Amy Weeks, M.A. is the owner and head trainer of Amy’s Canine Kindergarten in Tampa Florida. They offer in-home training, group classes, behavior consultations, and service dog coaching. They also specialize in working with families with children and are strong advocates for child/dog safety in their community.
In addition to her Cooperative Paws Service Dog Coaching certificate, Amy holds numerous credentials and certifications. She is a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) and behavior consultant (CBCC-KA) through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Victoria Stilwell Certified, a Family Pet Parent Educator, a Canine Good Citizen evaluator, and a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and Pet Professional Guild.
Can you share a bit about your prior experience working for nonprofit service dog training programs?
I have worked for two service dog organizations in the past. The first was Florida Guide Dogs for the Deaf. This organization offered in home training services to the hard of hearing and deaf and allowed clients to help train their own dog. I also worked at Therapetics, an organization that trained and offered service dogs to those in need. It was a great experience because I was given my own dog to foster and work with. Ms. Holly will forever be a part of my heart!
Given your background with service dog programs, what motivated you to apply to the SDC program?
I wanted to start offering service dog coaching through my training business, so I was looking for an educational program to strengthen my skills, deepen my knowledge, and provide me with the business tools I would need to move forward. I chose SDC because it was clear that it would do all of those things — and prepare me for the inevitable trials and tribulations a trainer runs into when offering service dog training. Of course, the fact that it is based exclusively on positive training methods and principles sealed the deal for me!
How has offering service dog training impacted your business?
I am currently working with my first client. I started with her because she seemed to understand the time, effort, and cost involved in training a service dog. We are starting with a puppy, which is fantastic, as I have a say in the entire life of this pup’s development!
What has surprised you about working with service dogs?
I am amazed at the connection that these dogs develop with their humans. We are only 8 months into training with my current client and already the pup is able to anticipate a lot of her needs. I can’t wait to see what another year will bring!
Is there anything else you wish to share?
I’m really happy that I made the leap and added service dog coaching to my business. I feel like there will be a lot of flexibility with it. For instance, I may choose to focus on “in-home-only” service dogs (skilled companions) to serve people with disabilities who have dogs who are not suited to public access work. Veronica has helped open my eyes to the possibilities in this facet of service dog training.