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Canine Good Citizen

Prepare Your Pup for Dog-Friendly Austin with the Canine Good Citizen Program!

Austin LOVES dogs, and at Every Dog we love helping dogs succeed out in the world. 


If you’ve been looking for a way to prep your dog for patio bars, wandering South Congress, or picnicking at Zilker Park, you should know about the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification.  


Our six-week Canine Good Citizen classes at both our North Austin and South Austin locations that can help get your dog ready for the test required to become certified. But first let’s learn more about the certification program and how it can help your dog put their best paw forward. 

What is the Canine Good Citizen?

The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program was developed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) to make sure dogs have the skills they need to become good members of society.

It’s a training and testing program that evaluates your furry companion’s behavior in various real-world situations. The program is a great way to train your dog for public life, AND make sure they’re ready for it. 


The AKC believes that all dogs can be good dogs, so dogs of any age or breed can participate and become certified. You and your dog need to pass a test with 10 essential skills in order to become certified. 


What’s on the Canine Good Citizen Test? 

The Canine Good Citizen test consists of 10 skills, and your pup has to be evaluated by a trained CGC evaluator in order to pass.


  1. Accepting a Friendly Stranger– Your dog will need to greet a friendly stranger without jumping up or showing fear or aggression

  2. Sitting Politely for Petting– Can your pup stay calm while being petted by a new person?

  3. Appearance and Grooming– Is your dog comfortable with strangers inspecting their ears or brushing them?

  4. Out for a Walk (walking on a loose lead)– Can your dog walk with you (instead of dragging you?!)

  5. Walking Through a Crowd– Austin is bustling, and your dog needs to confidently navigate through a group of people.

  6. Sit and Down on Cue and Stay in Place– Can your pup offer a sit or down and stay in place when cued?

  7. Coming When Called– Stay is great, but will your dog come back to you? This is especially important in a city filled with distractions like food trucks and squirrels!

  8. Reaction to Another Dog– Can your pup pass by another dog while keeping their cool?

  9. Reaction to Distractions– Will your pup stay calm even if there’s a loud noise or another big distraction?

  10. Supervised Separation– If you need to leave your pup with a friend while you grab a drink or hit the restroom, will your dog be ok away from you?


Once your dog successfully passes all 10 test items, they’ll be awarded the Canine Good Citizen certificate. This makes it “official” and your pup will get to show off their VIP status.

Why Should I Take the Canine Good Citizen Test? 


  • It’s a great way to make sure your dog is ready for public outings like patio dining at some of your favorite Austin restaurants or bars

  • If you have a larger dog, having the CGC can help folks (like landlords) feel more confident that you have a dog who is polite 

  • It’s fun! The Canine Good Citizen test is a great bonding experience with you and your dog.


How Do I Pass the Canine Good Citizen Test? 

Easy! Take one of our 6-week CGC classes. If you haven’t already, we recommend doing a basic and intermediate manners class first.  


Our team of certified, positive reinforcement dog trainers know the ins and outs of the program and will help you and your dog reach your goals. We’ve seen dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages, and breeds excel in the Canine Good Citizen program. 


During the class, your pup will work on essential skills like walking politely on a leash, greeting new people, and dealing with distractions. 


Our Canine Good Citizen Program is listed in the Manners and Obedience Training Classes section of our website. 


Can Fearful or Reactive Dogs get their Canine Good Citizen? 

Most fearful or reactive dogs won’t be able to pass the CGC test, and that’s OK! 


Not all dogs (or humans) enjoy being around lots of people and noises. If you want to work on some manners with your pup, or if you need help with your dog’s fear or reactivity, we’re happy to help with private training.

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