Registration is open for our January 2021 Therapy Dog Prep School

Our Service Dog

Trainers & Methods

For More Information:

If, after reading the information below, you feel you would qualify and have the time to devote to this opportunity, complete the on-line application form and we will contact you directly for more information.

Click here if you are interested in the
Assistant Service Dog Trainers Program


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 until placement. Once the dog’s future partner is chosen, training then is adapted to emphasize specific skills needed. Preparing a dog for placement begins as early as 10 weeks of age and culminates with placement at approximately 2 years of age.

Service Dog Trainers

Our all-volunteer service dog training staff gives qualified dog handlers/trainers an opportunity to fulfill their passion of working with special dogs and with persons with disabilities while being employed in other careers. It is a passion … and one that is very demanding, yet fulfilling! Because we do not utilize puppy raisers, our volunteer trainers each start with a pup at approximately 10 weeks and work with their pups for approximately two years, teaching basic obedience, socialization and advanced service dog tasks. Once the dog is ready to be matched, the trainer becomes an active part of the interview process then actually leads the 5 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 staff

All potential Assistant Trainers must 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.

All potential Assistant Trainers must have some experience in teaching dogs using operant conditioning techniques (i.e. clicker training)

Because the dogs live in the homes of the trainers, it is essential to have an appropriate home environment to work with a young pup through 2 years of age.

All trainers must live in San Diego County and be able to take their canine trainees to work and/or other places on a frequent basis.

All trainers must be available to meet weekly for group training, participate in occasional outings and meet quarterly for trainers’ Round Table discussions.

Benefits of joining our training staff

Because we are a small program and only place dogs locally, each Assistant Trainer has an opportunity to work closely with other experienced operant conditioning trainers 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 her/his specific pup. Trainers will also have the opportunity to learn about a variety of disabilities and will be challenged many times 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 team.