Testing for Canine Good Citizen Certification

You can now have your dog tested, for free, for the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification at our shelter. Dogs who pass certification will receive a gold star license tag. The CGC program stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners at home and in the community for dogs.

Benefits of certification

Training strengthens the bond you have with your dog and provides intellectual stimulation for the dog. Reinforcing basic good manners is part of being a responsible dog owner.

Other benefits of certification include:

  • Some landlords only accept CGC-certified dogs
  • Some homeowner's insurance companies offer discounts for CGC-certified dogs
  • CGC is a prerequisite for many therapy dog groups
  • Option to add Canine Good Citizen to your dog's title record
  • If AKC registered, the dog will include CGC letters after his/her name

Who can participate?

Any dog - whether purebred or mixed breed - is welcome to participate. In addition:

  • The dog must be old enough to have received necessary immunizations
  • The dog owner must sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge attesting to having the dog under the routine care of a veterinarian who will work with the owner to determine an appropriate plan and schedule for vaccines and other health care procedures.


You can train your dog yourself or attend training classes. Details about the training and finding classes are available from the AKC.

Certify your dog

To participate in free certification testing:

  • Verify your dog's current license with Dog Services before enrolling in the program.
  • Sign up at least 7 days in advance. Email us at dogcontrol@clackamas.us or call 503-655-8628. map
  • Prepare your dog for testing with training exercises. See test items below with videos. Some tips from our trainers:
    • Keep training short, positive and fun
    • Use praise and treats to reward behaviors you like
  • Test restrictions for treats, collars and harnesses
    • No treats can be used during the test, but you may use praise
    • No pinch, prong or shock collars
    • No head collars or training harnesses
    • You may use buckle or slip collars
    • Body harnesses are okay if nonrestrictive

The American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen program is recognized as the gold standard for dog behavior.

Canine Good Citizen test items and pledge

  1. Accept a friendly stranger
  2. Sit for petting
  3. Appearance/grooming
  4. Loose Leash Walking
  5. Walk through a crowd
  6. Sit and Down/Stay
  7. Come when called
  8. Reaction to another dog
  9. Reaction to distraction
  10. Supervised separation

Read the AKC Canine Good Citizen pledge.