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Tips to help your Puppy Successfully
Pass and Receive:

The AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Award

The AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) is a certification program designed to reward puppies and dogs for proper canine etiquette and good manners at home and out in the community.

There are two parts to the Canine Good Citizen program.

  • Part one stresses responsible dog ownership for the puppy owner.
  • Part two stresses good canine manners for your puppy.

Many puppy owners choose to participate in the Canine Good Citizen program, because they intend to teach their puppy these good manners anyway.

All dogs are welcome to participate in the AKC CGC program. Your puppy can be a pure breed puppy or a mixed breed puppy, registered or not registered.

The AKC (CGC) Program is designed to help you lay the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, tracking, and performance events if you choose to continue on with these types of activities with your pooch. As you work with your puppy to teach the necessary skills needed to pass the test, you'll discover the many benefits and joys of training your puppy and what a wonderful beginning you and your canine friend have as you start into the most important area of training: Obedience. Good training enhances the bond between you and your beloved dog and makes life so much easier and happier for you and your precious canine friends.

When your puppy passes the AKC (CGC) test, it is a great accomplishment. Your puppy receives a certificate that says your he or she is an AKC Canine Good Citizen, you can receive the AKC (CGC) Patch, and your puppy is automatically recorded in the AKC's Canine Good Citizen Archive.

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Responsible Dog Owners Pledge

Before taking the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test, each dog owner will need to sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge.

Responsible canine ownership is a key part of the AKC CGC concept and by signing the pledge, dog owners agree to take care of their dog's health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting their dogs infringe on the rights of others anytime or any place.

The 10 test statements below are the 10 parts of the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test. No Free Lunch Dogs has included 10 very helpful Tips below to help you to train your dog to successfully pass the test. To see more details of each of the 10 test statements go to www.akc.org

AKC Canine Good Citzen Award for your Puppy

AKC (Canine Good Citizen) Test 1:
Accepting a friendly stranger

NFLD Training Tips and Suggestions for the
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 1

One of the easiest ways to teach your puppy to meet a new person is right in your own home, in the living room, or at the door. When someone knocks or the doorbell rings, put your puppy on his or her leash, go to the door and have your puppy sit-stay for them and then reward your puppy for being obedient.

Eventually you will have your puppy do a sit-stay without a leash. Soon your puppy will be very good at sit-stay for lots of guests that come to your door. Once this is mastered, you can venture out to the dog parks, on hikes and other outdoor excursions and have your puppy sit and stay at your side quietly and patiently while you converse with various people. Arrange several social encounters by inviting friends to your home or taking walks in your neighborhood where you can see and talk to people while your puppy does a sit-stay for you. Receiving a little treat on occasion and some loving scratches and pets from you is always motivating for your puppy also.

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AKC Canine Good Citizen Award

AKC (Canine Good Citizen) Test 2:
Sitting politely for petting

NFLD Training Tips and Suggestions for the
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 2

Once your puppy knows how to sit-stay, then simply have he or she sit-stay while you and your family members approach and pet them. If your pooch begins to get out of the sit-stay position, give a little tug on the leash and a reminder: "sit" "stay" - Remember to give praise when your puppy sits and stays and don’t allow anyone to ever pet your puppy while jumping or not sitting for you. The length of time of sitting and petting should be very gradually increased over time.

As soon as your puppy understands that he or she must remain under control while being petted by family members, then it is time to allow friends who come over to pet your puppy while sitting. Once you are successful at this, then it is time to allow strangers to do the same. Start in your own house and yard and then start doing the same "sit and let someone pet you routine" while you are out at parks, on hikes, on neighborhood walks, and everywhere you and your dog goes. Remember that there are many people, especially children who do not know how to approach a puppy and they may need some guidance as to taking it slow, easy and being gentle.

One of the easiest ways to teach your puppy to properly meet a new person is right in your own home at the door. When someone knocks or the doorbell rings, simply put your puppy on his or her leash, go to the door and have your puppy sit-stay for them and then reward your puppy. Eventually you will have your pup do a sit-stay without a leash.

Once your puppy gets good at sit-stay for lots of guests that come to your door, plan with one of your friends to have them come to the front door. When they knock or ring the doorbell, put your puppy's leash on as usual, go to the door, and have your puppy sit. Slip your hand under your puppy's collar to hold he or she still and have your friend pet your pup as a special reward for sitting and staying. Make sure you do not let your friend touch your puppy until he or she is relaxed, calm and obediently sitting very still. This may take a little time at first. Do this with as many friends or relatives as possible so your puppy gets lots of practice and exposure with lots of different people coming to your door. Your puppy will realize that when he or she sits at the door for you or anyone else coming in, they are being very good and might get a pet or scratch on the head. Once this is mastered, you can venture out to the dog parks, on hikes and other outdoor excursions and have your puppy sit at your side and ask a person to approach and pet your puppy.

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AKC Canine Good Citizen Award

AKC (Canine Good Citizen) Test 3:
Appearance and Grooming

NFLD Training Tips and Suggestions for the
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 3:

Gentle combing and brushing are a natural extension of petting and stroking. Even if your puppy is a short haired hound puppy, they enjoy a good brushing, as it feels like a good scratch to them. Your puppy should receive gradual, positive conditioning to being groomed and examined from puppyhood on.

Accustom your puppy to being touched all over, brushed, handled, teeth and ears inspected daily, bathed, nails clipped and overall physically examined comfortably by you and others. It is much more productive to relax, take it slow and easy with brief exposures to a myriad of good things.

Spend time allowing your puppy to associate grooming and human touch as a happy, natural, everyday experience. Have everyone in your house touch your puppy frequently, look at his or her teeth and pick up their paws and rub them a little bit, just to keep your puppy always knowing that it is a natural, good and happy experience when my family and other humans touch me.

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AKC_test4

AKC (Canine Good Citizen) Test 4:
Out for a Walk (walking on a loose lead)

NFLD Training Tips and Suggestions for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 4:

Simply teach your puppy to walk on a leash and then you can train for this exercise by allowing your puppy slack in the leash as you begin to move. In order to see your movements and respond to them, your puppy’s head needs to be fairly close to your side. As soon as your puppy learns to move on a loose leash, you will start having lots of fun walking everywhere with your canine friend. Enjoy your walk.

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AKC_teat5

AKC (Canine Good Citizen) Test 5:
Walking through a crowd

NFLD Training Tips and Suggestions for the
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 5:

Your puppy should be used to encountering and socializing with lots of new people and friends by now. Just keep "door training" and walking everywhere with your pooch. The more places you and your canine friend go, the more experience, mannerly, and willing to please you, your puppy will become.

While your puppy is out with you walking and your puppy tries to go to a person and/or jump on a person he or she sees or is passing by, you can tell your pooch to "sit" turn the opposite direction, so your puppy will follow you, or give a little tug on the collar as you give the command to “heel” or whatever command you use that means “let’s walk". Verbally praise, physically scratch or pet, or give your puppy a treat for obeying you. Repetition, practice, and staying positive create success.

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AKC Canine Good Citizen Test6

AKC (Canine Good Citizen) Test 6:
Sit and Down on command and Staying in place

NFLD Training Tips and Suggestions for
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 6:

Your puppy needs to know how to sit when you say sit. After your puppy is good at sit, you can begin working on the down. With your puppy is seated say: “down,” and lightly push on the shoulders with one hand while your other hand gently pulls down on the collar or put your other hand behind the front legs and slide them slightly forward, causing your puppy to automatically move into a downward position. Always praise your dog as soon as he or she responds with any downward movement.

Using a hand signal in conjunction with a verbal command makes things easier down the road. You hold two fingers at the puppy's nose and swish your two pointing fingers from the puppy's nose all the way to the floor as you say the command "Down". Practice this "down" command daily before each meal.

Once your puppy has "sit" accomplished and is now in the down position, you are ready to give a “stay” command. Once again, it is very handy to use a hand signal in addition to the verbal command. Lower your hand with your palm facing toward your dog’s face as your signal to stay as you say the word, “stay.” Then, position yourself so you are standing directly in front of your puppy. Remain there for only a few seconds, then return to your puppy's side and give praise.

If your puppy breaks the stay, put he or she back in place and give the reminder, “stay.” As soon as your puppy is reliable on this short stay, start adding time to the stay. Slowly allow some distractions to happen while your puppy is asked to stay. Start doing this "Sit" "Down" and "Stay" everywhere you go, with people around and by yourselves. Make it a natural daily activity. Sooner than you think, you will be able to start increasing the time and distance of the: "Sit" "Down" and "Stay" everywhere you go, with many distractions, people around, and by yourselves daily. Many trainers have found a little refresher training session before each meal goes a long way.

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AKC Canine Good Citizen Test7

AKC (Canine Good Citizen) Test 7:
Coming when called

NFLD Training Tips and Suggestions for the
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 7:

Most younger puppies will usually decide to go with you when you walk away from them. If you are fortunate enough to acquire your puppy at a very young age, by all means, use this desire to follow you as a training moment by getting a few steps ahead of them, be inviting, squat down, stretch out your arms wide open and say your puppy's name and then say:"Come" in a very happy voice.

Try to always use the same happy tone of voice when issuing your puppy's name and the recall command "Come" At first we will pat the floor, pat our legs, or clap at the same time we say our puppy's name and the command "come". This is a great attention getter. As soon as your puppy starts to come to you, start praising, when they get to you reward them more with lots of petting, pats, cuddles, praise and maybe even a treat.

Be sure to always use your feeding time as a training experience. Use the recall command "Come" before each meal and reward your puppy with praise, petting and then give them their meal. Your puppy will love this and you will be well on your way to a reliable recall when you are consistent. Make sure everyone in your house uses the same training strategies with your puppy.

Each time you add or change a variable in your environment and/or situation, it’s also a new concept to your puppydog. At first this means that you might need to start teaching from the beginning basics when you go to a new park with lots of distractions around. With experience and repetition your baby will get it, respond more quickly, and be able to perform your desired behavior all the time, everywhere you go, with friends visiting, while other dogs are present, with kids playing, and even with the cat walking around. Practice makes perfect! Put on your puppy’s leash to begin teaching your puppy to come.

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AKC Canine Good Citizen Test8

AKC (Canine Good Citizen) Test 8:
Reaction to another dog

NFLD Training Tips and Suggestions for
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 8:

By now, you and your buddy should be going on as many positive, pleasant and non threatening neighborhood walks, outings and adventures as possible. We highly encourage interaction with a multitude of pets (friendly, healthy and vaccinated) and a wide variety of people (with facial hair, no facial hair, male, female, neighbor's children, different ethnic backgrounds, elderly), places (vets, friends, your office, banks, post offices, rivers, beaches, lakes, hiking trails, swimming pools, stairs), situations (car rides, other peoples houses with dog friendly cats, pull your car over in a busy area and let your dog observe the world of people, scents, and activities through the window with it just cracked enough to hear and smell), things (Kong toys, bones, umbrellas, vacuum cleaners, boxes, bags, wood stoves), and even busy, loud places occasionally. All dogs need to have the good fortune to explore and investigate their planet. For the first several times, some people will carry their young puppy to and through shopping centers, busy parks, school play grounds and start out slow with short, frequent adventures.

Now that you and your puppy are very comfortable walking, make sure that you continually are in environments where there are other people walking their dogs and make sure that your puppy is not distracted from his or her obediently walking with you. A lot of trainers will command their dog to "sit" "down" and "stay" as another handler and their dog walks by. Always praise your puppy for "sit" "down" and "stay". After your puppy will obediently "sit", "down", and "stay" fellow handler and their dog are walking by you, it is time to start walking with your puppy by lots of other people walking their dogs.

Daily walking with your puppy can help to keep both of your bodies healthy and your bones strong. Have a fun walk today!

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AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 9

AKC (Canine Good Citizen) Test 9:
Reaction to distraction

NFLD Training Tips and Suggestions for the
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 9:

When you are walking your puppy daily and going on lots of outings together, then your puppy should have already learned to ignore a multitude of distractions, just from the exposure to everyday situations and adventures you are both doing together. It is good to walk your puppy through areas that are very busy and have louder than usual noises occasionally, like a construction site, so your puppy can experience loud noises and unusual things and stay calm, cool and collected. Usually a simple few words, praise, treats, toys, and playful interaction will take your puppy's mind off of any fear and help associate what was once frightening with positive experiences.

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AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 10

AKC (Canine Good Citizen) Test 10:
Supervised separation

NFLD Training Tips and Suggestions for the
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test 10:

You can practice this easily at home when you have friends or relatives over. Starting at home first is always encouraged. Your puppy should already be doing a good job with proper manners at the door.

Now when your friend knocks or ring the doorbell, put your puppy's leash on as usual, go to the door, and have your puppy sit and stay. Speak for a few moments with your friend and then casually give your puppy's leash to your friend and go in to a different room where your puppy can see you for a minute. Come back into the room and take the leash back, thank your friend and treat your puppy with good scratching, pet or edible treat.

Do this with as many friends or relatives as possible, so your puppy gets lots of practice and exposure with lots of different people taking his or her leash and waiting with them till you return. Slowly extend the time you are in the other room to 4 or 5 minutes.

Now start going into another room where your puppy can not see you and build up the length of time again. Your puppy will realize that when he or she sits and stays with someone else while you are gone, you will be very happy when you return and he or she will get a good doggie pet or treat. Once this is mastered, you can venture out to the dog parks, on hikes and other outdoor excursions and have your puppy sit at your side and do a similar activity in areas other than your own home and yard. Enjoy your puppy!

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Equipment for AKC Canine Good Citizen test

Have your dog clean, well groomed, teeth brushed, wearing a collar and on a leash. All of the tests must be performed on a leash. Your dog will need to be wearing a leather, fabric, or chain, well fitting slip collar, or buckle style collar. No special training collars like head halters or pinch collars are permitted in the CGC test.

The evaluator will supply a 20-foot lead for the test. You or your dog's handler need to bring your dog's brush or comb to the test.

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Encouragement

You can use praise and encouragement with your dog throughout the test. You can also pet your dog between exercises. Food, toys, treats or clickers are not permitted during testing.

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Failures - Dismissals

Any dog that eliminates during testing is marked failed. The only exception to this rule is when test 10 is held outdoors.

Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or another dog is dismissed from the test.

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NFLD Tip to Remember
Before taking the AKC (Canine Good Citizen) test:

Be sure to feed and water your dog early that day. Allow your dog to empty their bladder and bowels, take them for a nice, long walk or run and expend some good energy. Make sure they potty again before the testing event. Be happy and have a Great time with your dog and Make it a Fun test!


Where to find an AKC Trainer, Tester and Evaluator
There are numerous AKC evaluators in many cities all across the country who offer the Canine Good Citizen training classes and Canine Good Citizen testing. Some of these are: Local specialty clubs, AKC judges, many 4-H leaders, therapy dog evaluators, veterinarians, vet techs, groomers, private trainers, kennel owners, animal control, police K-9 officers and others can give this test.

You can also go to www.akc.org and simply select your state from the drop down menu and click enter. This will take you to a list of people in the cities in your state who give training classes and the AKC tests for the Canine Good Citizen. Just send them an email and find out all the information you need to take their classes and test. If your dog is already trained, they can just give your dog the test.

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Now you can say these awesome things about your dog:

1. My dog is polite and friendly to strangers.

2. My dog can sit politely while being petted.

3. My dog is healthy, happy and well groomed.

4. My dog walks properly on a leash.

5. My dog is polite, relaxed, and walks nicely on a leash through a crowd of people.

6. My dog will do a "sit", "down", and "stay".

7. My dog will come when I call.

8. My dog behaves calm and politely around other dogs.

9. My dog is comfortable and mannerly around distractions and noises.

10. My dog has good manners and uses proper dog etiquette when with other people.

Congratulations! You should now have your AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate! What an accomplishment! Have fun with your dog!

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To learn all the basic training that your dog will ever need:
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