Canine Good Citizen Testing

 
Canine Good Citizen testing is a good tool to assess the socialization of a dog.

Canine Good Citizen testing is a good tool to assess the socialization of a dog.

Wagtown provides screening for Canine Good Citizen Certification through behavioral evaluation, in-line with standards set by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Many people believe their dogs are well trained, only to discover behavioral challenges at inopportune or even dangerous times. Canine Good Citizen Testing provides dog owners with a clear and objective understanding of their fuzzy friend’s strengths and weaknesses, and connects dog owners to resources address areas in need of improvement.

Here are the AKC criteria assessed as part of the Wagtown Canine Good Citizen Testing program:

1. ACCEPTING A STRANGER

The dog must allow a friendly stranger to approach and speak to the dog’s owner. The evaluator will approach the dog and owner naturally, and will greet the owner while ignoring the dog. The owner and evaluator will shake hands and have a quick conversation. The dog must not ask nervous or shy.

2. SITTING POLITELY FOR PETTING

Your dog must allow a friendly stranger to pet it while it is out with its handler (aka you).

3. APPEARANCE AND GROOMING

Your dog must permit someone else to check its ears and front feet, as a groomer or veterinarian might do. The evaluator will inspect your dog to make sure it is clean, well groomed, and healthy (normal weight, clean, alert).

The owner will present a comb or brush that is usually used to groom dog, and the evaluator will use it to gently groom the dog. The dog doesn’t need to stay in the exact position, but must remain pleasant and calm.

4. OUT FOR A WALK

You will walk your dog on a loose lead as the evaluator provides directions. In some cases, the path will be told to you beforehand. Other times, the evaluator will tell you when to turn as you are walking. Your dog may walk on either side of you, so long as your dog’s position shows that it knows you are in control and is paying attention to you.

Your dog doesn’t need to be perfectly aligned to you or stop the moment you do, but you do need to be in control. There will be a right turn, a left turn, an about turn, and one stop in the middle of the walk.

5. WALKING THROUGH A CROWD

Your dog will walk around with you and pass close to several people (at least three). This demonstrates that your dog can move politely in pedestrian traffic and can remain under control in public spaces.

Your dog can show interest in strangers, but must continue to walk with you and avoid any sign of over-exuberance (such as jumping on straining on the leash) or shyness.

 

6. SIT AND DOWN ON COMMAND + STAYING IN PLACE

Your dog must be able to do sit and do down on your command. Then, the owners will choose a position (sit or down, it’s your choice) and leave the dog in the stay. Your dog will be on a 20ft long line for this evaluation.

You may use more than one command to get your dog to sit and lie down, so long as it’s clear your dog is following your commands. You may also gently touch the dog for guidance but cannot force it into position.

After leaving the dog in stay and walking the length of the line, you will then call your dog, and he or she should return to you at a natural pace.

7. COME WHEN CALLED

Your dog must come to you when called from a distance of 10 feet. You may tell your dog to “stay” or “wait,” or you can simply walk away with no instructions for the dog.

8. REACTION TO OTHER DOGS

You and your dog will be approached by another handler with his or her dog. You will approach one another from a distance of about 20 feet. Then you will stop, shake hands, and exchange pleasantries.

Dogs should show no more than casual interest in the other dog and the handler. This test shows that your dog can behave politely around other dogs.

9. REACTION TO DISTRACTION

The evaluator will select and present two distractions, such as dropping an item or having a jogger run in front of the dog. The dog can express natural interest or curiosity, but should not show aggressiveness, panic, try to run away, or bark.

10. SUPERVISED SEPARATION

An evaluator will ask if they can watch your dog, and then will take your dog’s leash. You, the owner, will go out of sight for three minutes. Your dog doesn’t need to stay completely still, but must not bark, whine, pace nervously, or show any sign of anxiety. This test demonstrates that your dog can be left with a trusted person.

Source: American Kennel Club