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Big City Dogs Can Now Earn The Urban Canine Good Citizen Title

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Who’s a good city boy? Well, if it’s your furry guy and he can prove it to the outside world he may just qualify for the new Urban Canine Good Citizen (UCGC) test established by the American Kennel Club!

Yes, good behavior goes a long way with this group and your pooch will be rewarded with more than just a treat and a head scratch when he completes his CGC. He’ll get a certificate worthy of a Harvard law graduate and then he’ll have the opportunity to prove he’s got the right stuff manner-wise when it comes to interacting with city folk.

Related: Teach Your Dog To Be A Canine Good Citizen

Wondering if your dog is up to the challenge? First things first. To enroll in the Urban version of this program, your pup needs to have completed (and successfully graduated from) the two-part, 10-step CGC test that not only teaches him good manners but helps you become a more responsible pet parent.  The CGC award was established back in 1989 and since that time more than 700,000 dogs have passed the rather exacting requirements so no need to feel intimidated.

These tests are really just behaviors we would all want our dogs to exhibit: friendly to a stranger; sitting politely for petting; good grooming; walking well on a loose lead; not going nut-bar when he walks through a crowd; sitting and staying on command; coming when called; not over-reacting to other dogs; not being easily distracted; and displaying all of the above when in the care of another handler.

Related: Step Up To Dog Dancing

Now that your dog has his BA, let’s go for his Masters!

Similar to the CGC, the urban version has a 10-step test of skills that dogs must pass to earn the official AKC Urban CGC title. The skills are tested on leash and in an urban setting that includes passing cars, streets to be crossed, elevators to be ridden, noises and distractions. What your boy will need to accomplish while maintaining a calm, cool and collected demeanor include:

  • Exiting/entering a doorway without pulling
  • Walking through a crowd on a busy urban sidewalk
  • Reacting appropriately to city distractions (horns, sirens, bikes and skateboarders, 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 a building lobby
  • Safely negotiating stairs and elevators
  • Being housetrained
  • Entering/exiting and riding dog-friendly transportation (car, subway in a carry bag, taxi)

For pet parents just starting out with obedience training, both programs offer a great checklist of desirable skills and the new urban version is a no-brainer for those of us who want our pooches to feel as comfortable as we do living in the big city. And kids can get into the fun too – there are clubs across North American that offer courses just for kids and canines.

Are you and your pooch up to the challenge? Then head over to the AKC’s Urban Canine Good Citizen page to sign up or learn more about the program.

Mary SimpsonMary Simpson is a writer and communications professional from Port Credit, Ontario. A soft touch for anything stray, she shares her century home with an eclectic collection of rescues that include orange tabby Chico, tuxedo Simon, and jet black Owen. She enjoys running, politics, exploring the wine regions of Niagara and is an avid supporter of the “shop local” movement.


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