The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test is a program developed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) to promote responsible dog ownership and to encourage the training of well-mannered dogs. The program is open to all dogs, whether purebred or mixed breed. Although an emotional support dog is not required to pass the CGC, it is highly recommended that a psychiatric service dog be able to pass the CGC with flying colors. Read more about the difference between an emotional support dog in Texas and a psychiatric service dog in Texas here. * In addition to being able to pass the CGC, psychiatric service dogs must also be trained to provide additional functions that help mitigate a psychiatric disability. Read more about service dogs here.
The CGC test consists of ten basic tests of temperament and training, and dogs who pass these tests receive a certificate from the AKC. The tests are designed to demonstrate that the dog can be a respected member of the community because it is trained and conditioned to act well in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs.
The ten tests include:
- Accepting a Friendly Stranger: The dog allows a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation.
- Sitting Politely for Petting: The dog allows a friendly stranger to touch it while it’s out with its handler.
- Appearance and Grooming: The dog permits someone to check its ears and front feet, as a groomer or veterinarian might do.
- Out for a Walk (Walking on a Loose Lead): The handler walks the dog on a loose lead.
- Walking Through a Crowd: The dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places.
- Sit and Down on Command/Staying in Place: The dog responds to the handler’s commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers).
- Coming When Called: The dog comes when called by the handler.
- Reaction to Another Dog: The dog behaves politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on.
- Reaction to Distraction: The dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations, like a door slamming or someone running by.
- Supervised Separation: The dog can be left with a trusted person, while the handler goes out of sight for three minutes.
To earn the CGC certificate, a dog must pass all ten tests. The CGC test is not a competition, so pass/fail is the only judgment. This test is often a starting point for other activities and is also an indicator of a baseline level of training and socialization for the dog.
For more information: What is an ESA or PSA? How can I get a Texas ESA letter? Affordable ESA Letter ($78 session) About Dr. Tesh Psychiatric Service Dog Difference between ESA and PSA ESA at a University What to do if you are denied Affordable vet care in Texas Locations Reviews FAQ Texas ESA PSA Blog MAKE AN APPOINTMENT