Train your dog and earn an AKC Title

Canine Good Citizen, American Kennel Club, Michigan Dog Training

Michael Burkey, CGC Evaluator

Michigan Dog Training (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan has developed a new banner promoting the American Kennel Club’s Puppy S.T.A.R., Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine Good Citizen (CGCA), and the Urban Canine Good Citizen (UCGC) titles. These titles are open to mix and purebred dogs and are a great way to motivate dog owners to train their dogs to the next level of obedience training and to instill responsible dog ownership.

MDT has structured its dog training group classes around the testing requirements for each of the below described titles.  Upon successfully completing the requirements for each, owners can showcase their dog’s accomplishment by having their photo taken in front of the banner which will be published on MDT’s Facebook page and submit their paperwork and accompanying nominal fee to the AKC for an impressive looking title.  Additionally, owners can then use the appropriate abbreviations behind their dog’s name to reflect the title they have earned. The AKC requirements for each title are listed below.

Puppy Manners Group Class / Puppy S.T.A.R.

After your pup has participated in six weeks of training (thus MDT evaluates dogs at the completion of the Puppy 2 class) he or she is eligible to test for the AKC S.T.A.R. (Socialization, Training, Activity, Responsibility) Puppy program.


The owner must:

1. maintain the puppy’s health and provide documentation

2. receive the CGC Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge

3. describe their dog’s adequate daily play and exercise plan

4. attend at least six puppy classes (by an approved CGC Evaluator-which we have at MDT)

5. bring bags to classes for cleaning up after their puppy

6. obtained some form of ID for the puppy such as a collar tag, microchip or tattoo.

The puppy’s behaviors must be:

7. Free of aggression toward people during the puppy classes

8. Free of aggression toward other puppies in the class

9. Tolerate collar or body harness of owner’s choice (no electronic collars)

10. Willing to have their owner hug or hold them (depending on size)

11. Allow their owner to take away a treat or toy.

Additionally, the puppy must show pre-Caine Good Citizen behaviors such as:

12. Allow petting by a person other than their owner

13. Allow owner to handle and exam their ears and feet

14. Walk on a leash in a straight line for 15 steps

15. Walk by other people who are approximately 5 feet away

16. Sit on command (owner may use a food lure)

17. Down on command (owner may use a food lure)

18. Come to owner from five feet away when their name is called

19. Show a good response to distractions that are presented fifteen feet away from the puppy

20. Stay on leash with another person while the other walks ten steps away and returns.

Intermediate Manners / Canine Good Citizen (CGC)

The Intermediate Manners dog class prepares you and your dog for the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluation at the conclusion of the class. The evaluation is open to mix and purebred dogs. To earn a title, your dog must be registered with the American Kennel Club so that your dog’s titles can be recorded in the AKC official records. If you purchased your dog from an AKC listed breeder, you should’ve been given paperwork to register your dog with the AKC. If you don’t know your dog’s pedigree, you can request a Purebred Alternative Listing. And, if your dog is a mix breed, you can register him/her as an AKC Canine Partner.

The evaluation has ten components:

1. Accept a friendly stranger who approaches and shakes hands with the handle but does not touch the dog

2. Sitting politely for petting

3. Appearance and acceptance to grooming such as brushing and having his/her ears and front feet touched

4. Out for a walk which includes right, left and about turns along with a stop

5. Walking through a crowd close to several people (the dog may show casual interest but may not jump up on people)

6. Sit and down on command and handler chooses to leave their dog in either a sitting position or laying down position and goes to the end of a 20 foot line and returns to their dog immediately

7. Coming when called out of the position from number six for a distance of ten feet

8. Reaction to another dog; two handlers and dogs approach each other, the handlers shake hands, exchange pleasantries and move on. The dogs can show casual interest but not leave their handler to greet the other dog

9. Reactions to distractions such as a loud closing door or a runner running past the team in which the dog may not panic or show aggression

10. Supervised separation whereas handler goes out of sight for three minutes. The dog is held on a six foot leash by an evaluator.

Advanced Manners / Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA)

The Advanced manners dog class prepares a dog for the Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA).

To pass the CGCA:

1. The dog must stand, sit or lie down and wait under control while the owner sits at the registration table and fills out paperwork or wait while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with another person

2. Dog walks on a loose leash in a natural situation and does not pull while making a left turn, right turn, stop, and walk at a fast and slow pace

3. Dog walks on a loose leash through a crowd

4. Dog walks past distractions and does not pull such as other dogs who are 2 feet apart or past other dogs in a hallway

5. Sit stay in small circle group (three other people with dogs) with dogs on leash on their handler’s left side and three feet apart from other dogs

6. Dog allows person who is carrying something such as a backpack or computer bag to approach and pet it

7. “Leave it” whereas the dog walks by food and follow handlers instruction to leave it

8. Down or sit-stay at a distance whereby the handler leaves the dog, walks out 20 feet, picks up an item and returns to their dog

9. Recall with distractions present

10. Dog will sit or stay stay (handler’s choice) while handler enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway.  Handler calls dog through door when ready.  Handler may choose to send the dog through first and have the dog wait for the handler, or, the handler may choose to have the dog go through the doorway at the handler’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.

Advanced Manners/ Urban Canine Good Citizen (CGCU)

A student may retake the Advanced Manners class to prepare their dog for the Urban CGC (CGCU) evaluation.

It also has ten components:

1. Exit/enter doorways with no pulling in dog friendly buildings,

2. Walk through a crowd on a busy urban sidewalk where people are walking fast and coming toward the dog (1 foot away) and be able to tolerate distractions such as people wearing hats, coats, men, women, etc.

3. Appropriate reaction to city distractions including movement, noises and walking on a variety of surfaces such as horns, sirens, construction noise, person yelling, skateboards, bikes, carts, person running, on various surfaces (concrete, grate, grass, plastic tarp, wet sidewalk, etc.

4. Crossing street; stopping at corner, stand or sit to wait and cross with no pulling, and crosses street under control

5. Ignores food on sidewalk

6. Person walks up and pets dog while carrying something (item is not set down such as in the CGCA)

7. Public Building, dog walks under control on slick surfaces or carpeted floor, does a down stay in lobby or outdoor area or waits while handler has a meal or snack

8. Goes up and down stairs, steps or elevator under control

9. House trained for apartment, condo, city living

10. Transportation savvy such as being able to enter/exit and ride in a car, subway or dog friendly cab under control.

The evaluations are held on the last night of each class.  There is no fee for students to take the evaluation.  Non-students may also take the fee for a nominal charge of $20.00. Don’t delay, sign up now for a puppy or dog group training class.


Icelandic Sheepdog earns Canine Good Citizen Advanced title

Gabbi and Tri-Star Kelinn CGCA

Gabbi and Tri-Star Kelinn CGCA


On July 29, 2014 Gabrielle Vannie and her dog Tri-Star Kelinn, an Icelandic Sheepdog of Ferndale, Michigan earned their Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA) title at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.  The CGCA is a ten step evaluation that consists of good obedience and manners in community settings.  It includes such things as:  walking on a loose leash through a crowd, walking past distractions without pulling, sit-stay in a small group of three other people with dogs, being approached by a someone with a backpack or other item being carried and allow the person to pet them, “leave it” when encountering food on the ground, come when called despite distractions, waiting for owner until called who exits a doorway carrying something such as a cup of water or coffee and more.  Congrats to Gabbi and her dog!

To learn how your dog can earn their American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Advanced title, contact Michigan Dog Training at 734-634-4152 or

Gabi does it again! Another title for another dog


Michigan Dog Training, AKC, CGCA, Plymouth, Michigan


Last week, Gabi Vannini and her dog Empty Netter (Bauer), an All American Dog of Ferndale, Michigan earned their Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA) title at Michigan Dog Training (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan. On January 20, 2014 Gabi did it again and earned the CGCA with her other dog Tuckahoe DiDi Belle, an Icelandic Sheepdog.  They were evaluated by Michael Burkey, President of MDT with assistance from Chan Duckworth and Jenny King.

Congratulations to Gabi and Tuckahoe DiDi Belle for a job well done!  To learn how your dog can earn it’s CGCA title, contact Michigan Dog Training at 734-634-4152.

German Shepherd Dog formerly headed to the pound earns Canine Good Citizen “Advanced” title

Michigan Dog Training, American Kennel Club, CGCA

Michigan Dog Training, School for Dog Trainers, Dog Training Academy

Michael and Starbuck CGCA

As earlier reported, Starbuck, a German Shepherd Dog who was formerly headed for the pound until he was adopted and trained by Michael Burkey, President of Michigan Dog Training LLC in Plymouth, Michigan earned his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title from the American Kennel Club (AKC). He has also now been awarded AKC’s Canine Good Citizen “Advanced” (CGCA) title.  The CGCA builds on the CGC in which the dog team must perform obedience exercises in more challenging and distracting environments such as in close proximity to other dogs, walk past other dogs in a crowded hallway, be under control when entering and exiting a doorway while the handler carries a cup of water, etc.

Michigan Dog Training LLC will soon be offering an Advanced Manners dog training course that will prepare dog teams to take the CGCA evaluation at the end of the class. For more information, contact Amy, Program Coordinator and Client Support Specialist at 734-634-4152.

German Shepherd breezes through Canine Good Citizen Advanced evaluation

Michigan Dog Training, Canine Good Citizen Advanced

Shyann and Ziva CGCA


On November 27, 2013, a German Shepherd named Ziva trained and handled by Shyann R. Hilla breezed through the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA) evaluation at Michigan Dog Training LLC. And breeze through she should as she is a service dog. The CGCA tests a dog teams ability to maneuver amongst other dog teams in a crowd, in a crowded hallway, laying down within three feet of each other, leave food alone on the floor when told to do so, have a stranger approach carrying a bag and allow petting from the stranger, come when called despite distractions, and enter and exit a doorway while carrying a cup of liquid without pulling or the handler spilling the liquid as well as other obedience commands.

MDT K9 Campers (who are in for training and/or boarding) helped out with the test as distraction dogs.  They were Teddy a Goldendoodle, Sabrina a Golden Retriever, and Starbuck a German Shepherd. They not only provided distractions but also maintained a sit/down stay without three feet of Ziva without going to visit during the stay command.

Congratulations to Shyann and her dog Ziva Nano Vom Hilla, German Shepherd Dog of Harrison, Michigan!

Contact Michigan Dog Training at 734-634-4152 to learn how your dog can earn its’ CGC and CGCA AKC Titles.  MDT offers private dog training and group dog training classes and evaluations for pet dogs and service dogs.

Canine Good Citizen Advanced, Michigan Dog Training

Entering doorway without pulling and handler holding cup of water.