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The arrival of a new puppy is an exciting time for any household. But what happens if your cute, cuddly pup turns into a chewing, barking, digging, and eating machine?  Before long it becomes clear that your new arrival means there’s a lot for you to do, and even more for him to learn.

To help all dog owners properly train their puppies, the American Kennel Club® (AKC) has introduced the AKC Puppy Program (  “S.T.A.R.” stands for what every puppy needs – Socialization, Training, Activity and a Responsible owner.  The program, a natural precursor to becoming an AKC Canine Good Citizen,® provides all dog owners with the early guidance needed to get their puppies off to the best possible start in life and set them up to thrive as adult dogs.

“Puppies learn things from the moment they open their eyes,” said Mary Burch, Ph.D, AKC STAR Puppy and CGC Director. “We want to do our part to make sure all puppies have a good life. Early training and socialization along with teaching owners necessary skills is the key to guaranteeing a puppy will become an upstanding family member, a Rover who never roams, and a lover (not chewer) of your favorite shoes.”

Owners can get started by enrolling in a six-week puppy or basic training class that is instructed by an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator. Classes include valuable training tips for puppy owners – such as how to housetrain – and lessons on practical skills for puppies – such as coming when called.  The program is open to all dogs. Puppies can begin training as soon as they have the necessary vaccines and they can enroll in AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy at any point up until their first birthday.

At the end of the training course, the CGC Evaluator will administer the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy test. Upon passing, owners and their puppies will be enrolled in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program and will receive an AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy package which includes:

  • A frameable certificate
  • A gold AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy medal
  • AKC Puppy Handbook
  • Discount enrollment in AKC Companion Animal Recovery
  • Subscription to monthly e-mail newsletter that includes training tips


Additional information on AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy can be found online at

Find a puppy training class in your area.