Canine Good Citizen

What is a Canine Good Citizen? Is your dog a Canine Good Citizen? Every domestic dog, from family pet to working dog, should be good citizens of the community. At the very least, dogs should not make an unnecessary fuss of any kind, especially in public places. They should be quiet and not invade the space of others. They should exhibit self-control and stay “out of trouble”. They should be friendly to all others. Dogs should always be next to their human partners or under their watchful eyes. This is the image of a Canine Good Citizen.

Canine Good Citizen Skills

Does your dog have the skills to be a good citizen of the community? To be certified as a “Canine Good Citizen”, you and your dog must demonstrate competency in a series of tasks. Curious if you and your dog would meet the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) criteria? Below is a checklist of the skills needed for certification.

Canine Good Citizen Criteria

  • Absolutely NO Aggression (no biting, snapping, growling, snarling)
  • Potty Trained (no accidents)
  • Accepts human strangers to approach (solo and with dogs)
  • Sits quietly and accepts petting from friendly strangers
  • Stands quietly for physical examination and grooming
  • Walks with human partner on loose leash
  • Walks easily through high distraction areas (crowds/downtown)
  • Remains calm in PLACE with distractions (dogs, joggers, bikes, cars, motorcycles)
  • Remains calm in PLACE without human partner (3 minutes)
  • Comes when called
  • Obedience Skills – SIT, STAND, DOWN, COME, PLACE, STAY

Ground Rules – Simple Collar & Leash

The only dog training equipment allowed during CGC evaluations is a simple collar/harness and leash. That is all. No training collars, halters or limiting harnesses. No clickers. No food. You may use your voice to speak to your dog. You may use your hands to guide them through the tasks. You are encouraged to praise your dogs, both verbally and physically (petting). The American Kennel Club (AKC) emphasizes that the experience should be fun.

Results of Your Evaluation

Did you go through the checklist? Would you and your dog be able to successfully complete all the tasks on the checklist? If so – congratulations! Your dog is a candidate for CGC certification. However, if your dog doesn’t meet the CGC criteria, what should you do? Does it matter?

Canine Good Citizen

If you want your dog to have the best life possible, you should teach them the life skills needed to be a good citizen. Each CGC skill eliminates stress from your life too. Life with your dog becomes stress-free and pure joy. In addition, many people would like their dog to be a therapy dog, which requires CGC certification. Although CGC certification does not make your dog a therapy dog, all therapy dogs must have CGC skills.

Our Dog Responsibilities

The CGC program was created by the American Kennel Club to encourage responsible dog ownership. Training your dog so that they can enjoy a happy life is the least we could do for them. Our dogs give us so much to enrich our lives. They love us. Protect us. Play with us. Calm us. Why should we care if they are not canine good citizens? You should care because it negatively effects their lives and your life. No one is able to enjoy life to its fullest. We owe it to our dogs and ourselves to teach them these life skills.

What Can You Do?

The simple answer is “train your dog”. But, as we all know, life is not simple. Life is very complicated. Getting to weekly dog training classes is just not a realistic endeavor for many. You need something to work around your schedule. And, you would like to start seeing results sooner than later. You would benefit from professional training for your dog.

What We Offer

Our training programs at Lucky Dog Training Asheville are designed to meet CGC criteria. We work around our clients’ busy schedules. We offer board and train for immersion training. Group classes are great for practicing socialization skills. We reduce stress in people’s lives by helping people and their dogs be good citizens of the community. And, if you want your dog certified, we are an official AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator.

Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD is an evolutionary biologist, college biology instructor, former zookeeper, author, certified professional dog trainer with Lucky Dog Training Asheville and has over 30 years of dog training and human teaching experience. Please contact us for more information at or call us at 828-423-9635.


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