AKC Canine Good Citizen
The Canine Good Citizen is a training program developed by the American Kennel Club, for which dog owners can obtain the CGC certificate if they choose to take and pass the CGC test. This program is designed to teach ten basic skills:
Accepting a friendly stranger: This ensures that the dog will remain calm when the handler is interacting with another human who is unknown to the dog.
Sitting politely for petting: Your dog will most likely remain sitting and willing when you’re petting them, but it’s completely different when a stranger attempts this. In this part of the program, the dog is taught to sit politely when another person is petting them.
Appearance and grooming: Dogs can’t be groomed and examined if they don’t allow people to do it to them. This skill ensures that the dog will welcome someone combing or brushing them, examining their ears and picking up their front feet.
Walking on a loose lead: This skill shows that your dog is not just following you, but also paying attention to you, your movements and changes in direction. Well-trained dogs will have no problems walking with you on any course, being responsive, and understanding that you are in control.
Walking through a crowd: Moving politely in pedestrian traffic is of particular importance when you’re walking with your dog in public places. The ability to maintain control as your dog passes close to other people is what this skill is all about. The dog may show interest in others, but they must keep walking with you.
Sit and down on command and Staying in place: A properly trained dog should be able to respond to your commands, particularly sit, down and being able to remain in place. When taking the CGC test, the evaluation for this skill is done by having you command the dog to sit, then having you walk away and back. The dog should stay in place until you give the instruction to release.
Coming when called: Another basic command that every dog should learn. It is useful to keep the animal away from dangerous situations, to prevent them from causing trouble, to make your interaction with other people easier and, of course, to interact with the dog for a variety of situations like when you want to feed or pet them.
Reaction to another dog: Can your dog behave politely when other dogs are approaching and interacting? This skill will be put to the test in the CGC as well. This is a fundamental ability to master when in public places.
Reaction to distraction: Distractions are part of everyday life, no matter whether you are at home or outside, there will always be something that will distract your dog. Well-behaved dogs may express natural interest or get slightly startled, but in the end they should not panic, run away, become aggressive, or bark.
Supervised separation: The final skill in the CGC involved the dog behaving politely when left with a trusted person. If the owner is out of the dog’s sight and someone else is holding the leash, good manners should be maintained. Showing some nervousness is fine, since the dog’s most trusted person is away! However, there should be no barking, whining, or unnecessary pacing.
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