Make Your Dog a Canine Good Citizen
least one million dogs in the United States can
be trusted to behave politely in society and they
have the papers to prove it. These dogs have earned
the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Award
by successfully completing a ten-step test that
judges their behavior in every day situations.
Could your dog pass
the test? See the steps required to earn the distinction
of a Canine Good Citizen. The Wisconsin Humane Society
offers Canine Good Citizen testing. Call 414-431-6156
for more information.
In order to earn the
distinction of canine good citizenship, a dog must
successfully pass all ten steps of the canine good
Canine Good Citizen Test:
- Accepting a friendly
A friendly stranger approaches and speaks to the
handler in a natural everyday manner but does
not pet the dog. The dog must maintain his good
- Sitting for petting.
This step requires the dog to allow a friendly
stranger to pet the dog and depart. The dog must
not show shyness or aggression while being touched.
- Accepting grooming.
This step requires the dog to cooperate while
being groomed and examined by a stranger, such
as a veterinarian. The evaluator inspects the
dog, combs him lightly and examines ears and each
- Walking and turning
for the handler.
This step requires that the handler be in control
of the dog. There must be a right turn, a left
turn and an about turn with a stop in between
each turn and one at the end.
- Walking through
This step requires that the dog move about safely
in pedestrian traffic. As the dog and handler
walk close to other people, the dog may show interest,
but must not be overly exuberant, shy or aggressive.
- Responding to basic
This step requires the dog to respond to the handler's
commands of "sit" and "down". Handlers then walk
20 feet away while the dog waits for the handler's
- Coming when called.
Handlers walk ten feet from the dog, then turn
and call the dog.
- Behaving in the
presence of a strange dog.
Two handlers and their dogs approach, shake hands,
converse and then separate from each other. The
dogs should show no more than a casual interest.
- Reaction to distraction.
The evaluator will select and present two distractions.
The dog may express natural interest and curiosity
and/or may appear slightly startled but should
not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness,
or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage
or praise it throughout the exercise.
- Supervised separation.
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. The dog does not
have to stay in position but should not continually
bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything
stronger than mild agitation or nervousness.