By Jess Borda
On the trail or in the community, you see some of our Canine Good Citizen dogs in training. Often you’ll hear a muttered ‘wish my dog that was well trained’ as an owned dog struggles past a CGC dog patiently waiting in a sit. Our CGC trainers smiling proudly to themselves as they think, “they should have adopted from Austin Pets Alive!”

Great things are happening around Austin Pets Alive! Working with the city shelter, Austin Pets Alive! is pulling dogs that have little to no manners. Luckily, we have a program for that! Austin Pets Alive Canine Good Citizen Program ( takes those pups that are rough around the edges and make them a dog you’d be proud to take into the community on leash! Often the dogs you see walking calmly through the shelter is the result of hours of training to get them there. The CGC program is run primarily by behavior staff member Carrie Morris who trains volunteers to get dogs through THEIR training, as well as training 5 dogs herself.

There are currently 14 dogs working hard to become the best dogs they can be

What kinds of things are these pups working on?
  • The basics-sit, down, stay and walking on leash
  • Dog-dog handshakes-2 dogs, each dog sitting calmly next to the handler. The handlers reach out for a handshake and the dog stays in his sit and then calmly walks past.
  • Friendly stranger-meets a brand new person and doesn’t jump up or give inappropriate kisses
  • Paw handling and grooming-pup doesn’t mind having his/her paws picked up or being brushed.
  • Reaction to another dog-pup can calmly walk in moderately busy locations without barking or pulling toward other dogs
  • Reaction to distraction-pup isn’t phased by loud noises or startled by surprise noises

CGC certification is the first step in getting your dog certified as a therapy dog, and the pup comes this well trained BEFORE an adopter even gets involved!   Learn more about how this program gets dogs adopted quicker here.

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