Skip to Content

Canine Good Citizen Benefits -10 reasons to train for the CGC test

My dog Ace took and passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test Friday.

Passing the test itself is not all that important, but the concepts in the test should be goals for every dog owner. The test was a fun way to compete with my dog and get recognition for my work.

I like that the AKC encourages all dogs to take the test, even mixed-breeds which are normally not acknowledged.

To pass the CGC test, a dog must prove she is able to behave in a public setting.

It tests whether a dog can act calm around a new person and dog, walk on a loose leash through a crowd, sit while a stranger pets her and be separated from her owner for three minutes without freaking out. She must also sit, lie down and come on command.

10 reasons to prepare for the Canine Good Citizen test

1. Use the CGC test to your advantage against breed discrimination laws.

Unfortunately, more and more cities are passing laws that ban certain breeds. If you own one of these breeds of dogs that are unfairly labeled as dangerous, but your dog has passed the CGC test, you will have a better chance at proving your dog is harmless to others.

2. Some apartments only allow dogs that have a CGC certificate.

Certain apartment complexes, parks and other public places will only allow dogs that have proof of passing the CGC test. If you own a larger breed like a dane or rottweiler, showing proof of CGC completion gives you a better chance of getting into an apartment.

3. It’s a good test to see where you are at with training.

Who cares if you fail the test. I used the test as a way to see where Ace and I need more work. I learned that he needs more work staying in a sit position around other dogs.

He also needs work on staying in the stand position. Exposing your dog to new environments and testing her skills as well as yours will only benefit you both. You can always retake the test.

4. The CGC test gives you a goal to work toward.

It’s easier for me to train my dog when I have a specific goal in mind. I work better with a deadline.

That’s why I sign up for marathons far in advance. The same is true with dog training. Sign up to take the CGC test a month or two from now, and then practice with your dog until that date

5. The Canine Good Citizen test is often one of the first steps to becoming a therapy dog.

The CGC test is used by Therapy Dogs International in its assessment of potential therapy dogs. The test is often a prerequisite for more advanced therapy dog training.

6. Visiting new places will not be such a big deal to your dog.

A good way to prepare for the CGC test is to walk your dog in several new places, exposing her to many new situations. My dog still responds much better to commands at home than anywhere else, but working with him in new environments really helps.

7. The Canine Good Citizen test is a good preparation for more advanced training.

Now that Ace and I have worked in front of a judge, I’m eager to look for more opportunities to compete with my dog. Once your dog has completed the CGC test, you will have a good base to start obedience competitions

8. Set a good example for other dog owners.

I hope that people notice how Ace responds to me and will be encouraged to dedicate more time to training their own dogs. It’s a good way to encourage kids to get involved with training.

9. Your dog will become more socialized.

To pass the test, your dog must stay under control around distractions, including new people and dogs. It’s what every dog owner wants

10. The CGC test is fun.

It’s good to know my dog can tag along in almost any setting and remain under control. Training and working with Ace is fun for me and strengthens our bond.

Has your dog taken the Canine Good Citizen test?

Debra Mitchell

Saturday 25th of November 2017

My Italian Greyhound Nina passed her CGC a few months ago. Tomorrow we take our Pet Partners exam to become a therapy dog team! Wish us luck:)

Mayra Calvani

Tuesday 9th of September 2008

Congrats to you and Ace! That's awesome. I didn't even know these tests existed.

Mayra Calvanis last blog post..My Interview with

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 8th of September 2008

Thanks everyone!

KC, you're doing a great job with your dane pup!


Monday 8th of September 2008

Thanks for this explanation of the benefits of training. I’ve been a bit discouraged about professional training because my pup’s at that awkward age -- finished “puppy kindergarten” at the local obedience club, but not old enough for real obedience classes, which require them to be 6 months old. My Great Dane puppy’s four months now. But we’re training him ourselves and he’s learning a lot!

KCs last blog post..Dane pup digs BIG a mess in mud

Saint Lover

Monday 8th of September 2008

Congratulations!!!! Way to go Ace! That is a huge accomplishment for both of you.