Canine Good Citizen

Every now and then, I pull up the list of criteria for the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen award. I have to be in a certain mood, wherein I’m willing to laugh at my very imperfect dog’s imperfections, rather than be annoyed by them. Today was a good candidate.

So, here are the parts we would fail (there are ten criteria):

1. Will your dog let someone come up and talk to you, without acting like a crazy? Nope. Not by a long shot. If Silas approves of said person, he wants to jump all over them. If he disapproves, he barks his head off.

2. Does your dog sit nicely to be petted? (Excuse me while I clean the coffee off my monitor.) Um, no. If–big if–Silas likes you, he will sit nicely, until you get distracted by how cute and sweet he is, and then he will LEAP with great joy. Alternatively, he will appear to be sitting nicely, when in actuality he is peeing on your shoes. I suspect the pee would get us kicked out of the test.

3. Does your dog walk on a loose leash? HAHAHAHAHAHA. No. For a while I thought Silas had the worst leash manners ever, then I worked with a rescue for a while. It gave me some useful perspective, but “loose” our leash is not.

4. Can your dog walk through a crowd or past strangers? You know, maybe. It seems like Silas’s fear of people diminishes when they aren’t paying him any attention. As long as no one startles him, he’d be okay. He might be able to handle the kind of artificial crowd that the test would have.

5. Can your dog meet another dog, in a walking-type situation, without getting too interested in the dog or its owner? In real life he can, but in the test you walk all the way up to the other owner and shake hands. Not sure. When Silas ran out the garage and met the lady walking her pug, he was very interested in the lady, but not the dog.

6. Can your dog stay with the evaluator for three minutes while you leave the room? I’m not sure about this one. Silas seems to go with the vet tech without causing any drama, but we don’t have much occasion to try this one.

So, out of the ten criteria, we could do probably four of them and might squeak by on one or two more. In real life, everywhere that I’ve seen do the test does it at the end of a six-week training class. If the class instructor is also the evaluator, there might even be a little hope. A little.

How about you guys? Any CGCs out there? Have you done the class? Or is your dog, like Silas, such a hopelessly bad citizen that you would never bother? Or such a desperately good citizen that you don’t need no stinking award?

4 thoughts on “Canine Good Citizen

  1. First, forgive me if you have a comment already in the queue from me. I was having problems commenting on my other computer so I switched.

    Anyway, I started thinking about passing the CGC with Honey about a year ago. But I don’t think she could have done it then.

    She had no impulse control when greeting people and other dogs (love me! love me!) and would have been very startled by someone dropping a noisy object on the ground.

    We’re working on it again now and she’s doing much better. I think we could pass today if we were allowed to carry treats.

    You need to bookmark this post and come back to it in a year. You’ll probably be amazed at what Silas is doing and how far he has come.


    1. How old is Honey now? I keep hoping that I’ll get some kind of “training bonus” wherein Silas just naturally grows out of wanting to jump, but so far it hasn’t happened. He’s pretty good at home (better with me than my husband), but terrible with strangers.

      I’m hoping you’re right about his progress. It’s one of the big reasons I started the blog.


  2. I’m with you. If the evaluator were my trainer, then we would pass with flying colors. In the points you mentioned my hesitation would be the last two. Delilah can be reactive and other days she’s a dream. Since we’ve been working on stay in the bathroom and she can’t seem to let me out of her sight, I’m fairly certain she would fail miserably at the last one.

    I’m with Pamela though, book mark this post and revisit it next year. It is sometimes difficult to gage your progress until you go back. Hang in there, he WILL get there.


  3. It was my goal to have Hurley pass the CGC test by one year old. I failed miserably at that goal. As shop dog, he believes it his mission in life to say hello to each and every person and dog we meet. Which makes the sitting nicely and waiting to be given permission to say hello part of the test challenging for us right now. We’ll get there someday!


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