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.
- 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 a combination of:
- Certification(s)1 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.
- Degrees, certificates or other education in fields that directly relate to dog training or service dog training such as veterinary medicine, rehabilitation or education.
1Applicants are expected to have at least one of the certifications listed, however, we may make exceptions for applicants who can demonstrate advanced training education and experience in other ways.
- Professional dog training experience: 5+ years of professional dog training experience is preferred. A minimum2 of 1 year of experience offering in-person professional dog training full time or 2 years professional dog training part time is required.
2Applicants need to show experience and credentials that support advanced technical training skills.
- Commitment to using reward-based (positive training/force-free) methods and tools exclusively for all dogs. No use of electronic collars (including electronic fences), prong collars or choke chains for any dogs in their businesses.
- 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, healthy adult dog is recommended. You will need to submit video of your work training the dog to complete the course.