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S.T.A.R. stands for Socialization, Training, Activity and a Responsible owner and in six weeks of S.T.A.R. puppy classes, puppies and dogs learn the following behaviors and skills:


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


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)



Advanced Canine Good Citizen (the “CGCA” title)

To earn the CGCA title, the dog must:

  1. be registered or listed with AKC (AKC number, PAL, or AKC Canine Partners number) and,

  2. already have a Canine Good Citizen award/title on record.


Dogs must pass all 10 items of the test to receive the CGCA title.

  1. Dog stands, sits or lies down and waits under control while the owner:

    • sits at the registration table and fills out paperwork, or,

    • if the test is done in the community, dog waits while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with another person (e.g., at a park)

  2. Walks on a loose leash in a natural situation (not in a ring) — does not pull.

    • left turn

    • right turn

    • stop

    • fast and slow pace

  3. Walks on loose leash through a crowd:

    • at a show or in class, this item is tested in a real crowd, not in a ring

    • in the community, dog walks on sidewalk, through a crowd at a community fair, park, on a trail, through a busy hallway, etc.

  4. Dog walks past distraction dogs present; does not pull.
    This item may be tested along with #3 if there are dogs in the crowd, etc.

    • at a show or class, dog walks by dogs waiting in the crowd–dogs 2 ft. apart

    • in the community, dog walks by other dogs on a trail, sidewalk, in a hallway, etc.

  5. Sit — stay in small group (3 other people with dogs).
    Owners and dogs are in an informal circle/square while owners have a conversation.
    Dogs are all on the owner’s left side, on leash; 3 ft. apart. (At least 30 seconds)

  6. Dog allows person who is carrying something (backpack, computer bag, etc.) to approach and pet it.
    “May I pet your dog?” (Item is placed on floor/ground before the person pets the dog)

  7. “Leave it.” Dog walks by food and follows owner instructions, “Leave it.”
    This can be food placed by the evaluator on the floor or ground in a food dish with a wire cover as in Rally.

  8. Down or sit stay — distance (owner’s choice).
    Dog is on 20–ft line, owner walks away with back to dog, picks up an item (e.g., backpack, training bag, clipboard, folder etc.) placed on the floor/chair/ground by the evaluator and returns to the dog.

  9. Recall with distractions present (coming when called). Handler goes out 20–ft. **(off center) and calls dog.
    Dog is on the 20–ft. line from #8 above.

  10. Dog will sit or stand stay (owner’s choice) while owner enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway. Owner calls dog through door when ready.
    Owner may also choose to:

    1. send the dog through first and have the dog wait for the owner, or

    2. the owner may choose to have the dog go through the doorway at the owner’s side.

    Whichever method is used, the dog must not pull the owner and must be under good control. Think of the handler having the leash in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
    Doorway or gate can be real or simulated with ring gates, two chairs, or a natural passageway (e.g., entrance to trail) in the community.

The Canine Good Citizen® program teaches good manners to dogs and responsible dog ownership to their owners. The 10-step CGC test is a non-competitive test for all dogs, including purebreds and mixed breeds.

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.

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”).

Individual Training and Group Classes


AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy®

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.

AKC Canine Good Citizen® (CGC)

The CGC 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. The CGC lays the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events.

AKC Community Canine℠ (CGCA)

AKC Community Canine is the advanced level of AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program.

Beginner Puppy

An introduction to the basics in control and cooperation, through positive techniques.

Basic Obedience

Beginning obedience in basic (positive) training techniques to achieve a cooperative, healthy, happy, balanced dog, who will respond to basic cues, alone or around other people or dogs.

Advanced Obedience

Many intermediate commands require your dog to perform one or more basic commands as a starting point. These advanced dog-training tips not only build on the basics, but can also help the two of you face real-life circumstances more confidently and effectively

Refresher course

Sometimes you or your dog may just need a refresher in the basics

Training Policies

1.  Prior to being allowed for training all dogs must complete a temperament evaluation.  This gives us an opportunity to meet your dog(s) and you the opportunity to visit our facility and meet our staff.  Please call or email us to schedule an appointment.  Prior to the appointment you may email us the Daycare Waiver, Dog & Owner Information, and Photo Release forms along with a copy of your dog(s) veterinary records or bring these documents with you to this appointment.  Blue Collar reserves the right to refuse or reject any dog at anytime that is determined to be a safety risk to any other dog, staff or person on the premises.

2.  Prior to your dog(s) first training/class we will need proof of vaccinations.  All dogs must be current on vaccinations against Rabies, Distemper, and Bordetella (Kennel Cough).  Puppies can begin daycare after they have received their Bordetella and 2nd Distemper vaccinations; we will then need proof of the Rabies and 3rd Distemper shots once received.  We also require a yearly fecal test (worm/parasite) to be done by either your veterinarian or we will do it.


3.  For safety purposes, all dogs must wear a collar during training and they must be on a leash when entering and leaving the building.

4.  Written or verbal permission is required if you wish to have someone else pick up your dog(s).  Please notify us prior to the pick up time.

5.  Sorry… no refunds, credits or transfers on training classes.

6.  A $15 late fee will be charged for any dog not picked up by 6:00 p.m.  Please call us if you determine that you will be late, as we will need to plan accordingly. 

7.  A $20 NSF/Returned check fee will be charged to your account for any checks declined to be paid or returned to us as unpaid from our bank. 

Our Training Philosophy

Is This For You and Your Dog?

Do you want a companion who is cooperative, calm, fits your lifestyle, and is flexible and self-confident; a dog that will do as asked; one that will live a happier, healthier, more productive, longer life? Your dog would like to be this way! Are you willing to spend the time and energy to achieve these results? Blue Collar Training and Classes will help you and your dog reach these goals through mental stimulation. It requires time and commitment on your part.

We have observed many changes in dogs in general. Canines are exhibiting more hyperactivity, less focus, shorter life spans, more limited physical ability (range of motion and movement), and more behavior issues. Their living situations are much more demanding (less time for exercise, poorer foods, faster life pace of their family, less quality time due to more demands on the time of family members.) Obedience involves more than "commands," it means connecting to their situation and working with it. Sitting, for example, is hard if your hips hurt.

Issues range from mouthing on objects and people and licking (especially their feet) to difficulties being touched or handled (certain body parts) such as nail trimming or grooming. More dogs have barking issues, allergies are becoming commonplace, excessive weight is often present, and skin and joints frequently are involved (excessive shedding, itching, flakiness, stiffness, etc.) Through our services we have been able to help in many of these cases.

Putting together the increasingly positive responses to these tools and techniques as well as the dramatic changes seen in our own dogs, we are now going to include the whole obedience picture in our classes. Real "obedience" is about connecting to your dog, not jerking on a leash. It's about respect, cooperation and teamwork (human is leader). It is about taking the time to teach (not forcing an issue in a moment), learning to observe and read your dog, providing the tools necessary (information, diet/nutrition, movement and love) to achieve the desired results.


MONDAY    7 a.m. - 6 p.m.

TUESDAY    7 a.m. - 6 p.m.

WEDNESDAY    7 a.m. - 6 p.m.

THURSDAY    7 a.m. - 6 p.m.

FRIDAY    7 a.m. - 6 p.m.

SATURDAY    Closed

SUNDAY    Closed



3101 Erie Boulevard East

Syracuse, NY 13214

(formerly Sofas & Chairs)
(315) 907-3454


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