Teacher Cheryl VanVoorhies
Age 5 mo + up
Class size 6
Duration 6 1 hr. Sessions
Category Obedience / Manners
$ 145.oo

C.L.A.S.S., or Canine Life And Social Skills, has 3 “college” levels; this is the B.A. for dogs, Level 1.

Looking for My Dog Has C.L.A.S.S., M.A. (Level 2)? Click here
Looking for My Dog Has C.L.A.S.S., Ph.D. (Level 3)? Click here

This class is ideal for those interested in Canine Good Citizen testing as well as developing therapy dog skills to visit hospitals and nursing homes.


  • Your dog must be non-reactive (friendly or indifferent) to other dogs and people.
  • Your dog should be 5 months of age and older.
  • Ideally, your dog should have some basic obedience skills such as sit and down.

Send your dog to college! You will have more fun with your dog, be able to go on more outings and do more activities when he or she possesses obedience skills and manners that are needed in the real world. This is also the first step in training your dog to be a therapy dog to visit hospitals and nursing homes.

The My Dog Has C.L.A.S.S. (B.A.), which stands for Canine Life And Social Skills, is the way to achieve or improve those skills. Using the skills learned in this class in everyday situations, a dog can become a well-behaved member of your household and a welcome part of society.

Every level of the C.L.A.S.S. program (there are 3) has a formalized evaluation you can take to test your skills. The BA level test is similar to the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. You will also have taken the first step toward the skills required to pass tests for therapy dog work.

As humans, we have the tendency to notice and react when our dog is doing something we don’t like. In this class, we will show you how to improve your relationship by rewarding your dog for doing things you do like. When the communication is two-way, mutual trust is strong. We will use instructive training, telling our dog, without anger or force, what we would like him or her to do. Clear boundaries and rules will be set for our canine companions so they feel more secure knowing what’s expected, and flourish in the learning environment.

In this 6-week class you will learn:

  • How to work at your dog’s level to stay successful;
  • How to teach your dog practical, real-life skills such as:
    • Walking nicely on a leash;
    • Meeting and greeting strangers;
    • Giving you attention;
    • Coming when called
    • Waiting at the door;
    • Stay;
    • Settle down;
    • Leave it;
    • Waiting politely for the food bowl
    • Impulse control around items your dog wants (but can’t have at that time)
  • What is reinforcing for your dog and be able to use this knowledge to effect positive training results;
  • How to use games and have fun in class working on practical, useful skills
  • What you need to work on. In week 6 a mock evaluation will be done so you will learn specifically what you need to work on for complete success at this level.

The BA level class evaluation is governed by APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers) and ihas some similarities to the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. It’s an evaluation of real-life skills.

Here is a video that demonstrates the B.A. level skills tested in the evaluation: click here to watch

For those interested in passing the C.L.A.S.S. BA evaluation,Read the Student Handbook. This handbook also contains great information about dog behavior and training.

C.L.A.S.S., or Canine Life and Social Skills, is an educational program to promote training focused on the use of positive reinforcement and to strengthen relationships between humans and their canine companions. C.L.A.S.S. is a three-level evaluation for dog owners to demonstrate the real-life skills of their dogs, as well as a knowledge assessment of the owners’ understanding of basic dog handling and care.

Developed by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (www.apdt.com) based on input from both dog owners and non-dog owners, shelter workers, and professional dog trainers, C.L.A.S.S. benefits pet owners, dogs, and everyone in the community!

The three levels of the program are named after human university degree programs: the B.A. (Bachelor’s level), the M.A. (Master’s level), and the Ph.D. (Doctorate level). The skills in each level vary in the level of difficulty and distractions.

For example, at the B.A. level, we allow the use of treats as rewards after the completion of an exercise, and some of the “real life” skills that are assessed are waiting at the door, drop it, and settle.

In the M.A. level, dogs are asked to walk past several dogs of different sizes, breeds and genders, to wait in the car before exiting, and to allow the owner to handle various parts of their body.

And in the Ph.D. level, owners must carry everyday objects such as a cardboard box or paper sack while walking their dogs on a loose leash, ask their dogs to back up, and have their dog demonstrate table manners during a simulated dinner session. Each level also allows for two “bonus rounds” that owners may elect to try or not with their dog.