The American Kennel Club offers fast, easy certification of basic obedience commands that every dog owner should work toward as soon as they can. As the AKC says, “all dogs deserve training and a responsible owner.” That’s us.
The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program is for dogs younger than one year old. In six one-hour classes once a week, you and your puppy learn to communicate with and get to socialize with other puppies and their owners. You will get help with puppy basics, training, and other issues so you get off to a good start with your new friend. At the end of the class, you can pass a short test and earn a few goodies to encourage you to continue your dog’s education. I found the class to be about $75 near Indianapolis, Indiana (February, 2016).
The AKC Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-parter. You will learn about responsible dog ownership, and your dog will learn the basic commands that give people confidence in you and your dog. This class takes place as six one-hour sessions once a week, and at the end you and your dog are challenged by a 10-part test. Some training schools (such as for Therapy dogs) require that a dog has passed the CGC before they are admitted for Therapy training.
The CGC is a great certification for all dogs and their owners, so we encourage it and make it a part of our definition of “A Family Dog” here at The Family Dog Blog. The CGC gives people peace of mind because the training is a first step in a great dog-owner relationship. Some insurance companies will lift their restrictions against insuring certain breeds if their owners have the CGC, and your landlord might be happier as well.
The CGC class is about $200 in my area, which includes the training, the cost of the test itself, and the cost of the (optional, brag-worthy) fancy certificate of completion. However, dogs can be trained by their owners instead of going to a class for this, so if you wanted, you could complete this for under $40 including the test and the certificate.