Registration is open for our April 2021 Therapy Dog Prep School

Our Service Dog

Trainers & Training Methods

If, after reading the information on this page about our Service Dog Training Program, you feel you would qualify and have the time to join our Training Team, complete the Assistant Service Dog Trainer Application below and we’ll contact you directly. For questions in the meantime, contact us at [email protected].

Complete the
Assistant Service Dog Trainer Application

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Our training methods

Our Pawsitive Teams Service Dog Trainers train our dogs using positive methods (operant conditioning). Dogs are kept in the trainer’s home from puppyhood up until placement with a partner in need. Once the dog’s partner is chosen, training is then adapted to emphasize specific skills that individual needs. Preparing a dog for placement begins as early as 10 weeks of age and culminates with placement at approximately two years of age.

The Path of a Service Dog Trainer

Our all-volunteer Service Dog Training Team gives qualified dog handlers/trainers an opportunity to fulfill their passion of working with special dogs and with persons with disabilities. Often our trainers have full time jobs and families, so the pup becomes part of the fun! Training a service dog pup is a very demanding yet fulfilling endeavor! Because we don’t use puppy raisers in our training program, each of our volunteer trainers starts with a pup at approximately 10 weeks and works with their pup for approximately two years—during that time the pup learns basic obedience, socialization, and ultimately advanced service dog tasks. Once the dog is ready to be matched with a partner, the trainer takes an active role in the interview process, then actually leads the three-month transition training period and provides key follow-up support for the team throughout the working life of the dog.

Qualifications for joining ourvolunteer training team

A Excellent Potential Pawsitive Teams Assistant Service Dog Trainers will:

  • Have experience in training basic obedience skills with more than one dog as well as experience in resolving basic behavioral problems with a variety of dogs.
  • Have some experience in teaching dogs using operant conditioning techniques (i.e. clicker training).
  • Have an appropriate home environment to work with a young pup through two years of age.
  • Live in San Diego County and be able to take his/her canine trainee to work and/or other places frequently.
  • Be available to meet for weekly group trainings at our Training Center in the Miramar area or at an offsite location as scheduled around San Diego County.
  • Meet quarterly for Service Dog Training Team Roundtable discussions.

Benefits of joining our training team

Because we are a small program and only place dogs locally, each Assistant Service Dog Trainer has an opportunity to work closely with other trainers skilled in operant conditioning and will receive close mentoring. Assistant Trainers will learn to shape essential service dog tasks which will be used on a regular basis with the partner once matched. Each trainer will be actively involved in the interview process and will be the lead instructor during the transition training period of his/her pup in training. Assistant Trainers will also learn about a variety of disabilities and will be challenged to customize skills to make the new partner’s life easier. The trainer will continue to have contact with the graduate after certification and serve as follow-up support for the graduate team.

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