Our Self-Study “Train the Dog” program provides a structured program to follow to teaches the handler how to teach a dog to learn new behaviors and moderate their emotions. The handler learns the theory and practical skills and practice them with their own dog or other dog.
Dogs must be at least 4 months of age to start the program. By taking this program you become a dog trainer. The dog also learns the behaviors needed to become a good family member, community member then potentially, a service dog.
Note: Our “Train the Dog” program is focussed on different ways to teach one dog at a time. The handler will not learn how to teach other people to teach dogs nor will they learn how to teach groups of dogs.
You will need access to at least one dog to work with throughout the program.
Program includes library subscription.
Our program has modules that focus on experimenting with different ways a dog learns to find out which approach works best for the dog you are working with. You learn to teach a dog the foundation behaviors and concepts that can later be put together to create more complex behaviors like loose leash walking, service dog tasks, therapy dog tricks, sport dog behaviors and more!
You will learn the scientific principles of learning that will help you easily teach your dog new behaviors and change unwanted ones. You will learn how to teach default behaviors to reduce your workload by putting the the dog’s brain to work instead of just yours.
Throughout the modules we teach you to observe and interpret dog body language. These will give us clues as to how the dog is feeling and how we might be respond in a functional way both while training and in general life.
We also take a look at some behavior modification tools for helping dogs in fear periods, low energy dogs, and dogs with high arousal to change their behavior. We teach you to teach your dog to be a thinking dog that makes good choices in the situations he finds himself in rather than teaching mindless obedience!
We use ‘direct instruction’ for the most part. That means we give you the information you need upfront, laid out in sequence in a step by step format, with some video examples, then you apply it. You learn by reading and observing. For some topic areas, we do encourage experiential learning where you dive in and experience the learning for yourself before evaluating what happened for you and the dog afterward. We also offer opportunities for reflection in our discussion topics that ask higher level (more thoughtful) questions.
Physical Layout of Program:
Modules include lessons that broken into tiny bite-sized bits of a combination of text, short video demos, photos and diagrams. There are discussion questions to get you thinking about the training principles and concepts and you can generalize them to teach other behaviors. There are other linked resources to read such as blog posts, webinars and books to read.
This program is set up for people who like to read (a lot of text) and then watch short video clips that apply the instruction. Some students prefer to listen to a screen reader reading the text for them. Text is ideal for non-native English speakers.
Our “Train the Dog” program is a long haul program with 18 modules over 9 months. There is no rushing learning. Like for our dogs, people learn best in incremental steps. We offer plenty of application for the theory, principles and concepts so you can see how they apply to the practical aspects of training a dog.
Modules are released two per month so you can work at your own pace.
Try a free sample lesson to see if the class structure will work for you!
There is a progress bar for each module to keep you on track and motivated to move forward.
Monthly payment allows for no big upfront fee!
After you have completed the program, all class materials can continued to be accessed for one year from end date. After the year is up, to continue to access the Training the Dog Program materials, you can purchase a Library Subscription. If you want continued access to the Library during year after completion, then you can to purchase a Library Subscription.
- Owners who want to train their own service dog to international standards
- Anyone over the age of 18 years can take the classes.
- You can live anywhere in the world as long as you can read and speak English and have access to high speed internet and a functioning webcam.
- If you are a minor, you must have a parent or guardian actively overseeing the training. They sign up on your behalf.
- Your medical condition or disability must be stable. If you are newly diagnosed, we discourage you from starting the training process until you understand your disability and are able to manage it well. Caring for and training a service dog takes much focus, energy and time on top of your medical condition. Taking on a puppy is like having a new baby for the first two years.
- If you do better with listening than reading, then using a screen reader might work for you.
- If you are hard of hearing, the short video clips do not have closed captioning as most videos only have the sound of the marker. There is rarely any ‘talking head’ type videos in the class videos except the introduction to each module.
- Current trainers who want to update their skills and knowledge of the dog training industry
- Keen Dog owners who want to keep current on the most up-to-date science-based and ethical approaches
- Retirees looking for an enjoyable program to teach their dog to be a service dog.
- Therapy dog handlers and volunteer coordinators
- Dog walkers, dog daycare staff and dog sitters who want to upgrade their services to train the dogs they work with.
- Trainers who want to start offering dog-centred in-home board and train
- Kennel staff who want to offer training
- Sports enthusiasts who want a big picture understanding of how to teach foundation skills that can later be used to develop competition behaviors.
- Care about the emotional, social and physical well-being of their dog.
- Are dedicated to an intense learning program
- Curious about life
- Have a strong desire to learn and apply a variety of different ethical training approaches
- Have daily access to a dog who is 4 months or older
- Can schedule their own time and maintain a training journal and records
- Are able to spend about 10 hours per week learning and 5 hours per week training a dog
- have good executive functioning (working memory, flexible thinking, self-control etc), problem solving etc)
Here is a list of the modules that are included in the “Train the Dog” program.
In the process of the program, you learn to teach all the things a dog needs to live a good life. Starting with learning how to be a good family member, then a great community member, then on to life as an excellent service dog! Such a dog needs an understanding of how to learn concepts, be aware of where his body is in space, be maintained in a healthy physical and emotional state, live in a functional social environment with enrichment and learn new things and have success doing so.
Our modules introduce these to you and your dog so together you can choose the best way to achieve them in your specific situation.
Module 7 Social Learning in Dogs A
Module 12 Classical Conditioning A
- a high-speed internet connection
- a computer, laptop, tablet or handheld device that has a recent operating system (older systems may have trouble displaying the lessons)
- service dog students-a dog that has suitable temperament and health and has appropriate socialization and exposure. Check out our blog posts on breeder and adult dog selection.
- dog trainer students- a dog that you have access to every day for 5 days a week (ideally for at least 2 separate training sessions per day)
- a web cam (for web cam sessions)
- transportation to get to locations where suitable level distractions are found
- a support system of helpers (see blog post on the topic)
In the last 15 years, dogs have become a popular topic of scientific research and we are learning just how little the so called ‘experts’ used to know about their social and emotional live and their abilities! There are over 25 scientific dog laboratories worldwide dedicated to their research (using ethical non-invasive methods-most relying on voluntary participation from pet dogs and their people).
From discovering how their biology affects their behavior and emotions, to natural abilities that help them empathize with their human partners, dogs are simply amazing creatures! No longer are they subjected to outdated experiments or kept as junkyard dogs and just pets. Now they are integral in many people’s lives and billions of dollars are spent annually caring for their every need.
Dogs naturally relate to humans better than any other species in the world. This knowledge offers us almost limitless possibilities on how to strengthen the bond with our dogs, how to best communicate with them and how to teach them what we want them to do in different situations without nagging, using coersion or punishment. Applying the new knowledge allows us to build a true partnership with the dogs we live with. That’s key to individuals who rely on their dog to help them every day to live an independent and fulfilled life!
None of our approaches use aversive or correction techniques or tools since acquiring new behaviors is about building confidence to take risks, not suppressing unwanted behaviors. A dog can’t learn new things if he’s afraid to try something new. We will teach you functional ways to give your dog outlet for normal behavior and how to eliminate the ones you don’t want to see. Our “Train the Dog” Program builds an open two way channel of communication between the handler (trainer) and the dog.
What you will discover about your dog in our “Train the Dog” program will open your eyes to how amazing they are, shift your perspective and make the bond with your dog stronger! Teaching new behaviors will be a breeze!