What Is the Canine Good Citizen Test?
If you are looking for a guide on how to train your dog for the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test, then you must want your pet to become an exemplary role model of how dogs should behave in public.
The American Kennel Club CGC test started in 1989 with the primary goal of rewarding dogs that are capable of exhibiting great manners both at home and in the community.
If you want to turn your pet into a great example for society or you are planning to train him to become a therapy dog, the CGC test is a must. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to train your canine for the test so that you can increase his/her chances of passing.
Test 1: Accepting a Friendly Stranger
A friendly stranger will approach and speak to you, just as it would happen in a normal everyday scenario. The stranger will ignore your dog and greet you with a handshake and a verbal “hello.”
Your dog should remain calm and stay beside you. He should not show any signs of resentment or shyness.
How to Train for It
- Start in a room with few distractions, and have your dog on a leash standing next to you.
- Then, walk him around the room and slowly come to a stop, making sure that he is beside you the whole time.
- Tell your dog to sit, and praise and reward him.
- Repeat this process and ask for a sit every time you stop. Do this several times until your dog can anticipate the command and sit automatically when you stop.
- Next, start adding duration. This means that your pet will be sitting for longer periods of time. Praise and reward him after waiting for two seconds, then five seconds, then 10 seconds, then 30 seconds, then a full minute, and so forth. (Gradually build duration, but randomly mix in shorter time periods.) You may use a “stay” cue if you want.
- Next, have a family member enter the room while you’re walking. As the family member approaches, stop. Your dog should sit automatically. If he doesn’t sit right away, you can cue it by verbally asking him to sit right before you shake hands. Praise and reward him for sitting calmly.
- Next, invite over a friend and practice the same scenario.
- Further progress by practicing the same scenario in the yard. Have a small party and invite several friends. Have your dog practice sitting while you shake hands. Do this with all types of friends—seniors, children, women, men, friends wearing hats, etc.
- During the final training phase, practice on your sidewalk. Then, repeat the same scenario in areas with more distractions, such as a high-traffic walking path, the store, or the park.