The American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen® Behaviors

Here are the 10 test items a dog must pass to earn the certification.

  1. Accepting a Friendly Stranger — Evaluator approaches handler, shakes hands and exchanges pleasantries. Evaluator ignores dog. Dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness and must not break position or try to go to the Evaluator.

  2. Sitting Politely for Petting — While the dog is sitting at the handler’s side, the Evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. Handler may talk to her dog. The dog may stand in place as she is being petted. The dog may not show shyness or resentment.

  3. Appearance and grooming — Shows that the dog welcomes being groomed/examined and will permit another person (groomer, friend, veterinarian) to do so. Evaluator inspects the dog to determine if she is clean and well-groomed. Evaluator softly combs or brushes the dog, lightly examines the ears and picks up each front foot. Handler may talk to and praise the dog during the examination.

  4. Out for a Walk (on a loose lead) — Demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog’s position on lead should leave to doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler’s movements and changes of direction. Evaluator will issue instructions for turns and stop.

  5. Walking through a Crowd — Demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler will walk around and pass close to several people. The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler w/o evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment.

  6. Sit and Down on Command and Staying in Place — This demonstrates that the dog has training and responds to the handler’s commands. Dog must do Sit and Down on command. Dog must be left in Stay (handler may choose the position) with the leash being replaced by a 20’ line. Handler walks to the end of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. Dog must hold stay.

  7. Coming when Called — The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog and call the dog. Handlers may choose to tell the dogs to ‘Stay’ or ‘Wait’.

  8. Reaction to another Dog —  Demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries and then proceed on their way. Dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other.

  9. Reaction to Distraction — This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. Evaluator will present 2 distractions: dropping a chair, rolling a crate past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness or bark.

  10. Supervised Separation — This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person and will maintain training and good manners.  Evaluator will say to the handler, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the leash. The owner will go out of sight for 3 minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not bark, whine, pace or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness.