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Donna Hill's

Service Dog Training Institute

Student Testimonials & Awards

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Our “how to” dog training videos have been used by professor Dr. Susan G. Friedman in her class lectures.

(A pioneer in the application of Applied Behavior Analysis at Utah State University)

Testimonials from our Students

Loose Leash Walking

We have been working through the loose leash walking program as I transition Walter from the use of the prong collar that was used in his training program to a flat collar.
We have been to 2 different National Parks in the last few days and I am so proud of how Walter has been walking on a loose leash. Thank you Donna Hill!

Claudia G. & Walter 
Illinois, May 2024

Donnas Programm deckt alle wichtigen Bereiche ab. Sie vermittelt hierbei auf leicht verständliche Weise nicht nur, wie man vorgehen sollte, sondern auch das Hintergrundwissen, warum man so vorfahren sollte. Die einzelnen Teilschritte der Verhalten sind leicht verständlich aufeinander aufgebaut und leicht nachzuverfolgen durch eine Kombination aus schriftlicher Erklärung und Videos. Außerdem bieten die Checklisten nicht nur eine leicht einsehbare Übersicht über den Fortschritt, sondern helfen auch beim Verallgemeinern, keine wichtigen Schritte zu überspringen.
Alles in allem würde ich ihre Kurse jederzeit an Halter und Trainer weiterempfehlen.

Donna’s program covers all factors I consider important.  She provides the background information to know why you do what you do while still keeping it easy to understand.  The steps to achieve each behavior are broken up nicely and are easy to follow through due to both the written descriptions combined with the videos for a visual. On top of that, the checklists are both a nice visual reminder to see how far you have come in training and prevent skipping steps in generalizing. 
I’d recommend her classes any time to owners and trainers alike. 

Frey Schorch
Deutschland/Germany Sept 2023
Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner 
Certified Canine Physical Therapist/Physiotherapist 

“Donna Hill has an excellent retrieve program on her online Service Dog Training Institute. I am working through it right now to teach a formal SD retrieve.

Love it! I was getting a bit stuck with my current SD, and her splits are just what we needed. After three five-minute sessions, we are already further along than we were before. Thank you for your awesome content!”

Sasha & Mocha & Toffee
Kenmore, Washington  Aug 2023

“Your program is invaluable, I learned massive amounts that apply in everyday life with dogs. What I learned gave me an in home dog that picks up everything I drop, barks when the phone rings and stays still to steady me when I stand. I’m not in need of a Service Dog, but a service dog and she loves the tasks. Her ability to slice behaviors so thinly make learning so easy and fun, it is motivating to continue training.
Thank you, I wish everyone who needs a Service Dog would take advantage of your brilliant and extremely reasonably priced program.”

Donna Wilson Wolff & Nina
Michigan, May 2023

Accepted for Airplane Travel via Air Canada

“Donna is an amazing individual, her calm demeanour and her vast knowledge helped us both feel very comfortable. Our dog immediately gained his trust with Donna after our very first in-person interaction. Donna’s training style in person, on zoom and within her online videos are all very effective! She was always warm, positive in her interactions and is extremely observant and patient concerning mine and my dogs needs. Donna understands in detail both the person and their dog’s needs and helps both parties positively grow and learn during this training process. 

I would highly recommend Donna, she is an 11/10 type person for any special training needs. She gained our utmost respect throughout this process and she certainly produced an amazing well-trained service dog!”

Lisa, Paul & Remington
Ontario Jan. 2023

Valuable Information for Dog Training


Your course has given me a very scientific  understanding of my four-legged family, both psychologically and physically, and your course covers a very wide range of topics.  From shallow to in-depth, allowing owners train and understand their dogs better.  Moreover, many concepts that were completely unknown to myself before have all been learned from you.  Donna is very friendly and responds to my emails very carefully.  Similarly, my family and I study together, from service puppy programs to basic courses, and each course is repeated, always discovering new things.

任卫超  Ren Weichao
Beijing / 北京  March 2023

BC Team Certified

“I’ve taken courses with the Service Dog Training Institute as well as private webcam sessions. The courses are very detailed and easy to follow. Donna Hill is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to Service Dog training, provides feedback and is easy to work with. It was really helpful as we worked on our tasking. I plan to take more courses with SDTI and would recommend working with Donna to anyone who is owner-training their Service dogs.”

Anastasia & Xavier 
Vancouver, BC   Nov. 2022

Alberta Service Dog team certified!

“Starting owner training a service dog is no small feat. It can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Donna broke it down into stages and simplified the process in a way that made it easier to know where to start. The course options are more cost efficient for those that can’t access professional training services, and they are accessible especially for those who don’t have available options nearby. She helps her students understand how to communicate and build a bond with their dog at any stage in the process.

Donna Hill’s courses were a large part of the foundational skill building with my own service dog journey. I am ecstatic to share that my girl and I have recently passed Alberta’s service dog public access certification test. We did use many training tools, but SDTI played a big part in our success. Thank you so much for making such a clear and accessible course offering to guide service dog owner- trainers to success! It’s hard work, but it can be done!”

Krystal & Tzila
Alberta, Canada. Jan. 2022 

“Donna’s help was invaluable!”

BC Certified and re-certified.

Donna laid out all the things that I needed to do in order to get my service dog certified.  I met with her many times online and even did in person practice sessions as well. I took her courses and used her videos and resources.  What is so great about Donna is she has such a wealth of knowledge both about dogs but also about all the bureaucratic hoops to jump through to get a dog certified. With Donna’s help I felt able to tackle any problem.  We live between Montreal and Victoria and would always meet with Donna when we were back in BC.  I remember when my dog was young after we had done some work with her in BC I moved to Montreal and I had to immediately book an online session because all the training was being jeopardized because the streets of Montreal were filled with treats like bagels and pizzas and chicken shawarma, even Baguettes just on the street / sidewalk and my dog was quickly learning to gobble it all up as we walked along. Donna helped me come up with an amazing game to redirect my dog. Donna is incredibly adaptive and has a good imagination for shaping behaviour. Working with her really opened up my eyes to what is possible with my dog. She also made sure that she was public access ready and we passed our BC assessment with flying colours first in 2019 and then again in 2022. Very grateful for the practice test that we did with Donna before the actual test. 

Thank you Donna — you’re a gem! We couldn’t of done it without you!”

Katie & Spoons
Victoria, British Columbia and Montreal, Quebec 2022

Another Public Access Trained Service Dog

“I needed a service dog. Being a professional dog obedience trainer/ instructor, I felt I was up to the challenge. After temperament testing, I knew King, a German Shepherd Dog, was meant to come into my life. He was delivered to me on my 70th Birthday. Over the next few months I just spent time building trust and bonding with my puppy. My Diabetic neuropathy got worse so with my leg weakness , I knew I had to begin training a mobility assist dog and a Diabetic Alert dog that would help alert me as my blood glucose drops often unexpectedly.

I began to watch Donna Hill’s website and did a lot of research. I took her Foundation Skills Course which greatly helped me teaching King to know the basic skills for a Service Dog, with problem solving. Donna’s training log also was a huge help recording the training sessions. The nose targeting also was a huge skill set that has helped with the diabetic scent training. Overall, the Foundation Skill Course was a tremendous help in King’s training. Using a log sheet, (provided by Donna) to log all his training hours was very helpful.
I felt King’s second birthday was appropriate to officially declare him fully-trained as a Diabetic Alert and Mobility Assist Service Dog.

Our journey continues, and am looking forward to many happy years ahead!”

Retha & King
Royce City, Texas Oct 2021

Update from Cindy

“Over the course of Summer 2021, my Standard Poodle has gradually moved into the title of Service Dog. He’s been in training since he came to me at 10 weeks. It hasn’t been without challenges. He’s really struggled with adolescent behaviors, but is making dramatic changes. Donna’s Foundations class set Nick up for success to learn his tasks. The Public Access class has reminded me of the skills Nick needs to navigate the human world. It reminded me to teach Nick about things we may not often encounter, but he needs to know.

We are working on more tasks and refining access skills, but since Nick meets the ADA definition of a Service Dog, he is now labeled as such.”
SDTI is the Subject of a Blog Post!

Why I Like Service Dog Training Institute 

Cindy & Nick

Clovis, USA  Aug. 2021

Service Dog BC Certified!

“Thank you for guiding us through the process of training our own service dog. It was a long haul due to Covid-19 but we passed his BC assessment with flying colors! The practice tests were very helpful and the tester was impressed with how well Braxton behaved! All is good for take off!”

Michael & Braxton
Qualicum, BC July 2021

Another BC Certified Service Dog!

“Thank you so very much Donna.  I appreciate your dedication and support to your important work for disabled people like me to access service dogs.  You provide hope which is an essential service!  
Kity and I passed and we are officially a Certified Service Dog in BC! Our evaluator’s assessment was received, “excellent loose leash heel… well trained service dog.  Nice work”!
Having a certified service dog will completely open up my world, and it’s all possible due to you Donna!  I can’t express how grateful I am for your commitment to supporting access for service dogs! 
Thank you Donna and SDTI!

Darleen & Kity
Vancouver, BC  May, 2021

Another service dog team passes the Public Access test

“I wanted to up date you. Elly passed public access Saturday and is now a service dog! I am so proud of her! She came to me two years ago… Elly has been remarkable! You helped tremendously when I was looking for a dog. Your input and web site helped identify the behaviors and traits to look for and what to avoid.
Thank you for all your help and encouragement.”

Mary & Elly 
Minnesota, USA  Aug 2020

BC Certified Team

“We are happy to announce that Len and Holly passed the Public Access Test just last week! We/re delighted and wanted to let you know. Your videos and courses we took were very helpful and we found the face to face consultations extremely helpful.
Thanks again . . . keep up your very valuable service. We are forever thankful!
Len & Holly 
Victoria, BC  July 2019

Service Puppy

“Yesterday I took Hela to the vet for another round of her vaccinations. The vet told me she’s the best behaved puppy of any breed she’s ever seen and she took a selfie with Hela and asked us to come in on our next appointment during her work schedule so she can see her again.

Now, my husband and I get those comments about her behavior often. People love her and she loves them. But having our vet get so caught up in her behavior was a bit of an eye opener that the training even so early is working!

I just wanted to say thank you to SDTI and to Donna & Jenn for their hardwork. I wouldn’t have such a well behaved girl if it wasn’t for your training program.” 

Cheryl & Hela Shea

Detroit, MI USA  July 2019

Foundation Skills 1 with weekly web cam sessions

“Training a service dog is a daunting task. I was seeking a safe place where I could learn, ask questions, and have knowledgable instructors that can enable and coach me throughout the process. Service Dog Training Institute has a comprehensive program that is laid out in a clear, logical, and effective manner. The best part is that I can completely trust their team to guide me and support me through building my service dog team. I benefited from practicing the exercises they laid out in the course, receiving individual feedback, and interacting directly with Jenn, an instructor (via webcam), and other participants. I would recommend Service Dog Training Institute to others that are looking to build a stronger relationship with their dog(s) whether or not they are working towards becoming a Service Dog team.”

Amy & Arya
Nova Scotia, Canada   March 2019

Foundation Skills 1 with weekly web cam sessions

“I highly recommend the webcam sessions in combination with the self-study materials for the “Foundations” course. The weekly meetings with Donna give me (1) accountability, (2) feedback through questions and self-recorded videos and (3) encouragement.

It is easy for me to get frustrated, discouraged and even depressed about the long road that is SD training. This is probably the biggest benefit of the webcam sessions for me: they always leave me with a smile on my face and new ideas for improvement to try immediately.

Regarding the curriculum, its logical progression, structure and detail are outstanding. Audio, text and tons of video means that the concepts are clearly explained and demonstrated. Despite knowing where I want to go with training, without a structure I tend to try to train too much too soon and then get frustrated and discouraged. By SDTI breaking it down one step at a time, my dog and I may not be able to run a marathon yet, but we can still get to our destination!”

Emily & Carbon
United Kingdom  March 2019

Foundation Skills

“A service dog has to learn way more tasks, so I knew I’d need to find more help… I was so grateful to find the online courses. Donna Hill has developed these courses with clear instructions, numerous videos, and timely replies to questions. Her love for dogs is clearly seen.”

Nicola & Gord Focht
BC, Canada  Nov. 2018 

“I recently “purchased” the Service Puppy Course and completed most of the course content. I wanted to “try” the course before committing to the entire program. I would now like to go ahead and commit to completing the classes…

By the way – I am SO VERY IMPRESSED with the entire web site and course and information that I have been able to access up to this point. I no longer work but once was a reference librarian and communicating information, making it available and easily accessible from home or on site was my job. Your team is doing a spectacular job. Everything, the web page layout and design, the text, the videos, your instructions, … everything is beautifully thought out and presented. So easy to follow, engaging, helpful, and not at all FRUSTRATING (as so many sites can be). Kudos to everyone involved in the project. You are not just talented dog trainers you are talented teachers for the people who are so desperate to find this type of quality help.”

Patricia & Duke
Ontario, Canada  Oct. 2018

Fast Track In-Person

“I found Service Dog Training Institute in the process of getting a service dog, after contacting countless programs all throughout Canada and parts of the USA I realized I was going to have to train a dog on my own. My family and I had been looking into service dogs for years.

Finding The Service Dog Institute of Nanaimo really sealed the deal of finally getting a dog. The online courses are laid out well and there are a lot of videos to help. My 6-month old Standard Poodle was learning very quickly.

Although the online courses are great, I decided to do the Fast Track program. Nanaimo is 14hrs away from home, so I decided to make it a vacation and drive up and do the fast track program in person. I did 4-1hr in person sessions. Doing it in person was amazing it helped me understand things that I couldn’t seem to grasp during the online program.  The little things she (Donna) was able to help me with, doing it in person was definitely more for myself than the dog. I learned how to train better.
I plan on doing the fast track program again through webcam lessons and I also plan on going back to Nanaimo for the in person fast track program.” 

Michelle Mitchell 
Interior of BC, Canada  Sept. 2018

Service Puppy Class

“You are amazing with all you do for the dog community. I’m a long time admirer and I appreciate all you have done for the service dog community in Canada.

I send a great many pups home to families across Canada. I’m not here to help them so it is such a huge peace of mind to me when I can send them to your resources. I know they will learn methods and theories that I am also teaching. It’s been a game changer for me and my puppy families! Can’t thank you enough.”

Twilla Boyce
April 2018 (Breeder)

Retrieve Class

“Classes don’t get any better than these! Donna slices behaviors into their smallest components and shows them so detailed that learning is easy, all you have to bring is practice.”

Donna Wolff,   Jan. 2018 

Anxiety Task Class

“Donna. Your content is so good! I appreciate you offering your courses at a reasonable price.”

Barb Gadola
Texas, USA  Jan. 2018

“I just wanted to let you know I’ve been working my way through this course (Service Puppy) and it’s amazing! We’re doing so well. 
When will the next level registration be open?”

Christine Jamieson Nov. 2017


SDTI Site LOGO Service Dog Training Institute

Our “how to” service dog videos have been used by prison dog training programs to teach new dog trainers and their dogs.

…got me started on the right foot.

“I feel like the SDTI Service Puppy class definitely got me started on the right foot. It provides a lot of great information, helps you get yourself organized and most importantly helps you build a great foundation with your new puppy. I would definitely recommend the class.”
submitted via survey Nov. 2017


We LOVE your classes and system and so far have found them to be both easy to follow and very effective!  We actually have bought the whole bundle, but before, that, we did a little test with our lab using your free online video for Leave It.  We were so amazed, she walked right through the training, loving the game the whole time.  She even did all the things you said she might do in the video (moving back, over to the side, lay down, etc.) by session 3 she would follow the command in situations around the house and would be so happy with herself when she did.  We have since taught her other things as well since she finds them so much fun to do, even though she will not be a service dog.”

“We have used the Service Puppy class (so much good help there) and Loose leash 1(Since the puppy seemed to naturally tend to walk with a  loose leash we wanted to encourage something he did naturally the right way), and Foundation 1.

We got Gambit recently when he was just 6 months old. He hadn’t hit his fear period quite yet but did not long after, so we have been doing a lot of socialization work with him, and working on things like getting used to people who wear hats and glasses, and so forth which confused him and made him nervous.  However, Leave It has been a life saver with a puppy, Sit is becoming is go to behavior more and more, and he is getting good on eyes. “

Trudy & Gambit SDit
Akron, OH   Sept. 2017

Am having a blast with the courses with my two pups. It is a bit challenging to have two the same age, but we are managing and making good progress. Just attended the KPA Clicker Expo (first time for me) in Stamford. Lots of fun. Thanks for these courses!”

Nancy & 2 SDit’s
New Hampshire   April 2017

“Great class (Service Puppy). Instructor very helpful. Love the class. I would recommend to others!”

Aug, 2017

“Donna Hill is a great instructor. Very detailed. Easy to follow. And tons of good information.”

Springfield, VA  June 2016

“Hello and deepest thanks. With my year old Giant Schnauzer, I took an 1 1/2 hour walk while waiting for auto repair. As she is the most environmentally affected dog I’ve known, we are in an acclimation / habituation phase so we can train in public. 
I thanked you dozens of times as we walked LLW, completely without pulling and if she came to the end of the leash she either stopped or returned to me. It was effortless and elegant. Thrilling!
So grateful to you for your teaching style which made this easy and possible for us.”

Donna & Nina
Ann Arbor, MI     Nov. 2016


“Yesterday after a week of working the first Settle lessons I took my 16 month Giant Schnauzer into my backwoods for the first time since one attempt a year ago. Beautiful loose leash through thick brambles into woods over many downed limbs and logs. While I collected sap, I asked for a “Chill” (Settle), securing the leash around a limb. She stayed calmly as I emptied jugs and return to the house was pleasantly relaxed. Today, instead of moving her with me from tree to tree, I decided to leave her by the first tree, walking a few feet further after each return to reward. I was able to walk thirty feet and spent five minutes collecting before returning to her, still calmly watching me. 
This is a working line German dog, very soft for her lines but unless in working mode wth me, hopping and jumping instead of walking, quite rambunctious. The huge shift in how she works with me although quite biddable and easy to teach prior to the LLW and Settle, is remarkable, a transformation in calmness.
Still working on acclimation to more active environments in nano steps.
Your meticulous presentation of the tiniest steps has made learning easy and joyful for both of us.”

Thank you,
Donna & Nina 
Ann Arbor, MI     Feb. 2017

Student with service dog on beach