What is the Canine Good Citizen Test and Can Your Dog Pass?

If you own a dog, then you know the challenges of trying to train your dog to be a good, adult dog. You want your dog to obey your commands, maybe perform a few tricks, but most of all, you want your dog to be a good canine citizen. What does this mean? It basically means, they have good doggie manners. When you are out and about in any public place with your pet, or even if you are just at home with company over, you want your dog to behave politely, similarly to how you would feel about your child. Although many people love dogs and love to greet them when they see them passing by, however, not everyone in this world is a “dog person,” or maybe they can take them or leave them. No matter how someone feels about dogs, you still want your dog to behave politely, and this extends into many different areas. That’s where the Canine Good Citizen Test comes in handy, and having your dog do well in this training class and receiving his Canine Good Citizen Test certificate really means quite a bit as a dog owner.

What is The Canine Good Citizen Test?

This test is special training your dog (and you) receive, above and beyond just basic obedience commands. Your dog will learn things like, how to behave when someone friendly approaches them, how to behave when being handled by groomers, plus much more. To have this accomplishment made by you and your dog, you will find that it will benefit you in many situations, for instance, when trying to get into a pet friendly hotel, this will be something that you will make you feel more confident, as well as the hotel management. Family and friends will feel relaxed and at ease being around your pup, knowing he has not only had this training, but especially if he successfully passed. Going to places like the dog park, or even just taking a walk down the street where you know other dogs often walk with their humans, will no longer be a nerve-wracking experience. Your dog will have good behaviors and manners that will give you more confidence in handling him. Here is what your dog will be learning in the CGC training program.

1. Accept friendly strangers

When friendly people approach you with your dog, you want them to recognize they are friendly. The idea is for your dog to stay calm and not react to their approach with either signs of “shyness or resentfulness.” Your dog should remain confident, not get overly excited, not cower or become possessive in any way. You should be able to greet people and know that your dog will allow you to, without having any negative reaction.

2. Accept petting politely

In the same manner, your dog’s reaction to being petted by friendly strangers should be welcoming and well-behaved. Your dog will be worked with on his attention manners. Dog people want to instinctively go up to a dog and pet them when they see one out and about, and how they receive attention should be met with the same attitude, remaining confident and friendly and not act with “shyness or resentfulness.”

3. Your dog’s appearance and grooming

Dogs are not necessarily as in tune with their appearance as a cat. Where a cat will typically keep themselves well-groomed, dogs rely more on their humans to keep them clean and groomed. However, it doesn’t mean they don’t look and feel better when they are kept well-groomed. If a dog is kept clean and regularly groomed, he will be more apt to trying to help groom himself, but more than that, he will be accustomed to people having their hands on them, bathing them, clipping nails, brushing them, and even opening their mouths to check their teeth and clean them. Your dog should be accepting of the grooming process and kept groomed so that he has a boost of confidence in how he looks and feels.

4. Walking on a loose lead

A well-behaved dog will be able to take walks on a loose lead without worry that he will take advantage of the slack and take-off after everything that catches his attention, or jump on people who pass by. Your dog should be able to walk with you and follow where you lead, making a left turn, right turn, and turn-about, following your lead no matter what the route you take without getting out of line or pulling on his lead.

5. Walk through crowds

There’s nothing more annoying or challenging, trying to handle a dog, big or small, in a crowd of people who is not well behaved and out of control. You should be able to maneuver through crowds, even in and out of stores, with your dog, and your dog stay calm, respectful and obedient. Working with your dog in situations like this will be part of the training process in order to receive the CGC certificate.

6. Sit and stay on command

Your dog needs good control over his excitement and desire to be right with you. If you were to give him the command to sit and stay until he is given the okay to come to you, or follow your next command, he should be able to comply willingly and easily. This is a basic obedience command and one that many dogs have a hard time mastering. The sitting part of the command is the easier of the two. Practicing routinely and consistently is key to getting your dog to sit, stay, and lay, when given the command, and waiting patiently until you release them from the command.

7. Come to you when you call

An obedient and well-behaved dog is one that will listen to his owner in any situation. Dogs are easily distracted and can get off in their own world quickly, ignoring you and everything around them, especially dogs who have a natural instinct to chase, hunt, or get engulfed in a scent they want to follow. When a dog loses focus and takes off, it can be hard to get them to listen to you and return. In order to pass this portion of the exam, your dog should be able to stop what he is doing and return to you when he’s called without hesitancy.

8. Meeting and greeting other dogs

When other dogs approach your dog, your pup should not react in any way but with a casual attitude. No aggression or over excitement. Your pup should remain in control whenever other dogs and humans approach and not show signs of jealousy, possessiveness, nervousness, or ill-intent. This can be practiced at dog parks and other public places where owners are typically seen with their dogs.

9. Distraction reactions

We all know that dogs have keen senses of hearing and man times will react to loud or distracting noises, whether it’s a nervous reaction, cowering, hiding, or shaking. Or maybe they bark loudly and incessantly. Or perhaps they stop listening to you when they get distracted by a noise. Your pup should be able to stay focused and not react to distractions of any kind, whether it be a motorcycle roaring past, an alarm, another dog barking or any type of distractive situation.

When your dog successfully passes all of the requirements, you will be rewarded with this title of having a good citizen canine and you will feel much more confident as a dog owner, in being able to go anywhere and everywhere with your dog and know that he will be well behaved and exhibit the best canine manners possible.


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