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What is the “Canine Good Citizen” test?

The KUSA Canine Good Citizen Scheme is a non-competitive means of evaluating the level at which dogs have been trained and socialised by their owners. Canine Good Citizen is divided into three levels of difficulty: Bronze, Silver and Gold. While the bronze test covers very basic obedience and socialising exercises, the silver and gold require that dogs are trained to a higher standard and that owners have good control over them in all circumstances. The tests are as follows:



1. Grooming - the dog must accept brushing and handling of the ears and feet.
2. Collar and lead - the dog must accept having a collar and lead fitted.
3. Present for examination - dog must accept a basic vet exam
4. Praise/presentation - the owner must be able to excite and then calm the dog.
5. Release from lead and recall - the owner must be able to recall the dog after playing off the lead.
6. Walking on a loose lead - dog must be able to do a very basic heel pattern
7. Reaction to distractions - the dog must remain calm in the face of distractions like a bicycle or wheelchair
8. Pass through a door/gate - the dog must walk through a door or gate without shying away.
9. Reaction to another dog - two handlers and their dogs must meet and shake hands without the dogs interfering with each other in any way.

10. Walk on lead passing people and dogs - the dog and handler must walk around a group of people and dogs without any negative reaction from the dog.
11. Accepting a stranger -The dog must accept a stranger greeting the owner and then patting the dog.
12. Down Stay - the dog must be able to perform a short “down-stay” without being forced into position.
13. Supervised isolation - the dog must remain calm while it is left under the evaluator’s supervision and the owner goes out of sight for a brief time.

1. Play with dog - This is to demonstrate that the dog is relaxed enough with the owner to engage in play and has not been trained with force and intimidation.
2. Road Work - Heelwork performed with the distractions of cars and pedestrians.
3. Rejoin Handler - recall from 10 paces away
4. Stay in one place - 2 minute stay in sit or down position
5. Vehicle Control - Dog must enter and exit a vehicle in a calm manner.
6. Come away form distractions - the dog must follow the owner through and away from a group of people and dogs while off the lead.
7. Controlled greeting - the dog must not jump up when someone greets the dog and owner.
8. Food Manners - the dog must not try to snatch food from the judge.
9. Examination of the dog - The dog must submit to a thorough “vet” exam.
10. Care and responsibility - the owner must answer questions on basic care and responsibilities of having a dog - information is provided in this regard in the test booklet.



1. Road Walk - walk on a loose lead with normal, fast and slow pace on a public road
2. Return to handler’s side - “A level” recall to heel position
3. Walk free besides handler - Off-lead heel pattern
4. Down stay with out of sight - 2 minute down stay with handler out of sight for 30 seconds
5. Send the dog to a mat - Send away and down the dog at 10 paces to mat or item of clothing
6. Stop the dog at a distance - dog must stop at command when at a distance of at least 10 paces
7. Relaxed isolation - dog must remain fairly relaxed when left alone for 5 or 10 minutes
8. Leave food on command - the dog must leave food which is placed in his bowl or on the ground until the handler gives permission for the dog to take it
9. Examination of the dog - vet exam
10. Care and Responsibility - more questions on responsible ownership (vaccinations, by-laws etc)


At all levels of the test the dog is marked with “pass” or “not ready” for each exercise that he performs. If the dog only fails to pass one or two exercises, the owner may keep the test sheet and will only have to complete the exercises marked “not ready” at the next evaluation.


Once a dog has completed all the exercise satisfactorily, the owner will be issued with a KUSA rosette and certificate of achievement. The Canine Good Citizen qualifications are recognized internationally and are a requirement for dogs entering the Pets as Therapy programme. (Pets as Therapy dogs visit patients in various institutions with their owners, in order to provide enrichment to the lives of those who cannot have their own pets.)


In Canine Good Citizen the emphasis is on having a well-rounded dog that is a pleasure to live with and to take out in public. It is an enjoyable test to undergo with your dog, because there is no pressure to “win”, but just to pass the exercises satisfactorily. Achieving the various levels of the Canine Good Citizen provides owners with recognition for the time and effort they have put into training and socialising their dogs.




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