American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Test

Training the dog for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test was the focus of our group dog training class today. Next week many of our students and their companions will be taking the test to evaluate whether or not their dog is up to par for this certification.

The American Kennel Club has designed this test to demonstrate the importance of basic dog obedience and good manners. The follow 10 criteria are what the dogs and their handlers are judged on. This is a pass – fail test, so if handler and dog fail one of the skills they can not be given the certification.

1. Accepting a Friendly Stranger – This skill demonstrates that a dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach and speak to her owner without trying to hide, lunge or jump on the stranger. This is a necessary ability for any dog to have in order to go out in public.

2. Sitting Politely For Petting – This test demonstrates that a dog will allow someone to pet him without showing shyness or resentment. It is important that dogs are mannerly, not jumping up, barking or shying away when someone asks to pet them.

3. Appearance and Grooming – This test proves a dog capable of being examined and groomed by a stranger. This is an important ability so that your dog is comfortable with visits to the groomer or veterinarian.

4. Out For a Walk on a Loose Leash – Every good canine should be capable of walking in a controlled fashion without lunging, forging, zig-zagging all over or lagging significantly.

5. Walk Through a Crowd – This test proves that a dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places.

6. Sit and Down on Command and Stay in a Place – Every dog should be able to respond to the simple commands of Sit and Down as well as be able to remain in one place when told to stay.

7. Come When Called – Enough said. If a dog can’t come when called we really can’t categorize him or her as a very well behaved canine citizen.

8. Reaction to Another Dog – This test is designed to demonstrate that a dog can behave politely around other dogs. It is not a test of socialibilty but simply that a dog can mind his own business and not infringe on another dog.

9. Reactions to Distractions – It is important that a dog learn to be confident around common distracting situations, such as joggers, bicyclists or a slightly startling noise. Having a dog that does not panic or show aggression in these situations makes him a more welcome member of the community.

10. Supervised Separation – This is important in order for a dog to be left in the care of another trusted person. The dog should not panic or show serious agitation when left with someone other than her owner.

Those are the criteria and what should be considered standard for every dog, IMO. With a bit of time and repetition none of these skills are particularly difficult to achieve. Especially if you start young before a puppy develops too many bad habits. I know that the committed dog owners we have been training with this spring are ready!

If you are interested in having your dog work on these skills come train with us here in the Dubuque, Iowa, Madison Wisconsin and Galena, Illinois area. Or join us virtually via our online training membership site.