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AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program
A proper puppy course should teach you best practices for building healthy relationships through daily interactions, communication, and management as well as provide guidance in socializing your pup with other well-adjusted dogs. This is not always the case which is where the American Kennel Club S.T.A.R. Puppy program comes into play. In classes aimed at earning the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy distinction, this is an owner incentive program designed to get owners off to the right start and attend a qualified puppy parenting class with their youngster. The course may be called AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, or it may simply be the evaluator’s puppy course like our Puppy Pitfall Prevention and Parenting S.T.A.R. program here at Club Canine. Evaluators for AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy must be AKC Approved Canine Good Citizen Evaluators.
As a long standing member of the AKC, 25+ yrs. as a highly accomplished obedience competitor and instructor and a CGC (Canine Good Citizen) Evaluator, I am a big supporter of this newest program, as it gives owners a clear direction and standard of measure to raise their pups to through a coached course, not just a hand book or sub-par puppy kindergarten class. The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Test is given only at the conclusion of a training course that is at least 6 weeks long. Just as the Canine Good Citizen test and title defines what minimal standards need to be met for achieving proper control, manners and etiquette, the AKC Beginner Novice and Novice Obedience Companion Dog level defines what BASIC training should be. The Socialization, Training, Activity and Responsible ownership program becomes a natural, fundamental lead-in to the AKC® Canine Good Citizen® Program which is also a natural lead into the AKC Beginner Novice and Rally Novice Obedience and the Novice Obedience Companion Dog title, raising and training an enjoyable, trustworthy and safe companion along with a properly trained owner/handler.
The S.T.A.R. program is a noncompetitive activity that is available for all owners and puppies under 1yr. of age including mixed breeds as well as purebreds. All dogs need the necessary components of the program including Socialization, Training, Activity, and a Responsible owner to pass. Dogs that pass all of the items on the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Test will be listed in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy records. One major difference in the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test and AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is that CGC Evaluators may give the CGC test to handlers and dogs they have not trained in their own classes.
After you 6 week program, your instructor will administer the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy test at the end of the course. Upon passing the test, you’ll get an application to send to AKC® for enrollment in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program. All dogs are welcome to participate in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program including purebreds and mixed breeds.
Your puppy will receive the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Medal (for display or memento purposes; not suitable as a collar tag). You and your puppy will be listed in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy records. In addition, so that you can continue learning, you’ll receive our AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy package that includes:
- A beautiful, frameable certificate designating your puppy is in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy records at AKC
- AKC Puppy Handbook, a valuable resource
- Discount to enroll in AKC Companion Animal Recovery Corporation, a 24-hour recovery service
- Ongoing Monthly Email Newsletter: Your AKC. This includes training tips and up-to-date information every dog owner needs to know. We want you and your puppy to continue learning beyond puppy classes.
AKC S.T.A.R.Test Items and Pledge
A key component of the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program is a responsible owner. Our Canine Good Citizen® Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge is for the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy® Program too. Responsibility should start the moment you decide to add a new dog or puppy to your family.
AKC CGC Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge
- I will be responsible for my dog’s health needs. These include:
- routine veterinary care including check-ups and vaccines
- adequate nutrition through proper diet; clean water at all times
- daily exercise and regular bathing and grooming
- I will be responsible for my dog’s safety.
- I will properly control my dog by providing fencing where appropriate, not letting my dog run loose, and using a leash in public.
- I will ensure that my dog has some form of identification when appropriate (which may include collar tags, tattoos, or microchip ID).
- I will provide adequate supervision when my dog and children are together.
- I will not allow my dog to infringe on the rights of others.
- I will not allow my dog to run loose in the neighborhood.
- I will not allow my dog to be a nuisance to others by barking while in the yard, in a hotel room, etc.
- I will pick up and properly dispose of my dog’s waste in all public areas such as on the grounds of hotels, on sidewalks, parks, etc.
- I will pick up and properly dispose of my dog’s waste in wilderness areas, on hiking trails, campgrounds and in off-leash parks.
- I will be responsible for my dog’s quality of life.
- I understand that basic training is beneficial to all dogs.
- I will give my dog attention and playtime.
I understand that owning a dog is a commitment in time and caring.
20 STEPS To Success: The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Test
1. Maintains puppy’s health (vaccines, exams, appears healthy)
2. Owner receives Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge
3. Owner describes adequate daily play and exercise plan
4. Owner and puppy attend at least 6 classes by an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator
5. Owner brings bags to classes for cleaning up after puppy
6. Owner has obtained some form of ID for puppy-collar tag, etc.
7. Free of aggression toward people during at least 6 weeks of class
8. Free of aggression toward other puppies in class
9. Tolerates collar or body harness of owner’s choice
10. Owner can hug or hold puppy (depending on size)
11. Puppy allows owner to take away a treat or toy
PRE-CANINE GOOD CITIZEN® TEST BEHAVIORS:
12. Allows (in any position) petting by a person other than the owner
13. Grooming-Allows owner handling and brief exam (ears, feet)
14. Walks on a Leash-Follows owner on lead in a straight line (15 steps)
15. Walks by other people-Walks on leash past other people 5-ft away
16. Sits on command-Owner may use a food lure
17. Down on command-Owner may use a food lure
18. Comes to owner from 5-ft when name is called
19. Reaction to Distractions-distractions are presented 15-ft away
20. Stay on leash with another person (owner walks 10 steps and returns)