(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
The American Kennel Club (AKC), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, is celebrating one million dogs passing their AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test. The millionth dog to pass the test was a Bernese Mountain Dog named Fiona who is owned by Nora Pavone from Brooklyn, N.Y. Fiona attended instructor Kate Naito’s CGC classes at Brooklyn’s Doggie Academy as the initial step toward her future role as a grief therapy dog in nursing homes.
“We are very proud of Fiona and the other hundreds of thousands of dogs that have passed the CGC test,” said Mary Burch, PhD, director of the Canine Good Citizen Program. “Many of these dogs go on for additional training to make a difference in the lives of others.”
Started in 1989, AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and good manners for dogs. The 10-step test consists of basic commands and actions like accepting a friendly stranger, sitting, staying, coming when called, walking through a crowd, and behaving politely around other dogs, among others. All dogs who pass the test may receive a certificate from the AKC.
“A million CGC dogs is an amazing milestone. The program has done so much good, from helping dog owners teach their pet good manners to rehabilitating dogs that have had behavioral issues,” said Doug Ljungren, executive vice president of AKC Sports & Events. “CGC instructors can be justifiably proud of the great work they have done for dogs and their owners.”
The Canine Good Citizen Program has been adopted and utilized for many activities that require basic good citizen behavior. CGC training and titles are used as a prerequisite by therapy dog groups. Many service dog organizations start their dogs with CGC training, and shelter organizations are utilizing the “CGC Ready” program to demonstrate that their rescue dogs are good citizens. Several dog daycare facilities train dogs for the test and 4-H clubs around the country have been using CGC as a beginning dog training program. Other countries (including Korea, India, England, Australia, Japan, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Canada and Finland) have developed CGC programs based on the AKC’s Program.
Legislative Resolutions endorsing the CGC program as a way of teaching responsible dog ownership and canine good manners have been passed in 48 states, and police and animal control agencies use the CGC program for dealing with dog problems in communities. In addition, some homeowner’s insurance companies encourage CGC testing, and an increasing number of apartments, condos and businesses require that resident dogs pass the CGC test.
More information about the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program can be found at https://www.akc.org/products-services/training-programs/canine-good-citizen/.
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)