Is your dog a good member of the family, a good neighbor and a good member of society in general? The American Kennel Club has a wonderful program that will show everyone that your dog is all of the above. It's call the Canine Good Citizen program and it's open to all dogs regardless of age, size or breed. Your dog can be a registered pedigreed member of a known breed or he can be a mixture of many breeds whose parents are unknown. It doesn't matter.
The program is meant to recognize dogs that have good manners at home and in the community.
There is a test that consists of ten parts.
The program is the first step for those planning to go on to become therapy partners and is often used as a first step toward other activities such as Rally, Obedience and Agility.
Test # 1: Accepting a friendly stranger.
The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness and must must not try to go to the evaluator.
Test #2: Sitting Politely For Petting.
This demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while out with it's handler.
Test #3: Appearance and Grooming
This demonstrates that the dog will permit someone to groom or examine it.
Test #4: Walking On A Loose Lead
Demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog.
Test #5: Walking Though A Crowd
This demonstrates that the dog can move politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places.
Test #6: Sit and Down on Command and Staying in Place
This demonstrates that the dog will respond to the handler's commands.
Test #7: Coming When Called
Demonstrates that the dog will come when called.
Test #8: Reaction to Another Dog
This demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs.
Test #9: Reaction to Distraction
This demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. These could be dropping a crutch or cane, a jogger running by, a wheel chair etc.
Test #10: Supervised Separation
This demonstrates that the dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and maintain good manners.
All tests are done on leash and you, the handler, can talk to your dog and offer encouragement throughout the tests.
If you and your dog pass all ten tests you'll receive a certificate and your dog will be able to use the initials CGC after his name. It tells everyone that he is a canine good citizen and a welcome member of society.
To learn more about the CGC program and full details about each step of the tests, go to the AKC web site. You and your dog working together can show everyone what good citizens you are. There are also comparable programs available in other countries.