Why is a Canine Good Citizen class so important?

Client: “Toby is a bad dog. He jumps on people when they greet us. He pulls on the leash and doesn’t stay or come when called. What type of training can help us?”

Trainer: “Our CGC training program would do you both wonders.”

Recently many of our clients have been asking what is CGC and why should my dog be trained for it.  The American Kennel Club created the Canine Good Citizen program to demonstrate that all dogs and all owners are capable of learning basic manners both at home and in the community. The CGC Program started in 1989 and is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club, regardless of lineage, purebred or mixed, all dogs are trainable and qualify to meet the CGC standards.

Canine Good Citizen makes for a great first step in training your dog. Over the years, the CGC Program has expanded. The CGC Puppy S.T.A.R. Program is a terrific way for to get to know your puppy and get started on the right track for a well-behaved, well-socialized dog.  Recently the CGC Program has added a program called Urban CGC. This is designed for owners with dogs in urban areas and focuses on training the dog along busy sidewalks, with traffic noises, ignoring food on sidewalks, and crossing the street properly, even entering and exiting public buildings, stairs and elevators.  The CGC Community is another way to train with your dog in a more suburban setting.

At Alaska Dog Works we recommend the AKC family of CGC Programs for all of our clients. We utilize the original CGC Program as the first point of training for dogs who attend our Camp Program, DAWGs Program and our Lead Dog Service Dog Program. Just as the AKC says, we believe that dogs who have a solid obedience education are a joy to live with-they respond well to household routines, have good manners in the presence of people and other dogs, and they fully enjoy the company of the owner who took the time to provide training, intellectual stimulation, and a high quality life. (akc.org)


Michele Forto is the lead trainer at Alaska Dog Works and specializes in service dogs. She can be reached at 907-841-1603 and you can follow her on Twitter at @micheleforto