What is the Canine Good Citizen Test?

 The Canine Good Citizen Test is a certification program run by the American Kennel Club. These are a collection of exercises. Their purpose is to evaluate whether a dog is well behaved and has good manners in public.  The test consists of ten challenges that a dog may pass or fail.

 All ten must be passed in order for the dog to be certified as a Good Canine Citizen.  Here is a summary of the challenges presented by the AKC’s Good Citizen Canine Test.  

Test One: Accepting A Friendly Stranger  The dog must allow a friendly stranger to approach and speak with its owner without showing fear aggression. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness.  

Test Two: Sitting Politely for Petting  The dog must sit quietly and allow a stranger to pet it. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness.  

Test Three: Appearance & Grooming  This practical test shows that the dog will accept being handled by a stranger, such as a veterinarian, groomer, or friend of the owner. A stranger inspects the dog, then combs and brushes it and lightly examines the ears and each front foot.  T

est Four: Out For A Walk  This test determines whether the dog walks politely on a leash. The owner must be in control and able to walk the dog without the dog pulling on the leash. There must be several turns and halts. The dog does not have to be line with the handler and does not have to sit when the handler stops. He must however act as the handler’s companion.  

Test Five: Walking Through A Crowd  This test demonstrates that the dog can walk politely around strange people in public places without pulling on the leash. The dog may show some interest in strangers, without being over exuberant, shy or resentful.  

Test Six: Sit & Down On Command/Staying In Place  This test demonstrates that the dog has training. The dog must be able to sit and lie down on command and be able to stay for a specified amount of time.  

Test Seven: Coming When Called  This test also requires some obedience training and demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler.

Test Eight: Reaction to Another Dog  This test is designed to determine if the dog is well behaved around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance, stop, shake hands, and exchange pleasantries, and continue. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other.

 Test Nine: Reaction to Distractions  This test demonstrates that the dog can cope with common distracting sights and sounds, such as a person hammering a nail into wood or a jogger running in front of the dog. The dog should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness or bark.  

Test 10: Supervised Separation  This is another test that requires some obedience training. It is designed to see if the dog will accept being left briefly with a stranger. The dog must remain with the stranger for three minutes  without pacing, panicking or trying to escape.  Source: American Kennel Club  Check your local chapter of the American Kennel Club to find out how you can get your own dog certified as a Good Canine Citizen.