Canine Life and Social Skills (C.L.A.S.S.)

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) new program will help you say, “My Dog Has C.L.A.S.S.” Developed by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) 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! Learn More / Access a Free C.L.A.S.S. Webinar >

C.L.A.S.S. is a three-level evaluation for students to demonstrate the real-life skills of their dogs, as well as a knowledge assessment of the students’ understanding of basic dog handling and care.

C.L.A.S.S., through its evaluation, curriculum, and training resources, advocates the use of reward-based training. Positive, reward-based training minimizes the use of punishment and is fun for you and your dog!

The three levels of the program are named after human university degree programs: the B.A. for Dogs™ (Bachelor’s level), the M.A. for Dogs™ (Master’s level), and the Ph.D. for Dogs™ (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 student to handle various parts of their body. And in the Ph.D. level, students 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 students may elect to try or not with their dog.

The first step in beginning with the C.L.A.S.S. program is studying the rules and requirements in the Student Handbook.

Heather Gutshall, CPDT-KA is a certified C.L.A.S.S. Instructor and Evaluator. We offer both group classes and private training to ready dog/handler teams for all levels of C.L.A.S.S. certification.

See for more on the C.L.A.S.S. Program or to register to take the BA, MA or PhD Level Evaluations.​

To register for CLASS please print the waiver and registration form, ​and send along with $150 registration fee to: 


Outbound Hounds
21 Sunset Terrace
Cranston, RI 02905


Download Waiver Here

Download Registration Form Here

If you have completed a level of C.L.A.S.S. and wish to have your dog evaluated, and move on to the next level, a completed Veterinary Certificate is required.


Download Veterinary Certificate Here