Ah, dogs. These loyal companions bring us so much joy in life, from prancing around at the dog park to greeting us with a wagging tail after a long day of work. But our furry friends are also capable of learning so much more than “sit” or “stay.” In fact, you can train your dog to earn a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification. This title will not only help you bond with and train your dog, but it may also save their lives in the future!
Start with a Dog
The first step in the process is to choose your dog. You should consider a dog that is happy, healthy and well-behaved. Your dog should be the right age (at least six months old) and size for its breed. You want a dog that will be happy living with you and other pets in your home.
You may also want to consider whether you’re ready for a young puppy or an older adult dog who knows some basic commands. It’s easier to train an adult than it is to train a puppy because adults have less energy than puppies do–which means they’ll likely be calmer and more willing learners when you’re trying to teach them new things like walking on leash or coming when called!
Enroll in a Class
It’s time to sign up for a class. Our puppies are only 6 months old and we’re already getting them ready for the CGC test, but if you have an older dog that doesn’t know any commands, try in-person lessons before tackling it alone at home.
There are many benefits of training classes: They provide structure and help build good habits; they help you meet other people who love their dogs as much as you do; most importantly, they give you an opportunity to learn how best to train your pup based on its needs and personality type. Classes also provide an excellent way for new owners who may not have had experience taking care of dogs before (like us!) to get some basic education about what’s expected from our furry friends.
Practice, Practice, Practice
If you want your dog to be the best he can be, you need to practice. You’re not going to get it right on the first try, or even the fifth or sixth. You must keep trying until your dog understands what you want from him.
Try not to get discouraged if he doesn’t understand a command at first or second or third or fourth. Just keep practicing until he understands what’s expected of him, and then keep practicing some more so that he won’t forget it!
Be patient with yourself and with your dog–don’t give up before you’ve given it a good shot!
Review and Reinforce Basic Commands
- Sit: The dog should sit when told, even if the handler is not seated.
- Down: The dog should lie down when told to and remain there until released.
- Stay: The dog must stay with the handler at all times without any action from the handler to call it back, except for a single verbal release command and only then after “heel” has been taught.
- Visit a shelter. There are many dogs available for adoption, and they all have different temperaments and personalities. You will find some that seem to be perfect for your family, but how do you know if they are trained?
- If you know the breed of dog you want, go to the shelter where there are lots of those breeds. This way, if one particular animal does not seem like it would fit in with your family or is not already trained for basic commands like sit, stay and come when called upon by name (which is required by the Humane Society), you can move on from that one quickly without wasting too much time looking at all possible options before finding out whether or not this is indeed what was meant for you!
Learn Your Way Around the Test
The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test is a certification process that you can take with your dog. It’s designed to set dogs up for success in the real world, and to reward those who have learned good manners at home. The program is broken up into three parts:
- Manners (dominant behavior, jumping up on people or furniture, housebreaking)
- Obedience (sitting when being called by name, walking on a leash without pulling or lunging)
- Socialization (approaching strangers confidently, interacting with other dogs).
Evaluate Your Dog’s Personality
The first step in training your dog is to evaluate his or her personality. Take into consideration the breed of your dog, as each breed has its own unique traits and characteristics. For example, if you have a sweet-natured Maltese who loves everyone, don’t expect that same temperament from a Siberian Husky whose breed was originally bred to guard livestock.
Whether your dog is just a family pet or you’re interested in taking things to a higher level and competing in canine sports, you should consider training your dog to be a Canine Good Citizen.
Whether your dog is just a family pet or you’re interested in taking things to a higher level and competing in canine sports, you should consider training your dog to be a Canine Good Citizen. The CGC test is an important way for owners to evaluate their dogs’ training, temperament, and obedience skills.
The Canine Good Citizen Program was created by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as an alternative certification program for well-trained dogs that weren’t necessarily interested in being show dogs or performing tricks at competitions.
Once everything checks out okay—and assuming that it does—you’ll have earned yourself a single certificate which serves as proof of having completed all 10 sections successfully!
Are you ready to get started? If so, we recommend enrolling in a training class near you. You’ll learn valuable tips and techniques that will help your dog become the best he can be. Remember though, patience is key! It may take some time before your dog is ready to pass all 10 parts of the Canine Good Citizen test. The important thing is that you’re having fun with it and showing him lots of love along the way.