Understanding the Differences Between Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog Certification

As dog owners, we all want our furry companions to be well-behaved and make a positive impact on the world around us. Two programs that can help achieve this goal are Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and therapy dog certification. While they may seem similar, there are key differences between the two programs. Understanding these differences can help you decide which program is best for you and your dog.

Is Canine Good Citizen the same as therapy dog?

First, let's start with CGC. CGC is a certification program offered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) that recognizes dogs who have good manners at home and in public. The program includes a 10-step test that evaluates a dog's behavior and obedience in various situations. The test covers tasks such as accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, and walking on a loose leash. Dogs who pass the test are awarded a CGC certificate and can use the title "CGC" after their name.

On the other hand, therapy dog certification is a more specialized program that trains dogs to provide comfort and affection to people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other settings. Unlike CGC, therapy dog certification is not standardized and can be offered by a variety of organizations. Therapy dogs must be well-behaved and obedient, but they also need to be comfortable around people in different environments and able to handle the stresses of being in a therapeutic setting.

One of the main differences between CGC and therapy dog certification is the focus of the programs. CGC is primarily focused on obedience training and ensuring that dogs are well-behaved in public. Therapy dog certification, on the other hand, is focused on training dogs to provide comfort and support to people who need it.

Another difference is the process of certification. CGC certification is a one-time process that involves passing a test. Therapy dog certification is an ongoing process that requires additional training and evaluations. Therapy dogs and their handlers must renew their certification on a regular basis and continue to receive specialized training to work in different environments.

In conclusion, both Canine Good Citizen and therapy dog certification programs have their own unique focus and requirements. CGC is a great program for teaching dogs basic obedience skills and good manners in public, while therapy dog certification is ideal for dogs that have a calm, friendly temperament and enjoy interacting with people in therapeutic settings. Understanding the differences between these programs can help you determine which one is right for you and your furry companion.