The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program, developed by the American Kennel Club (AKC), is a well-recognized standard of behavior for dogs and their owners. Advanced Canine Good Citizen training takes the principles and skills learned in the basic CGC program to a higher level, focusing on more complex behaviors and mastery in diverse settings. This training not only solidifies a dog’s obedience and manners but also prepares them for more challenging environments and situations.
The journey to advanced CGC training begins with the mastery of the basic CGC skills. These include accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, appearance and grooming, walking on a loose lead, walking through a crowd, sit and down on command and staying in place, coming when called, reaction to another dog, reaction to distraction, and supervised separation. Once these skills are firmly in place, advanced training can begin.
Advanced CGC training emphasizes the dog’s ability to behave well in more challenging and distracting environments. This includes responding to commands in busy public spaces, behaving politely around other animals, and remaining calm in the face of distractions like loud noises or sudden movements. The aim is to ensure the dog is not just obedient in a controlled environment but also in the real world where unpredictability is the norm.
One of the key components of advanced CGC training is strengthening the dog’s recall, stay, and leave it commands. These commands are crucial for a dog’s safety and are tested under increasingly difficult conditions. For instance, the dog must come when called despite significant distractions and must be able to stay in place even when the owner is out of sight.
Another important aspect is the dog’s ability to navigate through crowded and busy areas while maintaining good manners. This includes not jumping on people, not reacting aggressively to other dogs, and not picking up or eating food found on the ground. This level of discipline requires consistent practice and positive reinforcement.
Socialization plays a critical role in advanced CGC training. Dogs must learn to interact appropriately with a wide range of people, including children and individuals with disabilities, as well as with other animals. This involves regular exposure to diverse groups of people and animals in a variety of settings, always ensuring positive and controlled experiences.
A significant part of advanced CGC training is the emphasis on the handler’s responsibility and understanding of dog behavior. Owners learn to read their dog’s body language and signals, anticipate their reactions in different scenarios, and respond appropriately. This not only enhances the bond between the dog and the owner but also ensures responsible pet ownership.
Advanced CGC training also prepares dogs for potential roles as therapy animals, where calmness, obedience, and friendly demeanor are essential. Dogs that successfully complete advanced CGC training are often well-suited for therapy work, providing comfort and support in settings like hospitals, schools, and nursing homes.
In conclusion, Advanced Canine Good Citizen training is about cultivating a well-mannered, obedient, and adaptable dog. It goes beyond the basics to ensure that the dog behaves responsibly in a variety of settings and is a positive ambassador for its breed and all canines. This level of training requires commitment, patience, and understanding but results in a rewarding and enduring bond between dogs and their owners, and it prepares them to face the world with confidence and poise.