AKC Trick Dog: The Ultimate Guide

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Do you love to train your dog and show off their skills? The American Kennel Club (AKC) Trick Dog program might just be the perfect opportunity for you and your furry friend. Whether you’re looking to bond with your dog, showcase their talent, or participate in a fun activity, the AKC Trick Dog program has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about AKC Trick Dog, from its requirements and benefits to tips for success and FAQs.

What is AKC Trick Dog?

AKC Trick Dog is a program created by the American Kennel Club that evaluates dogs on their ability to perform a variety of tricks. The program offers four levels, ranging from Novice to Champion, each with increasing levels of difficulty. In order to achieve a Trick Dog title, dogs must pass an evaluation by a certified AKC evaluator who assesses their proficiency in executing tricks based on the criteria set forth by the AKC.

AKC Trick Dog Levels:

  • Novice
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Champion

Why Should You Participate in AKC Trick Dog?

There are several benefits to participating in the AKC Trick Dog program, both for you and your dog. Some of these include:


Training your dog to perform tricks requires patience, practice, and communication, all of which can help strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.

Mental Stimulation:

Trick training is an excellent way to challenge your dog mentally, improve their cognitive abilities, and provide them with a sense of accomplishment.


Participating in the AKC Trick Dog program is a fun and engaging activity that can help relieve stress, provide socialization opportunities, and allow you to showcase your dog’s unique personality and skills.


Earning an AKC Trick Dog title can provide you and your dog with a sense of accomplishment and recognition for your hard work and dedication.

Requirements for AKC Trick Dog

To participate in the AKC Trick Dog program, dogs must be registered or listed with the AKC. In addition, they must be at least 12 months of age or have completed the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy program. Dogs can be of any breed or mix of breeds and do not need to have any prior obedience training.

AKC Trick Dog Evaluation Criteria:

  • Dog and handler teamwork
  • Accuracy and precision in trick performance
  • Ability to perform tricks on cue and in different environments
  • Willingness and enthusiasm to perform

Tips for Success in AKC Trick Dog

Here are some tips to help you and your dog succeed in the AKC Trick Dog program:

Start Simple:

Begin with simple tricks that your dog already knows and gradually increase the difficulty level as they become more comfortable.

Use Positive Reinforcement:

Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and play to motivate your dog and make trick training a fun and enjoyable experience.

Practice, Practice, Practice:

Repetition is key when it comes to training dogs. Practice tricks in different environments, with distractions, and at varying distances to help your dog become more proficient and adaptable.

Focus on Timing and Cues:

Use clear and consistent verbal and non-verbal cues to help your dog understand what you are asking them to do. Timing is also crucial, so make sure you reward your dog immediately after they successfully perform a trick.

FAQs about AKC Trick Dog

1. How long does it take to earn an AKC Trick Dog title?

The time it takes to earn a Trick Dog title depends on the individual dog and handler’s level of commitment, training frequency, and proficiency. With consistent training and practice, most dogs can earn a Novice or Intermediate title within a few weeks to several months. The Advanced and Champion titles typically take longer and require a higher level of skill and proficiency.

2. Can any dog participate in AKC Trick Dog?

Yes, any dog registered or listed with the AKC can participate in AKC Trick Dog, regardless of breed, size, or age. However, it is recommended that dogs be at least 12 months old and have basic obedience training before starting trick training.

3. Do I need any prior training or experience to participate in AKC Trick Dog?

No, you do not need any prior training or experience to participate in AKC Trick Dog. The program is designed to be accessible to dogs and handlers of all levels and backgrounds.

4. How do I find an AKC Trick Dog evaluator?

You can find a certified AKC Trick Dog evaluator in your area by using the AKC Trick Dog Evaluator search tool on the AKC website.

5. What happens during an AKC Trick Dog evaluation?

During an AKC Trick Dog evaluation, a certified AKC evaluator will assess your dog’s ability to perform tricks based on the criteria set forth by the AKC. You and your dog will demonstrate various tricks at your chosen level, and the evaluator will provide feedback and determine if you and your dog have met the required criteria to earn a Trick Dog title.


The AKC Trick Dog program is an excellent way to bond with your dog, provide mental stimulation, and showcase your dog’s unique personality and talents. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, you and your furry friend can achieve success in this fun and rewarding program.