Ahh.. Canine Good Citizen or CGC as it’s most commonly known as. The CGC is an award that only well mannered dogs recieve. Any dog can take the test, but they won’t pass unless they have some training in basic manners. CGC canidates can take a class if they so choose and then take the test at the end of the class. Taking a class for basic obedience is usually required in some areas before you can take the CGC class.
So why would you bother to have a CGC title awarded to your dog? Simple, it’s a great feeling to know that you trained your dog to be well behaved in human society. Plus, you don’t have to worry about how your dog will react in public around strangers. On the other hand, if you want your dog to work for a living, then it is recommended and most often required that you and your dog pass the CGC test before getting a working license. For example, if you have a seizure alert dog, you wouldn’t want him/her to lunge and pull on the leash in the middle of shopping in a store! Therefor, it’s important that the dog has good manners beyond that of basic obedience.
So how does it work you ask? Well, find a training facility in your area that offers CGC classes. Some PETCO stores offer the class. In the class you will learn how to teach a dog to reliably perform the behaviors tested in the AKC CGC Test, including:
Accepting a friendly stanger
Sitting politely for petting
Appearance and grooming
Out for a walk
Walking through a crowd
Sit and Down on command/stay in place
Coming when called
Reaction to another dog
Reaction to distractions
Once you and your dog complete the class, you’ll understand how to better train your dog and (if you worked hard throughout the class) have a reliably controlable dog. You’ll then be given a test by a certified AKC CGC Evaluator. If you pass the test, your dog will be rewarded with the title of Canine Good Citizen. You will also recieve a diploma or certificate to prove you passed the test.
On the first day of class, you must bring proof of payment for the course and proof of current rabies vaccination.
Different Evaluators will teach the class in different ways. Make sure you pick a class that is going to be gentle and positive. Clicker training or Lewer and Reward are the prefered methods of training for teaching a dog commands. They are positive and fun for you and your dog.
To become a AKC CGC Evaluator, you have to have at least two years of training experience. Being a member of a well established training club such as NADOI doesn’t hurt either. The NADOI or Nation Association of Dog Obedience Instructors requires you to have seven years of training experience to join. Check with the training facility to learn more about the Evaluator’s training experience. If he or she is a member of NADOI, you know they have been doing it for at least seven years. I am in the process of applying for the title of AKC CGC Evaluator.. hopefully my application will be accepted. If it is, I will have to take and pass a test.
So don’t think that anyone can be an AKC CGC Evaluator, because it’s simply not true. As I’ve said, you have to know your stuff when it comes to training dogs.
If you have an out of control dog, even after a basic obedience class, then I strongly recommend taking the CGC class. It will help you to refine your dog and teach him/her better manners. Even if you just love working with your dog, this will present a challenge, build your bond, and give you a goal to achieve with your pooch.