Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Aiming for Canine Good Citizen Certification

“I lived with a basenji once. I had no idea they could be good citizens.”

That was one of the first comments that popped up from a friend when I posted in my Facebook status update that Bow and I were planning to give it a go to work towards the Canine Good Citizen certification. Almost immediately I also received positive, supportive comments from my BRAT friends (most of whom I’ve yet to meet in person but have been supportive during my first year in the land of basenjis).

Bow and I have made great progress during our first nine months together, and most of the learning has been mine not hers, I think. And it was the idea of our trainer to try for the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program. As a whole, the ten tests can look a bit intimidating. But Emma, our trainer, is convinced Bow (and even I) have what it takes to ultimately pass the tests. In reality, the first seven tests have already been achieved during our journey together thus far.

The two that we still need to master are number 8 (reaction to another dog) and number 9 (reaction to a distraction). We’ve made progress on both. Bow no longer starts biting the leash when she sees a dog from the distance, and with a little coaxing she can not stress out over distractions. It’s just not all distractions at this point. We have the basenji challenge of living down the street from the busiest skateboard park in North America.

But inch by inch, class by class, dog by dog, we are making progress. I’d be interested to hear from others who’ve attempted the CGC program and their successes, setback and suggestions along the way.


  1. Greg - It CAN be done! I have two basenjis - a 4 yr old r/w boy & a 5 yr old tri BRAT girl - who BOTH have taken and passed the CGC test. The test instructor was very amused initially that we wanted to try, but was also very impressed when we eventually graduated - not 1, but 2 - stubborn hounds through the program.

    So, I applaud your efforts and Bow will make a fine addition to the CGC pack. I have even explored therapy dog certification for my boy because LOVES people so much, but I'm the one who's still a work-in-progress on that! Be patient and Bow will pass with flying colors - all basenjis know HOW to be good citizens, its just a matter of whether they WANT to be or not!

  2. Both of my red and white females are Canine Good Citizens. Good luck to you and Bow. I'm sure you'll do great !