Service Dog Trainer School Program Details

If you are eager to be a service dog trainer and work with their handlers, our Service Dog Trainer School is the best program for you. This intensive program will help you cultivate the appropriate skill set necessary to understand how to properly select, socialize and train Service Dogs for mobility and hearing assistance as well as other psychological disabilities. The program also concentrates on training Autism Service Dogs for children and adults on the Autism Spectrum. Our service dog trainer course also covers rights and laws governing service dogs, their trainers, and their handlers.

In addition to the vital training in the classroom, our service dog trainer school students have endless opportunities to work with service dogs in training out in the community.

Curious to know what it’s like to attend the Service dog trainer course at our School for Dog Trainers?  Click on the video above to see what a recent graduate of our program had to say about her experience in our service dog trainer course.

Service Dog Trainer School Calendar

Due to the length of our program, our Service Dog Trainer Course is only offered twice per year, during our Winter (January) and Summer (August) semesters.

 This program usually begins on the first Monday of January (unless this falls on a holiday) in our Winter semester, and during the month of August in our Summer semester. This program is NOT offered in our Spring and Fall semesters.

You can view our most recent calendars for our School for Dog Trainers by clicking on the buttons to the right.  Each calendar is a downloadable .pdf

Service Dog Trainer School Pricing

service dog trainer school learn to train service dogs

Service Dog Trainer School Subjects

This program provides extensive hands-on instruction with a variety of service dogs and gives the student the opportunity to work with service dog candidates throughout the entire process, from selection and testing, to socialization through training the handler, this program gives you all the tools you need to be an effective service dog trainer.

Our Service Dog Trainer Course focuses on teaching students to perfect a variety of skills for mobility, stability, seizure, hearing and autism service dogs.  Each service dog training skill is taught in a way so that they are easy to comprehend and apply within a variety of service dog training applications. 

Our program tests each student in their ability to train and work with service dogs and handlers in real-life environments.  Students are also afforded the opportunity to see the “inner workings” of the Service Dog Sales and Training programs offered at Highland Canine Training, LLC.  This includes meeting with potential clients alongside our trainers and service dog coordinator as well as getting involved in our other work within the community.

Our Service Dog Trainer Course also emphasizes the importance of environmental stability and socialization for both adult dogs as well as service dog puppies.  We also work with students to ensure that they are comfortable working with and training service dogs in public areas.  As such, students in our Service Dog Trainer School frequently take dogs to schools, restaurants, shopping, nursing homes and other public places for their training.  In addition, this course provides an in-depth look at the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Act and other applicable laws that pertain to service dogs and their handlers.  If you are eager to become a service dog trainer, this program will give you all of the knowledge and experience you need to be successful.

Above is a brief outline of the Service Dog Trainer Course. This outline does not cover all of the material, lectures, discussions and hands-on application that is covered during the program and is provided to give a general idea of what the curriculum covers. Practical application evaluations and written examinations occur following each week’s instruction.


Frequent Questions

Is this Program VA Approved?

Unfortunately, this course is not eligible for VA benefits at our Hill Country Campus.

Do You offer Financing?

We offer simple and affordable financing options and can finance tuition for up to 48 months with payments as low as $223.49 per month.

Are there Prerequisites?

No.  There are no prerequisites for our Service Dog Trainer Course.  This program will give you all the skills and knowledge that you need, regardless of experience.

‘GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

Expert Service Dog Trainer School Instructors

service dog trainer school hill country campus

Our Service Dog Trainer School is different in many ways.  Our expert instructors are not only teachers but more importantly practitioners.  Highland Canine Training, LLC has been training skilled service dogs for over a decade through its service dog division.  As such, our students have an opportunity to not only learn how to train service dogs from experts who are involved in the process every day but also have an opportunity to be immersed in this aspect of the industry.

We offer students of our Service Dog Trainer Course as many opportunities as possible to work side-by-side with our various instructors who have years of experience in not only selecting and training a variety of service dogs but also with delivering them and working to effectively train their handlers.

Our Service Dog Trainer School instructors have the ability to give our graduates invaluable insight that they simply can’t get anywhere else.  This is accomplished by offering students operational instruction and real-time feedback while working service dogs in real world settings.

Service Dog School for International Students

Since 2006 our School for Dog Trainers has hosted students from across the globe.  As such, many of our international students have attended our Service Dog Trainer Course in order to be able to return home and effectively train service dogs in their native country.

Attending our Service Dog Trainer Course is a simple process, even for students traveling from outside the US.  We offer airport pickup and ground transportation and can even assist with any required travel documents and paperwork.  Click on the video to hear the perspective of a recent international graduate of our Service Dog Trainer Course.

Our Next Service Dog Trainer School Starts In:


Apply Now

Start Your Career As a Professional Service Dog Trainer! Our School for Dog Trainers gives You All the Knowledge and Skills You Need to Be Successful!
service dog trainer school topics

Service Dog Trainer School Topics

Introduction and Ethology
Introduction to Professional Dog Training as a Career
– Evolution of the Canine
– Canine ethology, & taxonomy
– Comparison of the Domestic Dog and other Canids
– Pedigree Research
Language of Dogs
– Reading and Understanding Canine Body Language and Stress Signals in Dogs
Applied Dog Behavior
– Understanding applied dog behavior
Clicker training as a method of Positive Reinforcement
Baiting and Luring dogs, using food as a reinforcement

Practical Application of Baiting and Luring Dogs
How Dogs Learn
– Learning Theory and Principles
– Application of Reinforcement Schedules
– Behavior Shaping and Fundamentals of Training
EXCEL-erated Learning
Working with Puppies
Dog Breeds (Terriers)
Crate Training and Housebreaking/ Puppies

Proper Application of Training Tools
Practical Socialization
Testing Dogs
Dog Breeds (Sporting)
Purely Positive Training

A Dogs’ Mind
Behavior Problems
– Effective Behavior Analysis
– Dominance and Aggression
– Phobias and Fear Aggression
– Possessive Aggression
– Territorial Aggression
– Maternal Aggression
– Idiopathic Aggression
– Neurotic Behaviors
Successfully Resolving Problem Behaviors
Dog Breeds (Hounds)
Dog Aggression BITING
Conducting Behavior Analysis
Group Class Evaluation
Developing a Client Questionnaire

Marketing Your Service Dog Training Business
Advertising Strategies for Dog Trainers
Website Planning and Design
– Site Structure
– Form vs. Function
– Blogs and other Web Marketing Ideas
Kennel Management
Running a Boarding Kennel
Working with Clients
Dog Breeds (Working and Non-Sporting)
Practical Business Management Assignments
Behavior Analysis Evaluation

Explore Dog Specialties
– Agility
– Treibball
– K9 Nosework
– Protection
– Search and Rescue
Attend a Private Lesson
Pet First Aid and CPR
Veterinary and Canine Medical Issues
– Understanding What is Normal
– Preventive Medicine
– Treatments for Illness
Dog Breeds (Toys and Herding)
Design Lesson Plan for Group Class and Handout for Private Training
Go Home Video (Basic)

Service Dog Overview
– Puppy Programs
– Testing and Selecting Service Dogs
– Service Dog Equipment
– Legal Issues and the Americans with Disabilities Act
– Operant Conditioning as a Tool for Service Dogs
– Proper Socialization for Service Dogs
– Capabilities and Limitations of Service Dogs

Working with Clients with Disabilities
Understanding Your Role as a Service Dog Trainer
Understanding Your Clients Perspective
– Hearing Impairments
– Physical Impairments
– Other Impairments

Signal Dogs (Hearing Assistance Dogs)
– Conditioning to Noise
– The Importance of Discriminative Stimuli
– Teaching the Indication
– Teaching the Response from Distances
– Practical Application in Public

– Odor Theory
– Special Equipment for Trailing Dogs
– Progression of Teaching Trailing Dogs
– Variable Surface Trailing
– Scent Discrimination Trailing
– Introducing and Utilizing Scent Articles

Mobility Dogs Overview
– Conditioning around Medical Equipment
– Working with Wheelchairs
– Environmental Conditioning, vehicles, etc.

Mobility Dogs
– Teaching the Retrieve
– Working with Switches and Buttons
– Mobility Dogs in Public

– Opening Doors, Gates, Etc.

Autism Assistance Dogs
– What is Autism?
– Introducing the Touch Command
– Environmental Stability
– Teaching an Alert

Autism Assistance Dogs
– General Safety Concerns
– Tethering
– Sleeping Exercises
– Touch Command (continued)
– Service Dogs in Schools
– Service Dogs in Therapies

Other Service Dogs, PTSD, TBI, Seizures, etc.

Service Dogs in Public
– This Module of the Course Emphasizes the Importance of Environmental Stability in Public Places Through Practical Application.

Managing Your Service Dog Business or Organization
– Non Profit Organizations
– For Profit Business
– Application Process
– Service Dog Delivery
– Handler/Family Training

Practical Examination and Certification