Kasey and I enrolled in a Canine Good Citizen course, where we learned the 10 Canine Good Citizen skills needed by well-mannered dogs. The last day of the course, we took and passed the Canine Good Citizen test.

The AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program is open to both mixed breed and purebred dogs. It is a certification program that was started in 1989, and stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step Canine Good Citizen test may receive a certificate from the AKC.

The AKC notes some dogs who are entered in Canine Good Citizen tests will have completed Canine Good Citizen classes or basic obedience classes. Owners who have trained their dogs themselves may also have their dogs tested. There are clubs and training programs in almost every city that can provide training to owners and dogs who need to learn a few more skills before taking the test.

The AKC notes some dogs who are entered in Canine Good Citizen tests will have completed Canine Good Citizen classes or basic obedience classes. Owners who have trained their dogs themselves may also have their dogs tested. There are clubs and training programs in almost every city that can provide training to owners and dogs who need to learn a few more skills before taking the test.

The following are the 10 skills needed to pass the test and are from the AKC website, www.akc.org. All of the exercises are done on a leash.

• Accepting a friendly stranger. The dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation.

• Sitting politely for petting. The dog will allow a friendly stranger to pet it while it is out with its handler.

• Appearance and grooming. The dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so.

• Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead). The handler/dog team will take a short “walk” to show that the dog is in control while walking on a leash.

• Walking through a crowd. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three) to demonstrate that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places.

• Sit and down on command and staying in place. The dog will respond to the handler’s commands to sit, go down and remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers).

• Coming when called. The dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog.

• Reaction to another dog. To demonstrate that the dog can behave politely around other dogs, two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands, exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet.

• Reaction to distraction. To demonstrate the dog is confident when faced with common distracting situations, the evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distraction include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog or dropping a crutch or cane.

 

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