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Virtual Home Manners: Laying the Foundations for a Well-Mannered Puppy

Updated: Apr 16

liza moon of rebecca creek retrievers sitting in the grass next to a kuranda dog bed with a cream male f1b goldendoodle puppy laying on the bed working on place training to earn the akc vhm virtual home manners title abbreviation
Liza & Bogey (an F1b Goldendoodle, 11 weeks old) training by the lake.

Welcome to the wonderful journey of puppy parenting! It's an exciting time full of cuddles, playtimes, and endless moments of adorableness. But with this joy also comes the responsibility of teaching your young pup how to be a good canine citizen. This is where the Virtual Home Manners (VHM) program steps in, providing an effective and efficient protocol to train your puppy right at home.

Developed by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the VHM program is an AKC title recognition program and serves as the gateway to good manners for your puppy. It covers fundamental skills that every well-mannered dog should possess. With VHM, you can start training your puppy in practical skills even before attending a formal training class, setting the stage for future training and socialization.

Download the VHM Checklist below:

Download PDF • 769KB

Why Choose Virtual Home Manners Training?

VHM offers two distinct levels of training – Virtual Home Manners Puppy (VHMP) and Virtual Home Manners Adult (VHMA), allowing for a structured progression as your pup matures. The training involves teaching your dog ten essential home manners skills, such as sitting on command, coming when called, and walking on a leash – skills that not only ensure a well-behaved puppy but also promote a deep and healthy bond between you and your furry friend.

One of the defining features of the VHM program is its flexibility. The training is done at home and the evaluation process is entirely virtual. This means that you can train your puppy at your own pace and in an environment where your puppy feels most comfortable. With this at-home model, you can tailor the training to suit your puppy's unique needs and temperament.

The Value of Earning an AKC Title Early

Having your puppy earn a title like VHMP from the AKC at a young age provides several benefits. First, it's a testament to your puppy's learning and adaptability. Achieving a title signifies that your puppy has successfully learned and demonstrated a set of skills, showcasing their potential for further training.

Second, it sets a solid foundation for more advanced training and achievements. The VHM is a natural lead-in for other AKC programs, like the S.T.A.R. Puppy Program and the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program.

Lastly, an early title contributes positively to your puppy's socialization. Training for the test involves various interactions and activities that help your puppy to get accustomed to different people, environments, and situations.

Can a Goldendoodle, or any other mixed breed, earn an AKC Title?

What a great question! Goldendoodles cannot be registered with the AKC, however, they can still earn select titles with the AKC. Follow the steps below to ensure your Goldendoodle is eligible for the VHM title.

  1. Register your Goldendoodle as an AKC Canine Partner

  2. Complete the VHM Checklist

  3. Find a test evaluator

  4. Submit the VHM Title Application form to the evaluator


Investing time in the Virtual Home Manners program allows you to shape your puppy's behavior at a young age, setting them up for success as they grow into adulthood. The process of working towards an AKC title is also a wonderful bonding experience, strengthening the relationship between you and your puppy. Remember, early training doesn't just make a well-behaved pet; it makes a confident, happy, and sociable member of your family. Embrace the journey and enjoy the fulfilling experience of watching your young puppy grow into a well-mannered adult dog.

AKC Title Abbreviations

In this article, we've referred to several title abbreviations used by the American Kennel Club (AKC). All of these AKC title abbreviations refer to various AKC title recognition programs. The VHM stands for Virtual Home Manners, a program that provides foundational training for puppies and adult dogs in a home setting. Within this program, there are two levels: VHMP, the Virtual Home Manners Puppy title for puppies, and VHMA, the Virtual Home Manners Adult title for grown dogs. Additionally, S.T.A.R. Puppy is an AKC program for puppies up to one year of age, focusing on socialization, training, activity, and a responsible owner. CGC stands for Canine Good Citizen, an AKC program that recognizes dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. Achieving these titles signifies a dog's successful completion of the respective training program and their mastery of certain skills and behaviors.

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