AKC Canine Good Citizen Exam
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a program where you and your dog go through a set of 10 tasks under a controlled environment with trained testers. If the two of you pass your dog is awarded certification as a Canine Good Citizen. This certification can be added to the official name of your dog. It is required by some service dog programs. You can find out more here (AKC Org)
Here is a quick overview of the tasks that make up the exam.
1. Could a friendly stranger to approach you and your dog without a fuss?
This test requires that the dog starts in the sitting position and does not show signs of anger or resentment or shyness. The Tester will approach, say Hello and shake hands with the dog handler. The dog must not jump on or rush toward the stranger. The dog must be under control at all times without excessive commands or physical restraint by the handler.
2. Does your dog allow someone they don’t know to pet them if you okay it?
- The dog must show no signs of shyness or resentment.. The dog may stand to receive petting.
- The dog may not struggle and pull away to avoid petting.
- The dog may move slightly forward to receive petting, but should not lunge at the Evaluator or rush or jump forward.
- The dog may appear to be happy about the contact with the Evaluator and may have some body movements.
- The dog should appear to be under control throughout the exercise.
3. Will your dog permit someone to check it’s ears and front feet, as a groomer or veterinarian would do?
The Evaluator will softly comb or brush the dog and, in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot.
- the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.
- When the feet are to be handled, the Evaluator may request that the handler lift each leg.
- The Evaluator may request that the handler steady the dog’s head for checking the ears.
- Any dog requiring restraining so it can be examined should not pass the test.
- Some squirming is acceptable, however, this should not be so excessive that the dog cannot be brushed.
- The dog should not struggle (pull away with intensity) to avoid the brushing.
4. Can you easily take your dog for a walk on a loose leash?
The Evaluator may use a preplanned course or may direct the handler by calling out instructions (e.g., “right turn”). Whichever format is used, there must be a right turn, left turn, and about turn, with at least one stop in between and one at the end.
- The handler may talk to the dog throughout the “walk” to encourage it and may give praise. The handler may also give the dog a command to sit at the stop, if desired.
- The dog’s position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler’s movements and changes of direction.
- The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit at the stops.
- The dog should not be constantly straining at the leash so that the leash is pulled tight. The
Evaluator may instruct the handler to loosen (put more slack in) the leash. An occasional
tight leash may be permitted.
- Excessive sniffing of the floor or ground, such that the dog will not walk along with the
owner, should result in the dog not passing the test.
- If the dog is totally inattentive to the handler (e.g., does not change directions), it should
not be passed
5. Can your dog handle a crowd of people without making a fuss?
During this test, the dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three).
- In this test, the dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over exuberance, shyness or resentment.
- The dog may show mild interest in members of the crowd. The dog may sniff a person in the crowd briefly but must move on promptly.
- The dog may not jump on people in the crowd or attempt to go to them.
- The dog should not be straining at the leash.
- The dog should not be trying to hide behind the handler.
6. Can your dog sit AND down on command? Can they stay on command?
7. Will your dog come when called (your dog will be 10 feet away on a leash)?
The dog handler goes 10 feet down the long leash. The Examiner can help the dog stay during while this is happening. This is not a stay exam. The text is over when the dog comes and the handler puts their own leash on the dog.
- Dogs who attempt to follow the handler may pass the test. The Evaluator should distract the dog. The test begins when the handler calls the dog.
- The handler can bend down to call the dog, pat his or her legs, and make encouraging sounds.
- Handlers may call the dog more than once (two or three attempts) but if many, repeated prompts are required, the dog should not be passed.
- Dogs should not be passed if handlers have used the long line to “reel in” the dog. Dogs should come on their own when called. The Evaluator who sees that a handler is starting to reel the dog in may stop the exercise, give instructions to the handler, and start over.
(Source: http://DogsAllTheTime.com/AKC-CGC-Manual )
8. Will your fur-child behave politely around other dogs?
Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 15 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on.
- The dog should show no more than a casual interest in the distraction dog. If the dog attempts to go to or jump on the distraction dog, it should not pass the test.
- The dog may move slightly toward the other dog/handler, then stop. The dog must stay back from the other dog/handler.
- The dog can stretch its neck and sniff without moving forward to the other dog/handler.
- When the handlers stop to shake hands, the dog does not have to sit. It can remain standing beside the handler. If the dog remains standing, it should not cross over in front of the handler to go to the other dog.
- The conversation between the handlers can be brief, “Hi, good to see you again. Give me a call sometime.”
- As the handler leaves, if the dog turns around and begins pulling as if to follow the other dog/handler, the dog should not pass the test.
- If the distraction dog causes a disruption, there can be a retest with another distraction dog.
(Source: http://DogsAllTheTime.com/AKC-CGC-Manual )
9. Can your dog handle a distraction like a chair being dropped?
The Evaluator will select two distracters – one a fairly loud noise and one a moving person or bike rider.
One of these – A person using crutches, a wheelchair, or a walker (5 ft. away). or a jogger passing in front of the dog, a bicycle (no closer than 10 feet) or someone pushing a cart or crate dolly (no closer than 5 feet).
And one of these – A sudden opening or closing of a door, Dropping a pan, folded chair, etc. no closer than 5 ft. from the dog.
- The dog may show casual interest and may appear slightly startled. The dog may jump slightly but should not panic and pull at the leash to get away.
- The dog may attempt to walk forward slightly to investigate the distracter.
- Dogs who become so frightened that they urinate (or defecate) should not pass.
- Dogs who growl or lunge at the distracter should not pass.
- An isolated (one) bark is acceptable. Dogs who continue to bark at the distracter should not pass.
- Handlers may talk to dogs and give encouragement and praise throughout the test. Dogs may be given instructions by the handler (“Sit good boy..watch me”)
10. Will you dog stay with a trusted person for a few minutes without a fuss?
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. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, “there, there, it’s alright”)
- The dog does not have to stay in position.
- If the dog continually barks, whines, or howls, it should not be passed.
- The dog should not pace unnecessarily, should not show signs of agitation.
- A dog that simply walks back and forth and looks for the handler is passed. There should be no signs of extreme stress, including panting, breathing hard, etc.
- If a dog begins to look very upset or distressed (barking, whining, panting, pacing, pulling), the test should be terminated.
- If the Evaluator is sitting in a chair and a small dog tries to climb into
the Evaluator’s lap, the Evaluator should stand up.
- If a dog pulls on its leash (trying to get away) it should not be passed.
- Any dog that urinates or defecates during testing should not be passed.
The exception to this is in Test 10 when the test is outdoors, or between exercises (e.g., the dog urinates on a bush while being walked to the next test station). Dogs should not stop to relieve themselves while they are working with the handler in the exercises.
CAN YOU AND YOUR FUR_CHILD PASS?
When you can pass all 10 of these tasks, you have a great chance of being able to have your fur-child officially recognized by the AKC as a “Canine Good Citizen.”
TAKE THE QUIZ
QUIZ – We have this same material in the form of a 10 question quiz. You can use that to ask yourself about each task. “Can my dog and I do THAT?” Here is a link to the Canine Good Citizen Quis
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