Canine Good Citizen (CGC)/Canine Good Neighbour (CGN)

In the U.S.: In Canada:

These are certification programs that test dogs that have the training and demeanor to be reliable family members as well as good-standing community members. The testing takes place in a busy public area, such as a shopping mall. Testing includes the following:

  1. Accepting a friendly stranger — The owner of the dog shakes hands with a friendly stranger.
  2. Patiently sitting for petting — A test for shyness and resentment.
  3. Appearance & grooming — The owner's care and sense of responsiblity is seen in how his dog is kept.
  4. Out for a walk — Illustrating handler's control of the dog.
  5. Walking through a crowd — Demonstrating how the dog moves in a crowd without unduly distress and under his owner's control.
  6. Commands — Sit, Down, Stay, Come. Illustrating that the dog has been trained and responds well.
  7. Praise/interactions — Illustrating the relationship between dog and owner.
  8. Reaction to passing dogs — Demonstrates if the dog behaves politely around other dogs.
  9. Distractions — Demonstrates the dog's confidence when faced with common distractions.
  10. Supervised isolation — Demonstrates whether the dog can be left with someone other than his usual handler and still maintain training and good manners.

Any dog that jumps up on a person, lunges at another dog or displays unruly behaviour is automatically disqualified.

Note: CGC is a requirement for most therapy-dog programs.

For more information, visit the following websites:


The Canine Good Citizen : Every Dog Can Be One, 2nd Edition
by Jack Volhard, Wendy Volhard