Want to participate in a program that will help you socialize and train your puppy, and give you an introduction to AKC events? A great place to begin is to work toward earning your dog’s AKC Puppy of Achievement certificate.
The AKC Puppy of Achievement (POA) program helps new puppy owners get started in the sport of conformation dog shows. It gives you and your puppy a new goal to strive for — and a huge sense of pride once you reach it. You’ll not only have your first success in the dog show world, but you’ll also get invaluable conformation ring practice, socialization, and bonding time in the process.
Before anything, make sure your puppy is:
- Comfortable wearing a collar and walking on a leash on your left side. You may have been taught this as the “heel position” in your puppy kindergarten class. This is easy to practice at home before going to the show.
- Comfortable meeting new people. You may want to get her ready to meet people by taking your puppy to a park or other public spaces to get her used to the activity.
- Looking her best. Don’t forget to groom your puppy as part of the preparation. If she is really dirty, as some puppies can be very active outdoors, then maybe a bath a day or two before the show is in order. But, at the very least, make sure she is brushed and free of dirt, debris and any tangles in her hair. Also, if it’s been a while since you trimmed her toenails, you may want to give them a quick trim too.
See more ways to prepare your puppy here.
Once he is comfortable, and at least four months old, just sign up for a 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy Competition (BPUP) and/or regular puppy conformation classes (open to dogs six- to twelve-months old). All POA points are earned at existing AKC events, so there is no additional paperwork to submit.
These competitions are stress-free and relaxed, and will teach you how to submit an entry, prepare your dog for a show, and handle your pup in the ring. There is no special entry requirement or fee to participate.
To be eligible, your dog must be between 4 – 12 months of age on the day of the event and have an AKC number via one of the following:
- AKC Registration Number – This number is provided to a dog owner via a registration certificate received from the previous owner, or via a puppy registration paper given to the new owner by the breeder.
He also must be entered in a 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy Competition; or entered at a dog show in one of the following classes:
- Puppy 6-9
- Puppy 9-12
Puppies need to earn 10 POA points by the time they turn one-year-old to achieve a Puppy of Achievement certificate.
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.