Types of Training

Canine Good Citizen/Therapy Dog

The AKC's Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program, started in 1989, is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. The Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club. Both purebred and mixed breed dogs are eligible for the certificate. See www.akc.org/events/cgc/ for more information.

Therapy Dogs International, Inc. (TDI) is a volunteer group formed in the late 1970s so that dogs could be certified, insured and registered as volunteer Therapy Dogs. The primary objective of the TDI dog and handler is to provide comfort and companionship by sharing the dog with the patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions and wherever else the Therapy Dog is needed. This is done in a way that increases emotional well being, promotes healing, and improves the quality of life for the people being visited and the staff that cares for these people.

TDI's canine membership includes both purebred dogs and mixed breed dogs. All dogs are tested and evaluated for Therapy Dog work by Certified TDI Evaluators. The TDI test is based upon the AKC's CGC test, and also includes the evaluation of the dog's behavior around people with the use of some type of service equipment (wheelchairs, crutches, etc.). See www.tdi-dog.org/ for more information.

PCOTC offers both CGC and TDI tests at its annual obedience and rally trial in October, and also gives the tests six times per year as the last class of our Good Citizen and Therapy Dog Training class. Please note that a formal training class is not required in order to take either test; however, some handlers find the preparation helpful in readying a dog for the tests. We have several types of medical equipment (wheelchair, crutches, etc.) at our facility to help the dogs become acclimated to them.

While many dogs can learn to handle the distractions of medical equipment and people with different abilities, there is one aspect of therapy dog work that cannot be taught: the dog's natural temperament. The dog must truly like people and like being around them at close quarters.

The CGC test asks the dog to

  1. Accept a friendly stranger.
  2. Sit politely for petting.
  3. Welcome being groomed and examined by a stranger.
  4. Walk on a loose leash.
  5. Walk through a crowd.
  6. Sit and down on command, and stay in place.
  7. Come when called.
  8. Behave politely around other dogs.
  9. Remain confident when faced with common distracting situations.
  10. Maintain its training and good manners when left with a trusted person for a supervised separation.

The TDI portion of the test adds medical equipment and loose leash walking past food on the ground, and tests the dog's reaction when exposed to people walking with an uneven gait, shuffling, breathing heavily, wheezing or other distractions that may be encountered in a facility.

Note: In our online registration system, CGC/TDI classes are included with Family Manners.

From top, therapy dogs at work.
Above, TDI test.