Want to participate in a program that will help you socialize and train your puppy, as well as provide an introduction to AKC events? One place to begin is to work toward earning your dog’s AKC Puppy of Achievement certificate.
The AKC Puppy of Achievement (POA) program was created to help new puppy owners get started in the sport of conformation dog shows. It gives new exhibitors a fun and attainable goal to achieve as they and their dog gain valuable ring experience.
Since POA is exclusively about puppies, participating in the program offers many benefits for new puppy owners. You’ll also meet exhibitors like you and get know other people with your breed.
How Do I Get Started?
There is no special entry requirement or fee to participate in the POA program, and you can get started as soon as your puppy is four-months old. All you need to do is enter your puppy in 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy Competition (BPUP) and/or regular puppy conformation classes (open to dogs six- to twelve-months old). You can learn more about these classes in the AKC’s A Beginner’s Guide to Dog Shows.
In fact, 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy is the optimal starting point. This event enables owners and their puppies to experience competing in a regular dog show in a stress-free and relaxed environment. Owners learn how to make an entry, prepare their dog for a show, and handle their pup in the ring.
Earning Points Toward a POA Certificate
Puppies just need to earn 10 POA points by the time they turn one-year-old to achieve a Puppy of Achievement certificate.
POA points are earned by 1) being selected at Best of Breed (BOB) or Best of Opposite Sex (BOS) in 4-6 Beginner Puppy, 2) placing first in your Group (Group 1) and/or winning Best in Show (BIS) in 4-6 Beginner Puppy and 3) winning your dog’s puppy class at a regular dog show. You can earn points from any combination of these achievements.
Since all points are earned at existing AKC events, there is no additional paperwork for exhibitors to submit. All you need to do is sign up to participate in 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy Competition events and/or regular puppy conformation classes, and the AKC will take care of everything else.
Finding an Event
You can find events in your area by using the AKC Event Search. You can find BPUP events here, and conformation events that offer puppy classes here too. Once you’ve signed up, make sure to review these tips for preparing your puppy for its first show.
With the Puppy of Achievement certificate, you and your puppy have a goal to strive for and a sense of pride once you reach it. You’ll not only have your first success in the dog show world, but also get invaluable conformation ring practice, socialization, and bonding time in the process.