The AKC has a puppy version of the Canine Good Citizen test–the CGC isn’t allowed to be taken by a puppy under 6 mo old.
But the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Test lays the foundations for a youngster. Here’s the link to the official site:
The test is evaluating mostly for a good owner, a happy and well adjusted pup, and some simple obedience in a pre-6mo old puppy (the italics are copy and pasted from the link above, and regular type is my thoughts!)
20 STEPS To Success: The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppysm Test
S ocialization T raining A ctivity R esponsibility
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.
I’m glad the AKC promotes responsible ownership! Even though I’m training my puppy for a “job”, I can’t ever let the job eclipse the fact that this puppy has needs too, and that he or she is a living creature. Their exercise and care come before the training!
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
Having gone to much trouble to find a pup with excellent temperment, I don’t foresee any difficulty with fear, aggressiveness, or fussiness. But these can’t be overlooked so much of our socializing and class time is directed towards having a calm and friendly pup.
PRE-CANINE GOOD CITIZEN® TEST BEHAVIORS:
(I just love this picture from Laurie Luck’s blog: http://smartdog.typepad.com/)
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)
Hopefully my newest SDit will have no difficulty with the STAR test right at 4 months old. They have worked on these test items from 8 weeks! These are all foundation obedience and good temperment items.
We’ve played the name games, the come games, the down, the sit, the stay, the wait, the ignore games, the pace with me games…but any puppy can get a fright when they go out, and develop things to work on. They’re puppies! A dropped box might overly startle them, or they decide people in ballcaps are scary.
I can’t take for granted that my pup will breeze through at 4 mo old, or after passing not continue to pay attention to their friendliness, their comfort in public, or their simple obedience. Puppies change as they grow, and will need their training and socializing continued their whole lives.