AKC Community Canines

AKC Community Canines - Spokane, WA

Testing! Quiet Please!

Recently, three of my students took the AKC Community Canine Test at Petco. This is the test that follows the AKC Canine Good Citizen. There is even another test further called the Urban Canine Test. I have said it before, and I will say it again, these tests are a great way to measure your training success and progress. I am a huge proponent of measurable goals, and taking a test will tell you if you are hitting your goals or not.

Each test, naturally, is harder than the one before it. They prepare your dog to be out in public with you. The goal is that your dog can be an enjoyable part of your life and represent good obedience under distractions like other dogs, food, strangers, and sounds.

Community Canine Test

In the Community Canine Test, the dogs are required to complete 10 items. These items are taken directly from the AKC website and are as follows:

  1. Dog stands, sits, or lies down and waits under control while the owner:
    • sits at the registration table and fills out paperwork, or,
    • if the test is done in the community, the dog waits while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with another person (e.g., at a park)
  2. Walks on a loose leash in a natural situation (not in a ring) — does not pull.
    • left turn
    • right turn
    • stop
    • fast and slow pace
  3. Walks on a loose leash through a crowd:
    • at a show or in class, this item is tested in a real crowd, not in a ring
    • in the community, dog walks on the sidewalk, through a crowd at a community fair, park, on a trail, through a busy hallway, etc.
  4. Dog walks past distraction dogs present; does not pull.
    This item may be tested along with #3 if there are dogs in the crowd, etc.

    • at a show or class, dog walks by dogs waiting in the crowd–dogs 2 ft. apart
    • in the community, dog walks by other dogs on a trail, sidewalk, in a hallway, etc.
  5. Sit-stay in a small group (two other people with dogs, a total of 3 people, 3 dogs in the group).
  6. Dog allows a person who is carrying something (backpack, computer bag, etc.) to approach and pet it.
    "May I pet your dog?" (Item is placed on the floor/ground before the person pets the dog)
  7. "Leave it." Dog walks by food and follows owner's instructions, "Leave it."
    This can be food placed by the evaluator on the floor or ground in a food dish with a wire cover as in Rally.
  8. Down or sit stay — distance (owner's choice).
    Dog is on a 20–ft line, owner walks away with back to the dog, picks up an item (e.g., backpack, training bag, clipboard, folder, etc.) placed on the floor/chair/ground by the evaluator, and returns to the dog.
  9. Recall with distractions present (coming when called). Handler goes out 20–ft. **(off center) and calls the dog.
    Dog is on the 20–ft. line from #8 above.Distraction Dog Handler
  10. Dog will sit or stand stay (owner's choice) while the owner enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway. The owner calls the dog through the door when ready.
    Owner may also choose to:
    • send the dog through first and have the dog wait for the owner, or
    • the owner may choose to have the dog go through the doorway at the owner's side.

Whichever method is used, the dog must not pull the owner and must be under good control. Think of the handler having the leash in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. A doorway or gate can be real or simulated with ring gates, two chairs, or a natural passageway (e.g., entrance to a trail) in the community.

Wouldn't you want your pup to do all these things in PUBLIC? It's one thing to be able to do them in your kitchen, but it is another thing doing them at Petco on a busy Saturday, which is what happened!

Here are my students taking their tests.


Yes, they all passed their test, and I am SOOOOO proud of them! We still have some work to do. I will adjust my curriculum to strengthen the weak areas, such as "leave it" and having a dog be a distraction. It is not about perfection; it's about progress.

These girls and their owners have been training and training, and TRAINING and boy, have they come a long way. At one point, we nicknamed Daisy, the lab, "The Wrecking Ball" because she was so wild. Raynn was called the "party girl"! You wouldn't know by watching them now! I am so proud of how dedicated these owners are to their pup's success. I love hearing the stories of Bleu off-leash on the beach on the westside, Daisy at the office and in Sportsman's Warehouse getting all the love from the employees, and Raynn at the lake house.

I love how these pups are included in the human world, and I love how they look at their owners with such love. This does not happen overnight. Many do not train as long as these three. These are what you would call "outliers."

They are the ones who set the example of optimal dog ownership. They are in it for the long haul. Now it's time to get ready for the Urban Canine Test. Let's get back to training!

Questions? I'm always here to help! Feel free to reach out anytime.

~ Stephanie

Reactive Rover Dog Training Class


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