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CGC is not “Service Dog”

By Guest Author, Barbara Handelman, M.Ed., CDBC

Passing the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test is a worthy goal and a significant accomplishment for pet owners.  Well-socialized dogs with basic obedience training are more apt to live out their lives in loving homes, and are less likely to be rehomed or surrendered to shelters.

Guide dog

Passing the CGC test does not give dogs the right to go into places of public accommodation (restaurants, public transportation, stores, hospitals, etc.) where pets are not allowed. Having an AKC (American Kennel Club) Canine Good Citizen Title does not qualify a pet to be a service dog.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service dog as a dog that has been “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities”.  In the “The ADA Glossary of Terms” ( disability is defined as: a condition that causes “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities” of a disabled person. To be a service dog, the animal must perform skills or assist with tasks that mitigate some aspect of the person’s disability. A complete guide to federal regulations applying to service dogs can be found at:


Read the entire post Here .


It’s NEVER too late to train your dog!

Meet Merin: 13-Year-Old Golden Retriever Earns CGC (From this month’s CGC newsletter.)
From   Merin’s Owner: Sharon Bollinger and family
Our Golden Retriever, Merin, is now 13 1/2 years young. We have had him since he was 15-months-old when he was released from the Canine Companions for   Independence program from which he was being trained to work with a handicapped child.


Merin injured his leg while playing with a fellow dog also being trained for CCI and didn’t show improvement over the next several months. When it was time for him to be “released” from the program, my husband and I happily agreed to take Merin as a beloved pet under the condition that we would go through whatever rehab it took to get Merin back in the best shape possible with his injury.


Merin has served a tremendous purpose right in our own home, being a beloved companion to each of our five children. He is smarter than smart. But when an   opportunity came up to use him to read with Autistic and low level readers in the schools, my heart jumped. What a perfect way for Merin to get back to work! He still has that spark, and a genuine love for people, all people. He is old and wise, and has so much to offer young students who need acceptance and love. Merin passed the Canine Good Citizen test with flying colors and now looks forward to going into the schools where he will give as much love as he receives. Bark on, Merin! You ROCK!!

CGC as a Title

As of January 1, 2013, Canine Good Citizen® will become an  official AKC title that can appear on the title records of dogs registered or  listed with AKC. Dog owners who complete  the CGC as a Title process may list the suffix “CGC” after the dog’s name.

Since the program began in 1989, CGC™ has been considered an  “award,” meaning that it has not been listed on a dog’s title record.

As a result of frequent, ongoing requests from dog owners  and instructors for AKC to recognize CGC as a title, dog owners will have the  option of having CGC added to their dog’s title record and appear as a part of  the dog’s titled name.

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