The Academy is a two-year part-time comprehensive program. We welcome existing animal behavior professionals, dog sports enthusiasts wanting to shift to a career helping pet owners, pros in related fields such as veterinarians and veterinary technicians, groomers and animal shelter staff and volunteers, graduates of other programs who are looking to broaden their skills, and self-educated dog lovers with sufficient hands-on dog experience. Our ideal candidate is intellectually curious, conscientious, emotionally stable, with compassion for both dogs and people, and a love of teaching. A good sense of humor also helps in this challenging profession! We vet applications carefully to make sure you’re a good fit for the program, so please be thorough and honest on your application.
Our program generally takes up to two years to complete. Most students work between 10 and 20 hours per week at the program. Your progress through the Academy is organized in four levels, modelled after the US college system. You’ll have up to six months to study for each level. By the end of each level, you’ll demonstrate you’ve achieved the required standard before you progress to the next level. If you find you’re flying through the material, and your training skills are in order, you can progress faster. You’ll start as a Freshman, progress to Sophomore, Junior and then Senior before taking the final exam to achieve a CTC. To progress from level to level you must:
- Submit video that shows your skills in training specific behaviors. The videos don’t need to be polished in production values, just clear enough for us to see your technique, including your decision-making process. You’ll be coached every step of the way.
- Pass the required assignments. The assignments are designed to show you can translate your knowledge into professional-grade training and modification plans for clients and their dogs.
- Pass the knowledge test for that level.
If you complete a level faster than the allocated six months, you can ‘roll over’ the time you’ve gained and spend more on subsequent parts of the program, provided you hit each milestone.
Student and Graduate Support The Academy is known for its support of both students and graduates. Continuous coaching: We coach you intensively to develop your training technique. You will submit training videos as you study for each level. We’ll review it and shape your training technique. There’s steady feedback so you’ll never wonder how well your practical skills are developing. We’re constructive throughout and we model the approach we recommend you adopt with your own clients. Group study and mentoring: Aside from The Academy Café, where students, staff and graduates hang out and connect, you can join the study groups for each level and get guidance from your peers as well as the Academy staff on the material and practica for that level. Our discussion forums are without peer in the world of applied dog behavior. Everybody’s game is raised through critical thinking, dialog and collegial support. Quizzes and practice tests: The modules have embedded quizzes on all topics, and we have an accumulation of quiz webinars you may access on a variety of germane topics, and new quizzes are offered regularly.
The Academy offers continued supervised practice to our graduates. We have numerous discussion platforms where graduates can be mentored by Jean and the Academy staff on their cases, classes and businesses. Graduates are also welcome to continue attending Academy webinars which offer the latest research and guest speakers on the gamut of relevant topics to our work. Jean and Sarah also have weekly office hours on Zoom. The Academy is unique in its degree of post-graduate support.
What if I don’t make it? We will do all we can to give you help, but ultimately your success is up to you. We are aiming for excellence and our graduates have to meet a high standard. Practice standards are exactly what the dog training industry most needs. At each level, you can submit the required training video as early and as often as you like. We’ll keep on giving you feedback until you submit video that meets the standard or until the six months for that level has passed. After that point if you have not completed your work, you will have dropped out of the Academy. For written assignments and knowledge tests, you get two tries at each. If you do not pass, you can make a second attempt within a month. If you fail on your second attempt, you will have dropped out of the Academy. We are unable to refund the cost of the course if you drop out. We carefully screen all applicants and only accept a small number who we believe have the aptitude and determination to succeed. However, the course does require a high degree of personal application and dedication. To see the detail of the study program for each level: click here