C.L.A.S.S. acts in a First Nations reserve

Date: November 12, 2012

"To be honest, I never thought of working with animals until we brought home Kratos," said Brant Garrow who recently passed his Canine Life and Social Skills B.A. for Dogs evaluation with his 10 month old male Boxer puppy Kratos.  "I have always liked dogs, growing up my family always had a dog and dogs have always seemed to like me."

Brant brought Kratos home at 8 weeks old and has been training with him ever since, taking puppy classes offered through a local training business on the Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne.  Akwesasne Iethinoronh:kwa ne Katshenao:kon (a Mohawk phrase meaning, 'We All Love Our Pets') is the first dog training business to be operating out of the community of Akwesasne, and has two evaluators registered through the Canine Life and Social Skills program.

"The Canine Life and Social Skills series is a wonderful program that works with owners and their pets on cultivating skills that can be used in their day to day lives,"

"The Canine Life and Social Skills series is a wonderful program that works with owners and their pets on cultivating skills that can be used in their day to day lives," said Kyrie Ransom, owner of Akwesasne Iethinoronh:kwa ne Katshenao:kon (InK).  "Brant has shown tremendous dedication in working with Kratos on preparing for the evaluation, and that hard work paid off when they earned their B.A. for Dogs with honors. "

Canine Life and Social Skills, or C.L.A.S.S., is an educational program to promote training focused on the use of positive reinforcement and to strengthen relationships between humans and their canine companions.  Developed by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) with input from both dog-owners and non-dog owners, shelter workers, and professional dog trainers – C.L.A.S.S. has three levels of achievement: Bachelor's Level (B.A. for DogsTM), Master's Level (M.A. for DogsTM), and Doctorate Level (Ph.D. for DogsTM).  The levels are progressive and build on the skills developed in the previous level.

"Being part of Akwesasne InK is one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences I have ever had," said Kendra MacKinnon, CPDT-KA – a trainer for Akwesasne InK and C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator.  "An important step in dog training is working with people, both dog people and non-dog people.  Brant is ready to take Kratos places to showcase the skills he developed during the program, and Kratos is better prepared for what he will experience in the world. "

Akwesasne InK strives to provide enrichment opportunities to the Akwesasne community in the area of positive dog training methods.  To realize this goal, they have implemented a 'Train the Trainer' program to help local community members from the Mohawk Territory obtain the classroom and practical training experience necessary to be certified as professional animal-trainers.  Brant Garrow is one of two trainees currently working in this program, and through the C.L.A.S.S. BA for DogsTM program he learned about many scenarios he might encounter with future clients, like socialization, public education and awareness.

"I am amazed to see so many incredible people come to classes with such enthusiasm and love," said MacKinnon of her experiences getting to know people from Akwesasne.  "Akwesasne does struggle with some of the same problems that are seen everywhere, like spaying and neutering, loose dogs, overpopulation – this community is not taking any of these difficulties sitting down or pointing fingers. Changes are happening at a grassroots level, and it is wonderful.  There are so many great dog people and dog loving families, and they are getting the word out there to those who may not know all the ropes."

Akwesasne Iethinoronh:kwa ne Katshenao:kon has passed two dogs in the C.L.A.S.S. B.A. for DogsTM level, including a year old female German Shepherd named Shadow, owned and handled by Kyrie Ransom.  In addition to being a C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator and Instructor, Ransom has also passed the C.L.A.S.S. B.A. for DogsTM with her male German Shepherd back in the spring 2012.

"The C.L.A.S.S. curriculum is a wonderful tool, the resources that have been developed are terrific and make the class fun," said Ransom.  "Having been through two evaluations as the test taker, I can say that it isn't easy to pass.  But that just makes it that much better when we complete the final behavior and find out that we did it – I'm very proud of the strides that Akwesasne InK has made as a dog training operation, and especially for our students who dedicate the time to work with their dogs.  I'm very grateful for all of the support, and hard work that Kendra puts into her classes and look forward to starting our next series of C.L.A.S.S. courses."

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

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