Your dog knows some basic obedience and you’re always telling your friends and family how well behaved your dog is… did you know you can certify your dog and have them prove they’re a good boy/girl by earning their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) credential?
The exam is one of many from the American Kennel Club which offers S.T.A.R. Puppy, Canine Good Citizen, Community Canine (CGC-A), and the Urban CGC (CGC-U) certifications.
The STAR Puppy certification is earned by attending all of your Puppy Kindergarten group classes and having your trainer sign off that you and your puppy have been able to accomplish the 20-part requirements. The evaluation takes place in our facility where group classes are held.
The requirements are simple and reflect that this is a Puppy certification. The 20-parts are broken into four categories: Owner behavior, Puppy behavior, and Pre-CGC behaviors. Food lures are allowed in the Pre-CGC test items and owner behaviors reflect being a responsible pet owner, like having their vaccines up to date which you need before even starting class!
The 20-part of the certification consists of the following…
- Maintain puppy’s health
- Owner receives the Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge
- Owner describes adequate daily play & exercise plan
- Owner & puppy attend at least 6 classes by an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator
- Owner brings bags to classes for cleaning up after puppy
- Owner has obtained some form of ID for puppy-collar tag, etc
- Free of aggression toward people during the classes
- Free of aggression toward other puppies in class
- Tolerates collar or body harness of owner’s choice
- Owner can hug or hold puppy
- Puppy allows owner to take away a treat or toy
- Allows (in any position) petting by a person other than the owner
- Grooming – allows owner handling & brief exam (ears, feet)
- Walks on a leash – Follows owner on lead in a straight line (15 steps)
- Walks by other people -Walks on leash past other people 5-ft away
- Sits on command -Owner may use food lure
- Down on command – Owner may use food lure
- Comes to owner from 5-ft when name is called
- Reaction to Distractions- distractions are presented 15-ft away
- Stay on a leash with another person (owner walks 10 steps & returns)
After graduating from your puppy classes, talk to your trainer about signing up to be evaluated for the STAR Puppy exam – it’s easy and a great way to start your dog’s training!
Passing this results in your puppy earning their name listed in the registry as having graduated, a ribbon, and a diploma!
The most well-known certification from the AKC is definitely the Canine Good Citizen! This 10-part exam requires more training than the STAR Puppy but shows off your bond and the training you and your dog have achieved together. To make it to this point, you can sign up for any number of training options going over basic obedience commands, from private lessons directly with your trainer to group classes, day school, or the board & train.
The 10-part exam consists of:
- Accepting a friendly stranger
- Sitting politely for petting
- Appearance and grooming
- Out for a walk
- Walking through a crowd
- Sit & down on command and staying in place
- Coming when called
- Reaction to another dog
- Reaction to distraction
- Supervised separation
The most important part is that you put the time with your dog to master the skill sets required. The exam takes place at our facility and you can ask your trainer if you and your dog are ready to test!
Passing this exam will result in your dog earning their CGC initials after their name, a ribbon & a diploma!
3. The Community Canine or CGCA
Once you’ve passed your CGC exam, you’re eligible to test for the Advanced CGC title. This can take place either at our facility or in an area designated by your trainer in our local community. This is another 10-part exam meant to test your dog in a more real-life situation than the CGC.
To prepare for this exam, we recommend private lessons out in the community, our outdoor adventure class (held seasonally), or day school with field trip requests.
The 10-part exam of the CGCA includes:
- Dog stands, sit, or lies down and waits under control while the owner
- sits at the registration table & fills out paperwork, or,
- if the test is done in the community, the dog waits while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with another person.
- Walks on a loose leash in a natural setting – does not pull
- left turn, right turn, stop, fast & slow pace
- Walks on a loose leash through a crowd
- Dog walks past distraction dogs present; does not pull.
- Can be tested alongside test item #3 if there are dogs in the crowd, etc
- Sit-stay in a small group (two other people with dogs, a total of 3 people, 3 dogs in a group).
- Dog allows person who is carrying something (backpack, computer bag, etc) to approach and pet it.
- “May I pet your dog?” (Item is placed on floor/ground before the person pets the dog)
- “Leave it.” Dog walks by food & follows the owner’s instructions, “Leave it.”
- Down or sit stay – distance (owner’s choice).
- Dog is on a 20-ft line, the owner walks away with back to the dog, picks up an item
- Recall with distractions present (coming when called). Handler goes out 20-ft. off-center from dog and calls them. Dog is on the 20-ft. line from test item #8.
- Dog will sit or stand stay (owner’s choice) while owner enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway. Owner calls the dog through the door when ready.
Passing this exam will earn your dog the initials CGCA after their name, a ribbon and a diploma!
The final CGC certification is the Urban CGC or CGCU, this test can only be done out in the community and not in our facility as this tests dogs in city environments.
To prepare for this test, we recommend private lessons out in the community, our seasonal outdoor adventure class, or our day school option with field trips.
The 10-step test items are:
- Exit/enter doorway with no pulling in dog-friendly buildings. Exit building to start test, additional Public buildings items are below.
- Walk through a crowd on a busy urban sidewalk.
- Appropriate reaction to city distractions. This includes movement, noises, and walking on a variety of surfaces.
- Crossing street: Stop at corner, stand or sit to wait and cross with no pulling (on leash, with owner). Crosses street under control.
- Ignore food on sidewalk. (Dropped food, or cups, bags, cans, in which food was wrapped).
- Person walks up and pets the dog. May be carrying an item such as a small dog in a bag, a computer bag, etc. Person does not put the bag down to pet the dog.
- Public Building (that is dog friendly). Walks under control in building (slick surface, carpeted floor). Down stay (3 min) in lobby or outdoor area, or waits while owner has a meal or snack.
- Stairs, steps, or elevator under control.
- House-trained for apartment, condo, city living. Owner may verify this item. Evaluator may also observe in public buildings, or have observed in training classes.
- Transportation. Owner’s choice depending on transportation needs.
- Car. Enters/exits, remains under control during the ride. (Crate? Seatbelt?)
- Subway. Small dog in bag for ride. (large dogs are not always permitted; know and abide by the Transit Policies in your area).
- Dog friendly (enters/exits or allows to be put in/taken out) under control.
Passing this test results in your dogs earning the CGCU credentials after their name, a ribbon and a diploma!
Can you and your dog get them all? If yes, then we’re here to help. 🙂
Text our trainer team today at 786-933-4474 and we’d be happy to chat live with you about your dog and training goals.
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We are South Florida’s most established reward-based dog training company since 2006. Veterinarian recommended. Certified Professionals Dog Trainers in Miami, Florida.