The Canine Life and Social Skills program aims to teach pet owners how to use positive reinforcement techniques to teach their dog how to behave properly in public.
“This program educates pet owners and gives them the tools they need to not only provide good canine manners, but include the dog in more types of activities,” said APDT executive director Mychelle Blake. “Without the proper training, these leisure activities can be stressful for both the dog and owner.”
Pet owners can sign up for the CLASS program here. Registration for one dog costs $5 per level (B.A., master’s or PhD). At the end of the six- to eight-week training program, the dog is evaluated by an APDT member.
One goal of the CLASS program is to develop an assessment that is particularly beneficial to the needs of shelter dogs. Any shelter or rescue group that is a registered 501(c)(3) may register their shelter for free and all dogs in the shelter may be tested and the fees waived.
CLASS believes that canine stress in the shelter is a very serious concern for the health and well-being of the dogs. Teaching basic obedience behaviors in shelter dogs is vital for increasing their chances of retention in the new home.
Trainers can also sign up on the website to be a program instructor or evaluator. To become an evaluator, APDT members must pass a series of online tests on training and the rules of program, train a minimum number of hours per week and receive regular training on program updates.