The Canine Good Citizen Test

Man with Dog

Meadowlake and BYOD went over was the Canine Good Citizen test last month at our Educational Pawty. The CGC certification will build a better bond with your dog and provides intellectual stimulation for your pups. It’s also a prerequisite for many therapy dog groups and makes a great starting point for training dogs. 

Here are the subjects of the test, why they’re important and what they look like to pass.

1. Accepting a friendly stranger.

Shih Tzu

Dogs are social creatures like we are, but they can also be territorial. If you want to bring your dog out anywhere to socialize with humans, the dog has to have trust in you as their owner about other people.

What this step looks like for passing is a friendly stranger will be able to approach you and easily speak with you without your dog interrupting.

2. Sitting politely for petting.

Fellow dog lovers jump at the opportunity to meet another dog, and a part of forming furiendships is giving a good pet.

Passing means a friendly stranger can give a good pat or scratch while you’re with your dog.

3. Allowing basic grooming.

All dogs need to be groomed, whether its by you or a professional. There are lot of dogs out there though that jump, cringe, bark, etc. when it comes to pampering.

A passing student will be able check its ears and front paws like a groomer or a veterinarian would do.

4. Walking on a loose leash.

Many dog owners walk out with their dogs on tense leashes, but the tension can encourage them to jerk you.

A CGC dog will be able to walk with you on a loose leash and follow your lead.

5. Walking through a crowd on a loose leash.

Bringing your dog to social events can be fun, but if they are constantly yanking you towards to distractions, it can a frustrating nightmare.

To pass, your dog must walk on a loose lead while several pedestrians (and maybe other dogs) pass by, without tugging you.

6. Sitting and laying down on command and staying in place.

Sitting, laying down and staying are some of the most basic commands, but they’re underappreciated. These three tricks are valuable when it comes to situations like answering your front door.

This part can be a bit of a challenge. Your dog must be able to sit and stay where they are while you walk away, and you have to repeat the process with your dog laying down on the floor.

7. Come when called.

Getting your dog to respond to its name isn’t too hard, but what can be difficult is getting your dog to come to you when called.

The instructor will have you stand about ten feet from your dog, usually after the sit and stay portion, and have you call the dog. If your dog does, he/she passes!

8. Reacting appropriately to another dog.

Making new furiends is a great experience for owners and dogs, but not every dog is a social butterfly.

For this part of the test, two handlers will approach from about 20 feet, stop and have small talk. A star-student dog will politely behave.

9. Reacting appropriately to distractions.

Squirrel! The world is full of distractions, especially for dogs with great hearing and sense of smell.

The CGC tester will give your dog two distractions, e.g. dropping a chair, and your dog will need to reaction appropriately to pass.

10. Calmly enduring supervised separation from the owner.

As unfortunate as it is, we cannot bring our dogs everywhere. Whether it’s to work or vacation or simple errands, your dog needs to be able to say goodbye.

Passing this portion means your dog will be polite as you hand your dog’s leash to the instructor. While doing this, you will need to walk away and be out of sight for about three minutes. 

Meadowlake is taking BYOD Members’ interest in the CGC under their wing, and you can reach out to them to training to prep for the test. If you want to ace it, crack open those books!


For more information about the CGC, click here. For more information about Meadowlake, click here.

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