Here at The Gentle Pit, we agree with American Kennel Club’s assertion “that all dogs can be good dogs,” even if they lack some manners. It’s just that attending training classes may be beneficial.
One of the most popular training courses is the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program. According to the AKC’s website, the program was established over 30 years ago and has had over 1 million participants, of both the human and canine variety.
The program, which consists of “ten basic skills that instill confidence and good manners,” is open to dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes. The initial training process can also be done in the comfort of your home, which is rather convenient in our current circumstances.
That being said, the AKC recommends going to in-person classes to “ensure your dog has proper socialization and expert training.”
Participating in the program has a myriad of benefits. For one, your pooch will be taught many skills that will improve their overall behavior. The AKC also claims that the program will “deepen your bond” with your dog, allowing you to “become a more connected pair” and “the best companions for each other.” In addition, there is a good chance that your dog will have an easier time becoming a therapy dog if they have a CGC title, as it is sometimes a prerequisite.
PetHelpful noted that for your pooch to become a Canine Good Citizen, they must take 10 skill-based tests in the presence of a professional evaluator. The tests range from “accepting a friendly stranger” to “walking through a crowd’ to “supervised separation.” It should be noted that a dog “must pass each of [the] 10 various ‘tests’” to qualify for the title.
The publication recommended that pup parents seek out a professional instructor before your dog takes the test. If you attempt to train on your own, be sure to review the AKC evaluator's guide.
As noted by the AKC, once your pooch passes the test, you will go over “and sign the CGC Responsible Dog Owners Pledge.” The Pledge can be found here.
While not necessary, owners are also encouraged to have their dogs retake the test about every other year, so that they can be sure that their dog has retained the information from the initial training period.