Does Your Dog Have It’s Canine Good Citizen Certification?


female pit bull terrier

Gracie – one cool dog!

He said,  “Mom, people are afraid of her because of her ears.  It’s not fair. She’s a cool dog.”

She said:  “There’s no way I’d ever have one of those dogs. You’re going to keep her in your backyard, right?”
I said:       “Actually, we’re going to put a CGC on her.”
She said:   “What’s that?”

Canine Good Citizen Certification: established in 1989 by the American Kennel Club to promote responsible dog ownership and to encourage the training of well-mannered dogs. A dog and human partner work together in order to take a 30 minute behavioral evaluation. Dogs who pass receive a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate.  (And you can get a really cool dog tag with the initials CGC on it for your dog’s collar!)

There are ten objectives and all ten must be completed satisfactorily or the team fails.
1.   Accepting a friendly stranger
2.   Sitting politely for petting
3.   Allowing basic grooming procedures
4.   Walking on a loose leash
5.   Walking through a crowd
6.   Sitting and lying down on command and staying in place
7.   Coming when called
8.   Reacting appropriately to another dog
9.    Reacting appropriately to distractions
10.  Calmly enduring supervised separation from the owner

The only part of this CGC description that I disagree with is the fact that “the team fails” if the dog doesn’t pass all ten of the listed objectives. Working towards this certification is a winning formula for dogs and their humans.  You deepen your relationship with your dog,  learn about dog behavior, figure out your own dog and learn about yourself all at the same time. How can any of that be looked at as failing?  The plain and simple truth is that you will fail miserably if your attitude sucks. I hope that’s not true but I thought it might get your attention.  Because I’d like to invite you to join me us.

But. I  have to warn you. we have a head start.

We already know that Gracie can do almost everything on that list because she had to pass a behavioral evaluation out at Lollypop Farm before she was put up for adoption. She passed that one with a rainbow of flying colors!

There are a few things on this list that we’ll be working on with Gracie and that’s where you come in with your canine companion. We’d love to partner up with you here on Healing Rescue Dogs or on our Happy Dog Tails community Facebook page. We’ll keep you posted about what we’re doing each week as we get ready to take our Canine Good Citizen’s evaluation. Part of that process is starting and finishing a basic obedience class that we’ve already enrolled in.  (We signed up for a 6 week class out at Lollypop Farm that starts on May 7th.) So, we’ll be hard at work for a while.

If you’re up for our challenge, here’s what you need to do next.  Find an obedience class in your area that focuses on positive reinforcement methods. Ask if you can come and watch a few on-going classes before you sign up. Talk with the instructors about your goals. Ask them if their dogs have their CGC certifications.  Do your own research about the Canine Good Citizen evaluation so that you get the big picture of what this means.  And decide how you’re going to fit the time it takes to prepare for this into your schedule.  Think it might be too much to take on? Stick around. We’ll shoe you that it’s not as hard as you may be thinking it is.

Find us over on Happy Dog Tails and join our “CGC Awareness Campaign.”  You can post photos of your dogs and tell your CGC stories. Together we can all learn from each other, have fun with our dogs and make a difference so that we never again hear someone say about any dog, “… you’re going to keep it in your back yard, right?”

PS  Come to Facebook and let me know what you think!

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