Department of Agriculture, Geosciences & Natural Resources to offer college credit for canines

The University of Tennessee at Martin Department of Agriculture, Geosciences and Natural Resources has established a Bachelor of Science degree in Obedience Studies that will begin accepting students in the fall 2021 semester. This is the first degree of its kind in the world.

Dr. Jason Roberts, professor of animal science, says the new degree program was a result of pet owners who have expressed a need for more formal obedience training for their precocious pups. While there are some classes that offer basic skills for animals, a formal designation of a degree is more widely recognized by pet owners worldwide.

“We’re proud to be the first educational institution in the world to offer a degree for your dog. With the demand for educated canines growing, what better way to serve the state of Tennessee, and the world,” said Roberts. “And to believe it’s all happening right here at UT Martin.”

“We’re proud to be the first educational institution in the world to offer a degree for your dog. With the demand for educated canines growing, what better way to serve the state of Tennessee, and the world.”

University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd also expressed his support of this newest degree offering at UT Martin. Boyd, a proud dog owner and founder of the world’s leading dog and cat product supplier, Radio Systems Corporation, said animal welfare and making our communities more pet friendly is part of the core mission of the University of Tennessee. “I want this to be the greatest decade in UT history, and part of making it great includes educating man’s best friend,” said Boyd.

Additionally, recent studies have shown that smarter dogs live longer.

“When dogs learn to stop using fire hydrants as restrooms, and begin using piddle pads instead, there’s a clear change in their life expectancy,” said Roberts.

Si Belew, an incoming freshman Labrador retriever from Henry County, is excited about the new degree and how it can help him in the future. While Belew is well behaved most days, he knows what pet owners are looking for, and it’s a University of Tennessee degree.

“It’s a private school education at a public school price,” said Belew, who was somewhat distracted by a passing squirrel. “What was I saying? Oh yeah, I couldn’t be happier that this opportunity is available right here in my own back yard.”

Classes that first-year students can expect include: Introduction to Jumping Through Hoops; The History of Animal Fashion; Basic Catching Things with Your Mouth; Frisbee 101; Sit, Heel, Stay; Techniques for Overcoming Your Embarrassing Name; Napping Science; Beyond Dog Obedience; Secret Sniffing in Public; and How to Stay Out of the Road.

For more information about this April Fools’ joke, contact April at aprilfools@utm.edu.

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