Shelter/Rescue Scholarships

Our Commitment

The primary reason for relinquishment of dogs to shelters and rescues is their behavior. Each year the Academy for Dog Trainers offers a limited number of partial scholarships to employees and volunteers of shelter and rescue organizations who will use their improved education to keep shelter/rescue dogs in adoptive homes, to help these dogs become better integrated with new families, and to help owners train, manage, and modify behavior using non-aversive, science-based practices.

Scholarship Amount

The Academy’s Shelter/Rescue scholarship is for 50% of tuition.

The remaining balance of $4,112.50 must be paid after acceptance of the scholarship award and completed enrollment in the Academy.

Scholarship Requirements

To be considered for a Shelter/Rescue Academy Scholarship, an applicant must:


Be currently active in their organization with a history of at least 2 years of service in a paid staff or active volunteer position.


Be prepared to complete the Academy’s 2-year program according to the details and timeframe published on the Academy website. Applicants should be able to set aside 10 to 15 hours per week in addition to regular work schedules to study program materials, attend webinars, participate in online discussions, and practice mechanical training skills.


Submit a fully completed Application Form during the application period (June 1st to June 15th) and according to the details outlined on this page AND be endorsed by his or her shelter or rescue organization on a separate Endorsement Form.


Possess at least 2 years of experience in any field that demonstrates skills in teaching, coaching, educating, counseling, or interacting with human populations in a customer, client, or patient relationship capacity; OR have 2 years or more of client service experience in a pet-related field such as dog walking, pet sitting, grooming, day care, or veterinary care. These experiences may precede or be concurrent with the applicant’s shelter/rescue work.


Have access to untrained dogs and to basic video capabilities – shooting, editing and uploading – for the purpose of filming practice sessions to submit for coaching feedback and to achieve exam readiness.

In order for its employee or volunteer to be considered for an Academy scholarship, a shelter or rescue organization must:


Have a verifiable non-profit status as well as a mandatory spay/neuter policy.


Provide an Endorsement Form during the application period (June 1st to June 15th) and according to the details outlined on this page.


Completed Scholarship Application Forms are accepted during a two-week period from June 1 through June 15 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Any submissions received after that time will not be considered for a scholarship.

Scholarship recipients will be notified of their awards via email by July 15.

Scholarship recipients have until July 31, to accept their awards and must be prepared to enroll and pay the remaining balance of $4,112.50 at that time; otherwise, the scholarship award will be given to the next approved Applicant.


Scholarship recipients will receive a formal admissions email that explains tuition payment terms.  Once enrollment is complete and course materials have been mailed, the Academy does not offer tuition refunds of any kind.

Student Applicants who are not awarded a scholarship, but who meet the Academy’s admission criteria, will have the opportunity to enroll in the Academy at current tuition rates depending on enrollment levels at that time. If enrollment space is limited, these Applicants will be accepted in the order of receipt of their completed scholarship applications.

Applicants who are not granted a scholarship and who do not meet admission criteria are welcome to re-apply in subsequent years.

Scholarship applicants are NOT required to pay the Academy’s standard $75 non-refundable application fee.

Application Requirements

Submit your corresponding Application Form and Endorsement Form during the application period (June 1st to June 15th). We do not accept applications via any other means or at any other times of the year.

These elements must be included with your application forms in order for them to be accepted as complete.


Scholarship Application and Endorsement Form: Organizations and Students must complete separate electronic documents.


One Letter of Reference (in Adobe PDF format): Provide one reference letter from a qualified individual who can comment on your academic potential, your skills with people, and your potential for becoming a professional trainer and behavior counselor.

NOTE: If Student Applicant is currently the organization’s Director, another letter of reference is required from the organization’s Board Chair.


Video Clip Submission: Provide a link to a short video clip (approximately 60 seconds) that successfully demonstrates these four things:

    • You can film a simple one-minute interaction between yourself and a familiar dog.
    • You can keep your body and the dog’s body in frame during filming.
    • You can speak comfortably and audibly to the camera; or alternatively, provide clear narration.
    • You can upload your video file (Vimeo or YouTube) which you will be able to attach at the end of your Scholarship Application. Please remember to test your link before submitting it.

Scholarship application form will be live on June 1, 2024.


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