If you are considering making your dog a service dog, one great place to start is the Canine Good Citizen Test (CGC). This is a test that will demonstrate that your dog is well behaved within society.
Many organizations require your dog to pass this certification to become eligible for service or therapy dog status. Whether or not you plan to make your dog into a service dog, the following 10 items are great things to train your dog in. We should all want our dogs to be respectful and maintain their manners in public! I know I do!
The following information was obtained from the American Kennel Club (AKC).
According to the AKC, an owner is required to sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, prior to taking the test. This is a pledge in which owners agree to take care of their dog's safety, training, exercise, quality of life, and health needs. Owners agree to be responsible by cleaning up after their dogs and never allowing them to impose on the others within the public. Again, these are all things we should strive to do as dog owners!
The test consists of 10 items that must be passed in order to become a Canine Good Citizen.
Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test:
1) Accepting a friendly stranger.
The dog will allow a stranger to approach and speak to the handler. The dog must show no sign of shyness or resentment, and must not break position as the handler greets and shakes hands with the evaluator.
2) Sitting politely for petting.
The dog must not show shyness or resentment as the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to the dog throughout the exercise. The dog will sit or stand at the handler's side.
3) Appearance & grooming.
This test proves that the dog will be comfortable being examined, touched, and brushed (as a veterinarian, friend, or groomer may do). The evaluator will inspect the dog to see s/he is clean, groomed, and in a healthy condition. The handler will supply the brush normally used to groom the dog. The evaluator will lightly examine the ears, softly brush the dog, and pick up each front foot of the dog. The dog is not required to hold a specific position during the exam. The handler may talk to the dog or give encouragement and praise.
4) Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead).
This test demonstrates that the owner/ handler is in control of the dog. The dog should remain attentive and responsive to the handler and the handler's movements. The dog may be on either side of the handler and is not required to sit when the handler stops. Evaluators usually use a pre-plotted course. The course will consist of a right & left turn, an about turn, and at least on stop in between and one stop at the end. The handler may give commands and ask the dog to sit at the stops if desired.
5) Walking through a crowd.
This test will demonstrate that the dog can move through pedestrian traffic and remains under control in public places. The handler walks the dog past at least three people. The dog may show a little interest in the strangers but must continue to walk with the handler. The dog should not strain on the leash or jump on people.
6) Sit & down on command and Staying in place.
This test demonstrates that the dog has been trained and will respond to the handler's commands. The dog must Sit and Down on command, then the owner may choose the position to leave the dog in the Stay (Sit-Stay or Down-Stay). The dog must remain in place (but may change position) as the handler walks forward the length of the line, then returns to the dog. The dog may be released from the side or the front.
7) Come when called.
This test demonstrates that the dog will come to the handler when called. The handler will walk 10 feet away from the dog, turn to face the dog, then call the dog to Come. Handlers may tell the dog to Stay, Wait, or simply walk away.
8) Reaction to another dog.
This demonstrates that the dog is behaved around other dogs. The handler and dog approach another handler and dog from 20 feet, stop, shake hands, and continue walking for another 10 feet. Neither dog should go to the other dog or handler.
9) Reaction to distraction.
The test demonstrates the dog is calm and confident at all times when faced with common distractions and situations. Distraction examples include: a jogger running by the front of the dog, dropping a crutch or cane, rolling a dolly past the dog, or dropping a chair. The dog must not panic, show aggression, bark, or try to run away from the noise. The dog may show curiosity or interest in the noise.
10) Supervised separation.
The test will demonstrate that the dog may be left with another person and still be able to maintain good manners and training. The evaluator may use a line such as, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take the leash. The handler will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog is not required to stay in position but should not bark, whine, or pace. The dog may not exhibit more than mild agitation or nervousness. The evaluator may talk to the dog but must not offer excessive petting or talking.
All tests are performed on leash. Collars should be basic buckle or slip collars made of fabric, leather, or chain. Special training collars such as head halters, electronic, and pinch collars are not permitted.
A body harness may be used in the CGC test (as of November 4, 2010).
The handler will provide the brush for the test. The evaluator will provide the long line leash.
Owners or handlers may use encouragement and praise throughout the test. The handler may pet the dog between exercises. Use of treats, food, or toys is not permitted during the test.
Failure - Dismissal
Automatic fail will be given if a dog eliminates during the test. Any dog that snaps, bites, growls, or attempts to attack will be dismissed from the test.
You may also visit Such Good Dog's previous post on the CGC test for more information.