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Canine Good Citizen

Good Dogs Even Better

The AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program is designed to recognize dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. This program stresses responsible dog ownership for owners and basic training and good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10 step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club.

Students will receive a certificate of completion after successfully passing their CGC test. They may order their official American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certificate or other CGC memorabilia from akc.org at an additional cost.


Dogs must be 6 months of age or older and have had their full series of veterinary recommended vaccines to attend the group classes. Vaccines must be administered by a licensed professional or a state public health recognized provider.

These group classes are designed to help teams learn basic obedience that will equip you with the tools you will need in order to understand your dog, and how to successfully communicate your needs in order to help your dog gain what they want or need in life.


Things you and your dog will learn include:

  • Canine body language

  • How dogs learn

  • Techniques on getting the behaviors you want by using positive reinforcement methods 

  • Impulse control during greetings

  • Desensitization to being handled and groomed

  • Sit command

  • Down command

  • Stay command

  • Loose leash walking

  • Reaction to distraction (other dog, noise, crowd)

  • Recall (come when called)

  • Separation

  • Level of distractions

  • Level of rewards

Please be aware that these classes are not designed to provide behavior modification such as reactive or aggressive dogs, overly fearful dogs or other problem behaviors.

The CGC TEST consists of 10 skills needed by all well-mannered dogs.

All dogs who pass the 10 step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club. All of the exercises are done on a leash.

  • Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger 

    The dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach them and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. 

  • Test 2: Sitting politely for petting 

    The dog will allow a friendly stranger to pet them while they are out with their handler.

  • Test 3: Appearance and grooming 

    The dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so.

  • Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead) 

    The handler/dog team will take a short “walk” to show that the dog is in control while walking on a leash. 

  • Test 5: Walking through a crowd 

    The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three) to demonstrate that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. 

  • Test 6: Sit and down on command and staying in place

    The dog will respond to the handler’s commands to 1) sit, 2) down and will 3) remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). 

  • Test 7: Coming when called 

    The dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. 

  • Test 8: Reaction to another dog 

    To demonstrate that the dog can behave politely around other dogs, two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. 

  • Test 9: Reaction to distraction 

    To demonstrate the dog is confident when faced with common distracting situations, the evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane.

  • Test 10: Supervised separation

    This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes.


“I appreciate all the encouragement you gave to Agua and all the training I received on how to work with her. The classes that we took really deepened our relationship and communication. I am so proud of how far she has come.” -Devora Gonzalez

How much does it cost?

Available Classes Register for Canine Good Citizen

Register here!

Available Canine Good Citizen Testing Register for the Canine Good Citizen Test

Upcoming Canine Good Citizen Test Dates:

Friday, February 17th, 2023 times available between 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.  

Friday, June 16th, 2023 times available between 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. 

Register here!

Where are the HSSA Classrooms?

If you are visiting HSSA's Education Department, you will want to go to the coral Education building.

Location Map - Main Campus Locations - Education