?


First, the CGC test is open to dogs of any breed or mix of breeds. One of the most common misconceptions is that dogs must be purebred, since the test was created by the American Kennel Club, but that’s not the case. (Did you know that mixed-breed dogs can now compete in AKC performance events like agility, rally, and obedience, too? It’s true!)

There is no age limit for the CGC test. However, AKC now has a separate program just for puppies called S.T.A.R. Puppy. Puppies are eligible for S.T.A.R. until they reach 1 year of age.

Test Overview

The Canine Good Citizen test has ten exercises, and the dog must pass all ten to earn its certificate. The exercises include the following:

Accepting a friendly stranger. During this test item, the dog allows a stranger to approach its handler, and remains neutral while the handler and stranger exchange pleasantries.

Sitting politely for petting. The dog sits and allows a stranger to approach and pet its head and body. The dog can stand up, but may not show “shyness or resentment” (or jump up and give the stranger kisses, which is far more common!).

Appearance and grooming. The dog must appear healthy and well-groomed to pass the test. The evaluator will […]

By |2022-05-09T22:09:11+00:00September 29, 2016|Canine Good Citizen, Training|Comments Off on An Overview of the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test
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