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AKC Certification Programs
AKC S.T.A.R. PUPPY PROGRAM
The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is an exciting new program designed to get dog owners and Their puppies off to a good start. The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program is an incentive program for loving dog owners who have taken the time to take their puppies through a basic training class.
The Benefits of Training
Training classes teach you how to best communicate with your puppy. Organized training classes also provide an opportunity for your dog to socialize with other dogs. In classes aimed at earning the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy distinction, you’ll be able to get information on all of your puppy-raising questions including house training, chewing, and the most effective way to teach practical skills such as coming when called. AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy training is a natural lead in to the AKC® Canine Good Citizen® Program.
How It Works
When you complete a basic training class (taught by an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator) with your puppy (up to 1 year old) your puppy is eligible to be enrolled in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program.
You'll attend any puppy or basic training class at least 6 weeks. 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.
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 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)
AKC's CANINE GOOD CITIZEN® (CGC) PROGRAM
Welcome to the AKC's Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program. Startedin 1989, CGC is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. The Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club.
Many dog owners choose Canine Good Citizen training as the first step in training their dogs. The Canine Good Citizen Program lays the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events. As you work with your dog to teach the CGC skills, you'll discover the many benefits and joys of training your dog. Training will enhance the bond between you and your dog. Dogs who have a solid obedience education are a joy to live with-they respond well to household routines, have good manners in the presence of people and other dogs, and they fully enjoy the company of the owner who took the time to provide training, intellectual stimulation, and a high quality life. We sincerely hope that CGC will be only a beginning for you and your dog and that after passing the CGC test, you'll continue training in obedience, agility, tracking, or performance events.
Before taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. We believe that responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept and by signing the pledge, owners agree to take care of their dog's health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others.
After signing the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, owners and their dogs are ready to take the CGC Test. Items on the Canine Good Citizen Test include:
Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.
Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.
Test 3: Appearance and grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.
Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog's position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler's movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.
Test 5: Walking through a crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.
Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.
Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.
Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.
Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.
Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright").
All tests must be performed on leash. Dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, etc. are not permitted in the CGC test. We recognize that special training collars may be very useful tools for beginning dog trainers, however, we feel that dogs are ready to take the CGC test at the point at which they are transitioned to regular collars.
The evaluator supplies a 20-foot lead for the test. The owner/handler should bring the dog's brush or comb to the test.
Owners/handlers may use praise and encouragement throughout the test. The owner may pet the dog between exercises. Food and treats are not permitted during testing, nor is the use of toys, squeaky toys, etc. to get the dog to do something. We recognize that food and toys may provide valuable reinforcement or encouragement during the training process but these items should not be used during the test.
Failures - Dismissals
Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed. The only exception to this rule is that elimination is allowable in test Item 10, but only when test Item 10 is held outdoors.
Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or another dog is not a good citizen and must be dismissed from the test.