Owner-Trainer Foundations Program

Become an owner-trainer.

Go from newbie to knowledgeable in just two months with this live online team training course.

Are you starting the journey to raising your own service dog?

Are you wondering whether your dog has what it takes?

Are you wondering if YOU have what it takes?

You do.

Our Service Dog Foundations program takes you through a team-training process that will bond you and your dog closer and give you the insights you need to teach them like you're a service dog trainer!

In Just Two Months, You And Your Dog Will Look Like Pros!

  • Learn from a pro

service dog trainer who has trained and graduated dogs at an accredited service dog charity and has been coaching owner-trainers for over a decade.

  • Teach your dog key service dog skills the way the pros do - learn the techniques used by top service dog schools.

  • Manage public access issues with confidence.

  • Learn the difference between pet training and service dog training.

  • Develop a teamwork mindset instead of "do as I cue".

From Newbie to Knowledgeable in Sixty Days

With our owner-trainer foundations program, you'll gain the knowledge and insight to be able to:

  • Navigate Canadian service dog public access rules.

  • Handle the leash and treats like a professional.

  • Improve your timing and communication to maximize your dog's understanding.

  • Understand your dog's communication and needs so you can communicate clearly with each other.

  • Teach your dog assistance skills.

  • Develop crucial public etiquette including:

    1. Impeccable leash manners.

    2. Ignored distractions like food on the floor or people who pet them.

    3. Lying down and remaining quiet in busy places for long periods of time.

    4. Staying out of the way in crowded places.

This 8 week program involves group online lessons on a bi-weekly basis. Recordings will be sent to you for you to review, so you'll never miss a class, and you will be emailed written material to study as well. You also have the option of adding private one-on-one sessions with the trainer to increase the level of support you receive. We are dedicated to giving you the support, information, and community you need to achieve your goals with your dog.

Students who demonstrate in-person or by video that they have mastered the foundational skills will be given a certificate of success and will be considered for our Service Dog Certification Program.


Is this program for me?

If you want to train service dogs, or your own dog, this is the course you need.

If you are interested in raising and training your dog as a service dog, or pursuing certification for your dog, this course is invaluable for you. Don't muck around with Youtube videos giving conflicting advice most of which is based on pet dog training "do as I cue" and thus counterproductive. Instead learn the teamwork mindset from a professional so you can work with your dog like a professional.

This course is NOT for you if you are looking for an easy way to get around strata regulations or dog-hating landlords, or if you want the dog to be completely raised and trained by someone else. 

Note: This course is a pre-requisite for entering our Service Dog Certification Prep program. We require all service dog program applicants to demonstrate that they understand how to communicate with their dog and teach them in a teamwork mindset, as opposed to "do as I cue". They must be able to demonstrate that they have taught their dog foundations basics such as loose leash heel toward a distraction and asking their dog yes/no and choice based questions.

What technology does this course require?

To access the course you will need an internet connection and either a computer or smart phone. 

For the on-demand version, you will be given access to a password protected online course area where you can view the recordings, notes, and handouts.

Does this include in-person coaching sessions?

No, but you have the option to sign up for some as an add-on to increase your success rates and to maximize your chances of being accepted into the Service Dog Certification Prep program.

How old should my dog be?

Training starts the day your dog comes home, but since this program doesn't cover puppy behaviors such as nipping, or puppy specific training such as potty training, we recommend that your dog be 6 months at least for you to get the most from this program. 

If your dog is under 6 months, consider our Puppy Prodigy Program. This program places an emphasis on the time-sensitive, development-specific things that a puppy must learn if we are to maximize their success as a future service dog candidate.

You could, however, take this course IN ADDITION to a puppy specific program. It is always great to improve your bond with your dog at any age, it just isn't a replacement for puppy  specific learning. 

What if I don't have my dog yet?

You can always learn the information in this course and practice with another dog - the skills will be with you forever and you can apply them to your future dog when you find them.

Will this course certify my dog as a service dog?

We can not certify your dog.

Our program will teach you key skills that you need to get to that point. These foundational skills are so vital that clients of ours who do not master them cannot raise their dog to certification standard. 

This course is a pre-requisite for those hoping to enter our advanced Service Dog Certification Program, which requires that you have the foundational skills AND that you have the right dog who has what it takes! Our advanced program focuses on preparing clients for success with the provincial certification exam. 

I'm training the dog for somebody else. Can I still take this course?

Yes. Your training will benefit from this program. However, we find that unless the end-user (the person with the disability) is eager and committed to learning these foundational techniques, the team is very unlikely to succeed. 

Even when charitable institutions place fully trained dogs with clients, the clients are put through a crash course "team training" to help them develop these vital skills. So please encourage the disabled person to engage with the content and learn the skills along with you. 

I'm not sure if my dog has what it takes to be a service dog. Should I take this program?

If you're struggling with your dog, or unsure if your dog really wants this job, then this is the ideal program for you. It will help you sort out which of the problems stem from miscommunications or clumsy training, and which stem from the dog's base personality/temperament. 

Carol Millman has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a diploma in Veterinary Technology from the University of Guelph, and a diagnosis of autism.

She apprenticed at Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) in Burnaby BC from 2008-2010 and has been helping owners succeed with their service dogs privately since 2011.

We work on land which was taken from the nations who had lived here for thousands of years. They are still here and they are still waiting patiently for us to stop being jerks about it.

© 2023 Copyright Wag The Dog Training

All Rights Reserved