To earn Canine Good Citizen certification, a dog must pass ten tests that will display that the dog has the skills needed to be a good member of society. These tests require a basic level of dog obedience. Today, Stefani Fortney talks about the first two tests of the CGC and explores some ways to prepare for them.
Dog Obedience Tips
Test 1: Accepting A Friendly Stranger
According to CGC guidelines as stated by the AKC: “This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness.”
In everyday terms, this test will prove that your dog is not a danger or annoyance to a friendly John Doe who may approach you and your dog. No growling, snapping, shying away, over excitement or other naughty behaviors are allowed. While your pup doesn’t have to be perfect, he is expected to be well-mannered and unafraid.
The best way to prepare your pooch for this test is to socialize him around all different types of people from a young age, making sure that his interactions are positive. Teach him to sit and relax anytime you come to a standstill on walks, and reward him for staying calm while you interact with other people. Accepting a friendly stranger is a great foundation of dog obedience that comes in handy in many situations. [Tweet “prepare your pooch for this test is to socialize him around all different types of people from a young age”]
If your dog is already nervous around strangers, talk to a trainer or behaviorist about working on desensitization and counter-conditioning to situations that make your pup uncomfortable.
Test 2: Sitting Politely For Petting
The CGC guidelines describe Test 2 as follows: “This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler’s side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place while it is being petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.”
While not every dog enjoys being touched by strangers, being able to tolerate that touch is a requirement for any dog who earns the CGC certification. When someone, who doesn’t understand that touching an unfamiliar dog is rude, approaches your and your dog, sitting politely for petting ensures the safety of the public
For this test, it’s another case of providing your pup with both socialization and basic dog obedience. Dogs who are gently and positively touched by all sorts of people when they are young are more likely to enjoy, rather than fear, the touch of strangers throughout their lives. Combining positive socialization and obedience training when meeting with strangers becomes a happy experience for all involved. Teaching your pup to sit before receiving attention and pets ensures that everyone has a good time when meeting Rover.
Once again, if your dog already associates meeting strangers with fear or anxiety, contact a professional to help figure out a desensitization and counter-conditioning protocol for him. To speak to Stefani about testing or to sign up for the Canine Good Citizen Prep course, call Guthrie Pet Hospital at (405) 282-8796. Need help finding a trainer read Four tips to finding the right dog trainer. or book an appointment today with Stefani Fortney for one-on-one behavioral training.
Check out the rest of the Canine Good Citizen Test series:
- AKC Canine Good Citizen: Encouraging Responsible Ownership and Well-mannered Dogs
- Preparing For AKC Canine Good Citizen Stage 3 & 4
- Basic Obedience: Canine Good Citizen Stage 5 & 6
- Canine Good Citizen Stages 7 & 8: Coming When Called and Reaction To Another Dog