Canine Good Citizen Test
and Therapy Dogs

Ch. Belle has worked more than 1000 Therapy hours!

Both the CGC Program and Therapy Dog Programs are activities within the reach of almost any well-behaved Wire Fox Terrier. CGC helps promote a positive image of dogs in general and of our Wires specifically. The test is not difficult and will make your dog welcome almost anywhere you go..

Once you and your dog complete the Canine Good Citizen Test, you might like to work toward your Therapy Dog title.  It is valuable volunteer work that allows you and your Wire to work together as a team.

Both programs are described in detail below.


The Canine Good Citizen Program

 The AKC's Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program was intiated in 1989. Known as CGC, it is a certification program designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. You can read more about it on the AKC website:

The Yankee Golden Retriever website ( ) describes it like this:

"Owning a dog has certainly become more complicated in the past twenty years. "Anti-dog legislation" prohibiting ownership of specific breeds in certain municipalities, no pets housing and the proliferation of "NO DOGS ALLOWED" signs in public places are just a few of the hurdles to be overcome by those who wish to own a canine companion.

In an effort to promote responsible dog ownership, The American Kennel Club conducts the Canine Good Citizen program to demonstrate that dogs, as companions of man, can be respected members of the community. The goals of the program are to educate dog owners about the benefits of well-behaved pets and demonstrate to the general public that dogs can be upstanding members in the community.

The Canine Good Citizen Program consists of a ten-step test which reproduces everyday situations which might be encountered by a dog and owner. The test is not competitive--each dog and owner team are individually assessed on a pass/fail basis for each of the steps. Dogs passing all ten steps receive a certificate from the AKC and are officially awarded the Canine Good Citizen title which gives the owner the right to use the letters "CGC" after his/her dog's name. "


Therapy Dogs

Ch. Dakota's Fire On Mt. Bryton visiting a nursing home.

Many Wire Fox Terriers would make wonderful therapy dogs. They are the right size and seem to instinctually know to be gentle and calm with the sick and elderly. However, if you are interested in having your Wire qualify to be a therapy dog, you must first have it pass the Canine Good Citizen Test. Many dog training clubs and facilities offer both CGC training and testing, but here are the basics your dog will need to know.


Therapy Dogs International, Inc.

What Do TDI Dogs Do?

From the TDI website: "The dogs bring sparkle to a sterile day, provide a lively subject for conversation, and rekindle old memories of previously owned pets.  TDI Dogs come in all shapes and sizes; real dogs with real personalities and real love to share. Some have pedigrees, some have been adopted. All are very proud to wear their TDI tags.

The volunteers in  the  program  and  the  dogs  who  visit   with  those in care facilities do make a difference in the quality of life. Real therapy is provided between animals and people.

The first time a dog prances into a care facility, most people do a double take.  A split second later broad smiles stretch across faces.  Regardless of how residents look or how they feel, the animals are happy to see them.  Those who live or must stay in a care facility truly benefit from the unconditional love and acceptance provided by TDI Dogs.  Typically, there is an immediate response to the tail wagging greetings and warm paws.

Four-footed therapists give something special to enhance the health and well-being of others. It has been clinically proven that through petting, touching and talking with the animals, patients’ blood pressure is lowered, stress is relieved and depression is eased."

Therapy dog, Miss Daisy, owned by Sue Placer

Sue's Wires are accomplished therapy dogs and together, they give amazing service. This is Sue's message about the work they do:

"Fox Terriers are excellent in doing Rehab therapy.  My WFT'S do therapy with brain injury patients ,those recovering from accidents, heart attacks and strokes and  sometimes with amputees.  People that have suffered a brain injury generally need to re-learn basic functions,  Therapists normally use putting rings on a stick or clothes pins on a bar to help with fine motor function. Many patients refuse to do these tasks as they seem childish and demeaning, already depressed because of their condition it is hard to motivate them.  But ask them to brush the Wire fox terrier's harsh coat, attach and re-attach a lead's clasp to a collar or walk with the dog and suddenly they have a reason. Amputees or stroke patient often do not want to try to walk...but ask them to push the dog down the hall in their own wheelchair and  they do, showing off to others along the way, forgetting that they are ...walking!  They are DOING something.  These small dogs fit easily on an over the bed table, in a wheelchair and because of their love of people and small a lap!  The fact that they are tidy animals that don't shed is a plus in a hospital setting. Ex-show dogs are even better suited than most as they have had many hands on them and have faced countless distractions.  The dogs love doing this work and if you could see how the patients faces light up you would know how important their jobs are!
 There are  several national organizations that certify dogs for therapy work, Therapet International and Delta Society are just two.  The dogs have to show some obedience like sitting and lying down....amazingly they learn to scoot  across tables and mats  on their own. Of course no  aggression towards patients, withstand harsh brushing from uncertain hands, ride in elevators without fears, and most of all be fairly oblivious to the noises and routine hustle and bustle  of a hospital environment ."


* TDI Requirements are displayed in italics

Test 1: Accepting a Friendly Stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation.  The Evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries.  The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the Evaluator. 

The dog must be tested around medical equipment (cush as a wheelchair, crutches, cane, walker, or other devices which would ordinarily be found in a facility) to judge the dog's reactions to common health care equipment. At the discretion of the evaluator, this part of the test may be included in any of the following tests: 2, 3, 5, or 9.


Test 2: Sitting Politely for Petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler.  The dog should sit at the handler’s side as the Evaluator approaches and begins to pet the dog on the head and body only.  The dog may stand in place to accept petting.  The dog must not show shyness or resentment.


Test 3: Appearance and Grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit a stranger, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so.  It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and sense of responsibility.  The Evaluator inspects the dog, then combs or brushes the dog, and lightly examines the ears and each front foot.


Test 4: Out For a Walk
(Walking on a Loose Leash)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog.  The dog can be on either side of the handler, whichever the handler prefers.  There must be a left turn, a right turn and an about turn, with at least one stop in between and another at the end.  The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops.


Test 5: Walking Through a Crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places.  The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three).  The dog may show some interest in the strangers, without appearing over exuberant, shy or resentful.  The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test.  The dog should not be straining at the leash.


Test 6: Sit and Down on Command/Staying in Place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s command to sit and down, and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers).  The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to make the dog sit and then down.  When instructed by the Evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of a 20-foot line.  The dog must remain in place, but may change positions. 


Test 7: Coming when Called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler.  The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog.  The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come.  Handlers may choose to tell the dog to “stay” or  “wait,” or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog as the Evaluator provides mild distraction (e.g., petting).


Test 8: Reaction to Another Dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs.  Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 10 yards, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 5 yards.  The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each other.


Test 9: Reactions to Distractions

This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations, such as the dropping of a large book or a jogger running in front of the dog.  The dog may express a natural interest and curiosity and/or appear slightly startled, but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness or bark.

Leave-It: The handler with the dog on a loose leash walks past food on the ground (placed within a distance of three feet) and, upon command, the dog should ignore the food. (Please note:  TDI does not permit the use of food/treats during actual therapy dog visits.)

Acclimation to Infirmities: This test demonstrates the dog’s confidence when exposed to people walking with an uneven gait, shuffling, breathing heavily, coughing, wheezing or other distractions which may be encountered in a facility.


Test 10: Supervised Separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain its training and good manners.  Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash.  The owner will go out of sight for three minutes.  The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness.


Test 11: Say Hello

The TDI Certified Evaluator will test the willingness of each dog to visit a person and that the dog can be made readily accessible for petting (i.e., small dogs can be placed on a person’s lap or can be held, medium and larger dogs can sit on a chair or stand close to the patient to be easily reached.)


Additional Rules for TDI Testing
1.  Dogs must be tested on a plain buckle collar or harness.  Training collars, training harnesses, halties,
    or any other corrective devices are not permitted during testing or visiting as a TDI registered Therapy Dog.


Interested in knowing more?
Here's a book to give you some "personal" information
on Therapy Dog work from a dog's point of view!

Lapdog Therapy: My Journey from
Companion Dog to Therapy Dog

   by Mickey / Anne B. Nock

You can follow this link or check out availability on Amazon. It's about $20 for the paperback.