The Canine Good Citizen Test Defined

German Shepherds excel at The Canine Good Citizen Test. It's true. GSD's excel at any kind of obedience work.

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The Canine Good Citizen Program is actually a 2 part program. First it stresses responsible pet ownership and lastly basic good manners for all of the participating dogs.

Any German Shepherds that pass this 10 step test will also receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club.

This unique program also lays the ground work for other many other AKC activities such as obedience, agility and tracking.

One of the biggest goals of the Canine Good Citizen Test is for the owner to be able to demonstrate that he is in control of his own dog under various kinds of conditions often encountered on an almost daily basis.

Things such as meeting new people or new dogs otherwise engaged in a variety of activities are just one of the things you'll have to work your way through in the Canine Good Citizen Test.

You will also need to demonstrate that your dog responds to all the basic commands such as Sit or Heel while in real-life situations complete with distractions during the Canine Good Citizen Test.

All dogs must successfully complete the 10 steps laid out below to pass the Canine Good Citizen Test (per the AKC).

Test 1: Accepting a Friendly Stranger

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.

Test 2: Sitting Politely for Petting

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. While the dog is sitting at the handler's side, the evaluator pets the dog on head and body only, then circles the dog and handler, completing the test. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

Test 3: Appearance and Grooming

This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit a stranger, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog, then combs or brushes the dog and lightly examines the ears and each front foot.

Test 4: Out for a Walk (Walking on a loose leash)

This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler, whichever the handler prefers. There must be a left turn, a right turn and an about turn, with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops.

Test 5: Walking Through a Crowd

This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers, without appearing over exuberant, shy or resentful. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not be straining at the leash.

Test 6: Sit and Down on Command/Staying in Place

This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's command to sit and down and will remain in place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to make the dog sit and then down. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of a 20-foot line. The dog must remain in place, but may change positions.

Test 7: Coming When Called (Learn How Here)

This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The Handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and will call the dog. The handler may use body language and encouragement to get the dog to come. handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog as the evaluator provides mild distractions (e.g. petting).

Test 8: Reaction to Another Dog

This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 10 yards, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 5 yards. The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each other.

Test 9: Reactions to Distractions

This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations, such as the dropping of a large book or a jogger running in front of the dog. The dog may express a natural interest and curiosity and may appear slightly startled, but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness or bark.

Test 10: Supervised Separation

This test demonstrates that a dog can be left alone, if necessary, and will maintain its training and good manners. Evaluators are encourage to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and a person will hold the leash of the dog. The dog will be held for three minutes and does not have to stay in position, but should not continually bark, whine, howl, pace unnecessarily or show anything other than mild agitation or nervousness.

© 1997 American Kennel Club (Canine Good Citizen Test updated 4/1/96)

The overall purpose of the Canine Good Citizen Test is to ensure that our pet dogs can be trained and expected to act mannerly in our home, in all public places as well as in the presence of other people or dogs. Both pure-bred or mixed-breed dogs can participate in this program.

The AKC urges all dog owners to participate in this valuable program. Why not check into the Canine Good Citizen Test for yourself and your dog?

Return from Canine Good Citizen Test to GSD Trivia

A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature. You can't get it by breeding for it, and you can't buy it with money. It just happens along." - E B White, The Care and Training of a Dog

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