The Cooperative Paws SDC® application process is selective. The Service Dog Coach certificate program was designed for experienced professional dog trainers. Prerequisite information is provided as a guideline, but satisfying prerequisites does not guarantee admission. See application for additional information. If you have questions, please ask!
- Knowledge and skills using clicker training and lure reward techniques to train basic and intermediate level behaviors (multi step behavior chains). Knowledge and skills can be demonstrated via:
- Certification(s)* including CPDT-KA, CATCH Academy (CCDT), CDBC, KPA-CTP, PPAB, Peaceable Paws, Victoria Stilwell, or The Academy.
- Certificates from CEU-approved courses or certificate programs (i.e. Fear Free, Family Paws, Fit Paws and others)
- Experience in dog activities. For example: trick training, therapy dog training, AKC CGC, Rally, Freestyle, Agility, or scent work.
*The certification requirement may be waived on a limited case-by-case basis if the applicant can demonstrate an accredited university degree that is relevant to dog training.
- Professional dog training experience. A minimum of 1 year of experience offering in-person professional pet dog training full time or 2 years professional dog training part time. Alternatively, at least 1 year of experience training full time, or 2 years part-time training service dogs for an Assistance Dogs International (ADI) member program. Sorry, puppy raising experience for a service dog program alone is not sufficient experience.
- Commitment to using reward-based (positive training/force-free) methods and tools exclusively for all dogs. Absolutely no pet correction devices of any type. No electronic collars, prong, choke chains nor any other aversive strategy or training tool for any dogs in your business.
- Experience conducting behavior evaluations. This can include evaluating shelter dogs, rescue dogs, conducting behavior consultations for pet dog clients or temperament testing therapy dogs or service dogs. These evaluations can be done as volunteer work or paid work.
- Comfortable using technology for an online course – email, file sharing (i.e. Dropbox, Google Drive), opening/closing PDF files, online forms, recording/sharing video (YouTube, FaceBook) using internet, internet searches.
- Access to a dog to train – an “easy to train” food motivated dog is recommended!