It looks like my pet parent is checking out the Canine Life and Social Skills Program to promote training using positive reinforcement. It has been been developed by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers to strengthen relationships between us dogs and our pet parents. I am all for that. Strong relationships are what keep us in our homes in spite of what we do…
how we look (dirty & scraggly), or how much maintenance we require (annual vet visits).
This program is similar to the American Kennel Club’s S.T.A.R. Puppy Program
and Canine Good Citizen Program in that life skills are taught and then tested by certified evaluators.
The APDT C.L.A.S.S. program is based on input from both dog owners and non-dog owners, shelter workers and professional dog trainers. It is a 3-level evaluation for our pet parents to demonstrate our real-life skills and their basic knowledge of how to handle and care for us. The positive, reward-based training minimizes the chance that we will be punished and increases the chances of having fun with our pet parents.
We can earn a B.A., M.A., or Ph.D. certificate as we progress with our skills. An entire curriculum is available for use by shelters to either enhance their present programs or to create a new one. The dogs waiting for homes can be evaluated for no cost and then listed in the C.L.A.S.S. web site ins the “dogs for adoption” section…train ‘em up and match ‘em up! Fees for other dogs are only $5.00
The APDT designed C.L.A.S.S. with the needs of shelter dogs in mind. This makes the shelter dogs more adoptable.Knowing basic skills will increase the shelter pet’s chances of staying in their new home. The marketing behind the C.L.A.S.S. program will attract people to these precious pets.
So ask yourself these questions:
- Can you wait at the door?
- Come when you are called?
- Allow your leash to be attached?
- Walk loosely on a leash and stare adoringly at your pet parent?
- Meet people nicely when you are out and about?
- Leave the “untouchable” items untouched?
- Wait for your food bowl to be placed in front of you?
- Stay in one spot?
- Settle down your wiggle butt?
If you can do these things, then you are ready to become a B.A. with C.L.A.S.S.
Have your pet parent study the rules and requirements in the Student Handbook. The components of Canine Life and Social Skills includes educating your pet parent in responsible dog ownership and positive reinforcement, assessing real-life skills, encouraging ongoing training, expanding the opportunities for those of us that are well-behaved and supporting shelters and rescues.
Scientific research has shown that we dogs do not behave “badly”; we just exhibit normal dog behaviors to get our needs met or to resolve conflict. We don’t feel guilty at all because we don’t know right from wrong. We just know what works and we figure out a way to get what we feel that we need.
Your pet parent will have to pass a multiple-choice test on dog information and ownership. They will learn how to relate to you by setting clear boundaries for you rather than confronting you with drama.
Positive, reward-based training works! How have your pet parents “trained” you?
Living in the moment,
Pet Companion to animal lover Amelia
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