Meet AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy®
Responsible breeders want the peace of mind of knowing
their puppies are off to a good start.
The AKC’s newest program, AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, is designed to ensure that puppies and their owners have a great life together. AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is the puppy level of Canine Good Citizen. S.T.A.R. is an acronym for “Socialization, Training, Activity, and a Responsible owner,” all the things every puppy needs.
AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is open to purebred and mixed-breed dogs, and the program defines puppy as a dog up to the age of 1 year old.
What is the purpose of AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy?
How does the program work?
The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program is designed to reward owners who have taken the time to take their puppies to a class at least six weeks long.
The program works like this:
- Owners take their puppies to a training class (at least six weeks long) taught by an AKC-approved CGC evaluator.
- The evaluators plan their puppy classes and use their own training methods. The AKC/CGC department provides support materials, such as “Lessons for a Puppy’s People,” that will be found on the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy web page. These lessons are brief talking points that an instructor can use at the beginning of the class to give a five-minute lesson to the humans. We will be adding the posted lessons over time.
- After training and observing the puppy for at least six weeks in a course, the evaluator administers the 20-item AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy test in class. As in CGC, owners are given the paperwork to enroll in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy program.
What do owners get when they enroll their puppies in AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy?
Enrolling in AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy means the puppy is listed in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy records. In addition, the owner receives: a gorgeous gold Olympics-style medal with the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy logo; an attractive, frameable AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy certificate; an AKC Puppy Handbook (a 64-page booklet full of information on raising puppies: what to expect each week during the first year, housetraining, crate training, and grooming tips are just some of the many topics); discount enrollment in AKC Companion Animal Recovery; and a subscription to our monthly e-mail newsletter that includes training tips and other valuable information.
What are the differences between AKC Canine Good Citizen® and the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy program?
The main difference in AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy and CGC is that CGC can be a one-time test (at a dog show, as a class graduation, and so on), and AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is done at the end of a training course by the instructor who has been observing the puppy for at least six weeks.
AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy should not be used for admission to therapy dog groups, etc.
The author, Dr. Mary Burch, is director of AKC Canine Good Citizen. To learn more about AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, visit akc.org/starpuppy.