AKC Canine Good Citizen

AKC Canine Good Citizen

To inquire about the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test:

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The AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program is the gold standard of behavior for dogs in our communities. Almost one million dogs, both purebred and mixed breed, have participated in the program since it began in 1989.

Canine Good Citizen is part of the AKC Family Dog Program and many dog owners choose CGC as their first step in training their dogs. It also provides a great foundation for getting started in dog sports.

As you work with your dog to teach the CGC skills, you’ll discover the many benefits and joys of training. You’ll enhance your bond with your dog, and dogs with basic obedience training are a joy to live with—interacting well with other people and dogs and responding well to household routines.

The CGC program offers many practical advantages too. The CGC award is a prerequisite for many therapy dog groups. Some homeowner’s insurance companies encourage CGC testing, and an increasing number of apartments and condos require that resident dogs pass the CGC test. The tagline of the CGC program is, “Responsible Owners, Well-Mannered Dogs,” and that is what CGC is all about.

Paperwork And Guides

The Canine Good Citizen Test

The heart of the CGC program is the 10-step Canine Good Citizen test. At the beginning of the CGC test, handlers sign the Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge before taking their dogs through the 10 step test with an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator.


CGC-Ready is how the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program is implemented in settings where staff or volunteer trainers train dogs either 1) for their existing owners, or 2) or to prepare them for adoption.

The CGC-Ready program applies when CGC training is provided in settings and agencies such as:

Rescue organizations (including all of AKC’s breed rescue)
Prison based dog training programs
Service dog trainers
Dog daycare
Boarding kennels with Board & Train programs


Dogs are trained by trainers (staff or volunteers).
In daycare or boarding settings, when dog is ready, owners take a lesson, then take the dog through the CGC test.
In adoption oriented settings, dogs can be advertised as, “If you adopt me, I am ready to take the CGC test with you.” You can display our sample kennel card. Adopters take dogs through the test at adoption.
Owners are given CGC paperwork to send to AKC. Agencies may choose to cover the cost of the certificate.


Sample Kennel Card:  Print and fill out for dogs up for adoption!

CGC Test Items

The Canine Good Citizen Program teaches good manners to dogs and responsible dog ownership to their owners. The 10-step CGC test is a non-competitive test for all dogs, including purebreds and mixed breeds. It is a prerequisite for many therapy dog groups and some homeowner’s insurance companies encourage CGC testing. There are also an increasing number of apartments and condos that require resident dogs to pass the CGC test.

Before taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. We believe that responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept and by signing the pledge, owners agree to take care of their dog’s health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their /dog-owners/responsible-dog-ownership/dogs in public places and never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others.


Test 1: Accepting a Friendly Stranger. The dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach and speak to the handler (the dog owner) in a natural, everyday situation.

Test 2: Sit Politely for Petting.  The dog will allow a friendly stranger to pet it while it is out with the handler.

Test 3: Appearance and Grooming. The dog will permit someone to check its ears and front feet, as a groomer or veterinarian would do.

Test 4: Out for a Walk (walking on a loose lead). Following the evaluator’s instructions, the dog will walk on a loose lead (with the handler/owner).

Test 5: Walking Through a Crowd. The dog will walk through a small crowd of pedestrians, passing in close proximity to at least three people.

Test 6: Sit and Down on Command and Stay in Place. The dog must demonstrate sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay.

Test 7: Coming When Called.  The dog will come when called by the handler (from 10 feet away on leash).

Test 8: Reaction to Another Dog. The dog will behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries.

Test 9: Reaction to Distractions. The evaluator will select and present two distractions such as dropping a chair, etc.

Test 10: Supervised Separation. This test demonstrates that your dog can be left with a trusted person. The evaluator will hold your dog’s leash while you go out of sight for three minutes.


Learn more about and watch videos of the 10 test items. Once your dog passes the CGC test, you’ll be able to select one of these two choices:

CGC as a Title. Get the official AKC CGC title for your dog. The processing fee is $20. You will receive the CGC certificate, be able to use the suffix “CGC” after your dog’s name, and CGC will be added to your dog’s title record.To get the official AKC title, your dog must be registered or listed with the AKC (and have a number of one of these three types: AKC number, PAL, or AKC Canine Partners). This is because to create titles, we attach them to the dog’s number.

CGC certificate only. Get a CGC certificate only without the official AKC CGC title. The processing fee is $10. CGC will not be added to your dog’s title record.


Who Can Participate?


Both purebred and mixed breed dogs are welcome, and there is no age limit. AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program is the next logical step after AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, but AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is not  required prerequisite for CGC. Owners who have trained their dogs themselves may also find an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator and take the CGC test.

Exceptions: If the CGC test is given at an AKC show, the age requirements for the show apply to CGC also. Further, when the CGC test is administered at an AKC show, the test may be restricted to only dogs entered in the show or to purebred dogs.



Training and Testing


To prepare for and participate in the CGC Program, start by contacting Lisa Allan, ABCDT, an approved CGC Evaluator. You also might want to purchase the Official Book of the CGC, Citizen Canine.



After CGC


There’s nothing better than a well-trained dog. Canine Good Citizen training will make your dog a joy to live with, and it will provide your dog with intellectual stimulation and a high quality of life. Canine Good Citizen training provides a solid foundation for all other training. After CGC, your dog can move on to more advanced training for sports and events such as AKC Community Canine (advanced CGC), Urban CGC, therapy dog, tricks, obedience, agility, tracking, and other fun performance events. Learn more about the next steps in training.


After CGC: What’s Next?

A well-trained dog is a joy to live with, and the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program is a great first step in providing your dog with a solid foundation of basic training skills and intellectual stimulation. When you complete CGC training, you will have a canine companion who responds to core commands such as sit and down and who remains under good control on a leash.

While this is a fabulous beginning, we strongly encourage owners to continue training beyond CGC in order to develop off-leash control, increase the dog’s reliability, and to further enhance the bond that has been built during CGC training. There are many other AKC activities that are rewarding, enriching and fun for you and your dog.

After CGC, be sure to consider:

AKC Family Dog Program

After Canine Good Citizen, a core part of the AKC Family Dog Program, many dog owners choose to participate in the advanced levels of the CGC program: AKC Community Canine and AKC Urban Canine Good Citizen.

AKC Community Canine (CGCA) is all about having a well-behaved dog in the community. Whereas Canine Good Citizen tests are most often tested in a simulated environment at a training facility or in a ring. The 10-step AKC Community Canine test is conducted in real life situations, which can include walking through a crowd on a busy sidewalk or in a local park.
AKC Urban Canine Good Citizen (CGCU) requires that the dog demonstrate CGC skills and beyond in an urban setting. As with Canine Good Citizen, AKC Urban CGC has a 10-step test of skills that dogs must pass to earn the official AKC Urban CGC title, but it is administered in a place where there are cars, streets to be crossed, noises, and distraction

The CGC award is a prerequisite for many therapy dog organizations. Once dogs are certified by one of these qualified organizations, they are eligible to enroll in the AKC Therapy Dog Program and apply for AKC Therapy Dog titles.

Trick dog training is a great way to provide dogs with physical and mental exercise. From basic tricks such a high five to more advanced tricks such jumping in their owner’s arms, this fun activity shows that every dog can learn something new. CGC provides great preparation to get started with AKC Trick Dog. Plus, by earning the CGC title first, dogs only have to perform 5 tricks from the Novice checklist to earn an AKC Novice Trick Dog title. This is often called “CGC + 5.”

AKC Sports

Canine Good Citizen also provides a great foundation for getting started in dog sports. The basic skills and teamwork gained through CGC are easily translatable across a multitude of AKC sports, including:

Scent Work
Performance Events

In order for your dog to earn a CGC title (in addition to a CGC certificate) and titles in other AKC activities and sports, you’ll need to get an AKC number.
An AKC number can be one of four times types:

AKC Registration Number – listed on a dog’s AKC registration certificate for all AKC registered breeds
AKC Canine Partners Number – for mixed breed dogs or a purebred dogs otherwise not eligible for AKC registration
Purebred Alternative Listing Number (PAL) – If a dog is an AKC-recognized breed, but the owner doesn’t have their AKC registration papers, they can apply for a PAL number.
Foundation Stock Service® (FSS) Number – for breeds whose status is currently in the foundational stage of being recognized by AKC

Learn more about how to obtain an AKC number for your dog.

We hope you take the next step in training and enjoy a lifetime of fun and engaging activities with your dog through the AKC.


How do I get a certificate?

When the CGC Program started, certificates were hand-written and issued by the evaluator at the CGC test. As a result of on-going requests from many participants and evaluators, in April, 2001, the AKC began issuing the certificates.

At the CGC test, owners should be given 2 parts of a three-part test form. On the form, owners are instructed to send in one copy of the test form with the recording fee of $8.00 or $20 for the CGC title to receive the certificate. Owners may choose to not purchase a certificate and to use the copy of their test results as proof of passing the CGC test. Certificates take 4-6 weeks for processing and printing. The high-quality certificate has the same format as other AKC certificates and the CGC logo is embossed in gold at the bottom. The new official CGC certificate is very attractive and is suitable for framing.


At this time, there is no expiration on CGC certificates, however, because behavior can change over time, we encourge owners to have their dogs retested every few years. When the CGC award is used as one of the requirements for therapy dog work, admission to a dog park, insurance, etc. these agencies will most often require that the dog will have passed the CGC test within the last 2 years.