What is the Canine Good Citizenship test?
The Canine Good Citizenship test is a 10-part examination, designed by the American Kennel Club, to demonstrate a dog’s ability to be a respected member of the community. This is especially useful, given the fact that many apartment buildings are requiring their future canine residents to come in for interviews. This pertains as much to rentals as it does for co-ops.
While Therapy Dogs International and the Delta Society require all potential therapy dogs pass this test before applying for membership and registration, owners will be required to sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge in which they agree to take care of their dog’s health needs, safety, exercise, training, quality of life as well as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others.
Your dog must appear for the test well groomed and the examiner will also try to brush the dog him or herself, so the dog needs to show the examiner that she’ll allow others to brush and groom her and will sit calmly while a stranger pets her.
Then the examiner will want to know that she’s had some formal obedience training and will give her some basic commands such as “Sit/Stay” and “Down/Stay” or “Come.”
Your dog must also be socialized, whether it’s greeting a friendly stranger or interacting with other animals. The examiner will approach you and shake hands. Your dog should accept the approach calmly, without shyness or aggression or jumping or showing other signs of over-enthusiasm. In addition, two handlers and their dogs will approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands, converse a little and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.
While a formal heel isn’t required, your dog must be able to walk without pulling on its leash, negotiating crowds and objects such as umbrellas or crutches. Your dog should not pull at the leash, jump at the people, show either fear or aggression or be distracted in any way.