Dalmatian given death sentence is now a C.L.A.S.S. act

Date: January 2012
Contact: Deb Millikan, damag1@bigpond.com (8431 9134)

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When Sharon Crichton adopted her Dalmatian pup, ‘Pippa’, little did she know this gorgeous dog would present her with one of the greatest yet most rewarding challenges of her life.  As Pippa grew it became more and more obvious the puppy suffered from anxiety related aggression. The aggression would show itself in the form of resource guarding where Pippa would growl and snap around things she saw as ‘high value’ including her food, toys and bed.

By the age of 7 months one vet had even suggested Pippa be euthanized. However Sharon refused to give up on the feisty, beautiful Dalmatian and with the help of a Veterinary Behaviourist Pippa has made amazing progress.

On Friday 13th January, 2012 , Sharon and Pippa, together with Bodil Schou-Hansen and Coco (the Dogue des Bordeaux) were the first students in Australia to gain their C.L.A.S.S. B.A. For Dogsthrough Canine Behavioural School in Adelaide, South Australia.

C.L.A.S.S. (Canine Life and Social Skills) is an educational program developed by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) in the United States to promote dog training focused on the use of positive reinforcement and to strengthen relationships between humans and their canine companions. 

The objectives of C.L.A.S.S. are to:

  • Promote reward-based training
  • Strengthen dog/owner relationships through shared activity and fun, positive training
  • Encourage dog owners to participate in ongoing training and activities with their dogs
  • Value the real-life skills of dog/owner teams
  • Educate pet owners in dog behaviour

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 difficulty and distractions. 

Canine Behavioural School’s Head Instructor, Deb Millikan, is one of only two Australians currently qualified as a C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator and is very proud of her canine and human students.

“I believe that today Canine Behavioural School has had an Australian first.  Sharon and her Dalmatian Pippa and Bodil and Dogue Coco have successfully gained their B.A. titles at the C.L.A.S.S. evaluations today,” she said

“It is particularly pleasing that Pippa gained her title as she was a rescue from death's door. A severe resource guarder as a puppy, with the help of a veterinary behaviourist Sharon has been able to build Pippa's confidence and abilities using positive methods to the point that she is able to be outdoors, with other dogs around her and her food and undertake an evaluation for C.L.A.S.S. This is a tribute to Sharon's hard work and the positive training methods used by Canine Behavioural School.”

Deb says Canine Behavioural School is the first dog training school in South Australia and currently one of only two dog training schools in Australia, offering the C.L.A.S.S. program to students.

“The program helps dog owners (we prefer to call them guardians) build the skills they need to have a happy and well trained dog at home. Each class develops the guardians’ ability to teach their dogs good manners and an evaluation at the end of each term can result with their dogs being titled with a B.A., M.A. or a PhD. – with or without Honours!”

To arrange an interview and photo opportunity please contact Deb Millikan on 8431 9134 or damag1@bigpond.com

To find out more about C.L.A.S.S. go to

To find out more about Canine Behavioural School go to

How do I get started?

Download the Program Handbook to read about the C.L.A.S.S. rules and requirements.

How do I find an Evaluator?

All Evaluators will be listed as an Official C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator in the APDT Trainer Search.

What does the C.L.A.S.S. Program cost?

Visit our registration fees page for details on pricing.

APDT Trainer Search