canine good citizen

Is it worthwhile for your dog to undergo a Canine Good Citizen evaluation? It’s not like your pooch is going to hang his certificate on the wall (well, probably not). But there are actually many worthwhile reasons to get this certification.

Started by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1989, the Canine Good Citizen evaluation is a test that demonstrates that your pet is well behaved among both people and other dogs. It also includes your pledge that you will be a responsible dog owner. The credential can be helpful if you are dealing with a wary landlord, neighbor, or even insurance company, particularly if your dog is a breed that faces restrictions.

You and your dog will need to prepare for the Canine Good Citizen evaluation. It’s not a good idea to just sign up and hope for the best. Working with a trusted dog trainer is a smart way to get your dog ready to take the exam. Knowledgeable trainers like the ones you’ll find here at Fon Jon can help with the kinds of behaviors tested by the AKC, as well as the basics of obedience training.

The Canine Good Citizen test does include some basic commands, like sit, down, stay, and recall. However, more of the focus is on tasks that demonstrate your dog’s reactions to other people and animals. These include accepting a friendly stranger, walking through a crowd, sitting while being petted, and walking on a loose leash. Negative behaviors, like growling, biting, or lunging at a person or dog, are grounds for dismissal. (Taking a potty break mid-test is too, so make sure your dog has had a walk beforehand!)

The best way to get your dog ready for the Canine Good Citizen test is to team up with a good trainer and practice the different tasks before the exam. Yes, it’s test prep for dogs—and it works.