The AKC’s Community Canine (CGCA) program is open to all ages of dogs (pups must have all their inoculations) and to both purebreds and mixed breeds. It’s the advanced level of CGC. CGCA actually stands for Canine Good Citizen – Advanced. While the CGC tests are simulations of real world skills (such as your dog walking on loose lead through a “crowd” in group class), the Community Canine tests are meant to be more real world. So, your dog will be loose lead walking through a real life crowd instead of a simulation. The goal of Community Canine is to test the dog’s skills in a natural setting. As with the CGC test, there are 10 items that the dog must pass. Here’s what your dog will be evaluated for. (Most of the information below courtesy of the AKC.)
Test 1: Dog stands, sits, or lies down and waits under control while the owner:
- sits at the registration table and fills out paperwork, or,
- if the test is done in the community, dog waits while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with
another person (e.g., at a park)
Test 2: Loose-lead walking
Dog walks on a loose leash in a natural setting (not in a ring), does not pull, and keeps up with the handler during:
- Left turn
- Right turn
- Fast pace
- Slow pace
Test 3: Walks on loose leash through crowd
- At a show or in class, this item is tested in a real crowd, not in a ring
- In the community, dog walks on sidewalk, through a crowd at a community fair, park, on a trail, through a busy hallway, etc.
Test 4: Dog walks past distraction dogs present and does not pull
This item may be tested along with #3 if there are dogs in the crowd, etc.
- At a show or class, dog walks by dogs waiting in the crowd–dogs 2 ft. apart
- In the community, dog walks by other dogs on a trail, sidewalk, in a hallway, etc.
Test 5: Sit-stay in small group (3 other people with dogs)
Owners and dogs are in an informal circle/square while owners have a conversation. Dogs are all on the owner’s left side, on leash; 3 ft. apart. (At least 30 seconds)
Test 6: Dog allows person who is carrying something to approach and pet it
“May I pet your dog?” (Item such as backpack, computer bag, etc is placed on floor/ground before the person pets the dog)
Test 7: Leave It
Dog walks by food and follows owner instructions to “Leave it.”This can be food placed by the evaluator on the floor or ground in a food dish.
Test 8: Down-stay or sit-stay (owner’s choice) – Distance
Dog is on 20 foot line, owner cues dog to sit-stay or down-stay, then walks away with back to dog, picks up an item (e.g., backpack, training bag, clipboard, folder etc.) placed on the floor/chair/ground by the evaluator and returns to the dog.
Test 9: Recall with distractions
Handler goes out 20 feet (off center) and calls dog. Dog is on the 20 foot line from #8 above.
Test 10: Going through doors
Dog will sit-stay or stand-stay (owner’s choice) while owner enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway. Owner calls dog through door when ready. Owner may also choose to 1) send the dog through first and have the dog wait for the owner, or 2) the owner may choose to have the dog go through the doorway at the owner’s side. Whichever method is used, the dog must not pull the owner and must be under good control. Doorway or gate can be real or simulated with ring gates, two chairs, or a natural passageway in the community.
All tests must be performed on leash. Dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars (including martingales) or body harnesses. Body harnesses should not restrict the movement of the dog. Special training equipment such as pinch collars and head collars are not permitted. The leash should be made of either leather or fabric. Retractable leashes may not be used in the test.
We recognize that special training collars may be valuable equipment in the beginning stages of dog training, however, we feel that dogs are ready to be tested after they have been transitioned to a slip or buckle collar (body harnesses are also acceptable). If an evaluator is teaching classes and does not feel comfortable with one of the permitted collars, students may be required to take the test in the type of collar used in class (as long as it is permitted by AKC for testing).
Handlers are not permitted to use food as a reward during the AKC Community Canine Test. While we recognize that food can be an effective reinforcer during training, it should not be used in the test. As with CGC, the purpose of the AKC Community Canine test is to determine if the dog relates to the owner and if it can be controlled without food. Handlers may talk to their dogs and provide praise throughout the test. The test items should be in as natural, realistic format as possible.
Failures – Dismissals
Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed.
Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or another dog is not a good citizen and must be dismissed from the test.