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Urban Canine Good Citizen Test
AKC adds a new set of skills for city dwelling pups.
I've long wished that the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test would grant well behaved pets more privileges. Why should a few unruly pups ban all dogs from apartment complexes, parks, and other community spaces? It's not a magic solution, but it's a start. Since 1989, more than 700,000 dogs have passed the test, which requires pets to demonstrate manners such as sitting politely for petting and walking on a loose leash.

This month the AKC introduced a new level of the CGC test called the Urban Canine Good Citizen, which focuses on the special skills that city-dwelling dogs need. The Urban CGC can only be taken by dogs that already have their CGC certification and is comprised of ten parts in a public area:

  • Exiting/entering a doorway (of a dog friendly building) without pulling
  • Walking through a crowd on a busy urban sidewalk
  • Reacting appropriately to city distractions (horns, sirens, etc.)
  • Waiting on leash at a crosswalk and crossing the street under control
  • Ignoring food and food containers on sidewalk
  • Allowing a person to approach on a sidewalk and pet the dog
  • Staying in a 3-minute down in the lobby of a dog friendly building
  • Safely negotiating stairs and elevators
  • Being housetrained
  • Entering/exiting and riding dog-friendly transportation (car, subway in a carry bag, taxi)
The first Urban CGC test was administered by the Obedience Training Club of Palm Beach County at the pet friendly shopping mall CityPlace, where dogs had to walk by teenagers on skateboards, wait patiently while their handlers ate lunch at an outdoor cafe, and hop into a taxi. Moving the CGC test from the classroom to a public space also results in some good publicity for well behaved pups!
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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by vincent desjardins/flickr.

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