At Your Service Mentorship
- Are you interested in learning about dog training?
- Are you curious about entering the dog training field?
- Are you already working in pet care and would like to expand your understanding of dog behavior and training to deepen your relationship with the dogs you work with and provide added value to your clients?
This internship is for you! We have created a structured internship program that offers observational, theoretical, and hands-on learning for people interested in learning more about dog training. The At Your Service internship is designed to be an enriching learning experience which will deepen your understanding of dog training, dog behavior, the human relationship with dogs, and if you continue, service dog training.
The mentorship program consists of the following components:
- Observation — of trainer lessons, classes, and consultations
- Reading/Viewing — read assigned books and articles, watch assigned videos, etc.
- Written homework — answer the assigned questions about the material and ask questions about what you observe during client cases
- Practical homework — hands-on training assignments working with your own dogs or other animals
- Discussion — discussion of all of the above is a key component of the learning process
Internship Structure — How it works
The internship program gives you guidance and access to what goes into working as a professional dog trainer. Each term is structured as equivalent to a year-long college course. However, you may move through the material at whatever rate works for you.
The first term covers the basics needed for pet dog training. In the second term, the internship will focus on service dog training and advanced training skills.
There are two parts to the internship: 1. independent study (reading, viewing, written and practical assignments, etc.) and 2. observation and discussion with your mentor on a weekly “observation day.”
Nuts and Bolts
How long does the internship last?
As with most educational opportunities, interns will get out of it what they put in. Some people will move through the reading and assignments faster than others. The internship lasts for as long as long as an intern feels the program is of value — in other words, as long as they are learning about the complex field of professional dog training and consulting. The only exception is if an intern is let go for violating rules or not meeting program requirements.
What is the program’s cost?
The cost is $150 per month. This covers the trainer’s time in answering questions, assigning and reading homework, and materials, etc. Interns who wish may choose to do barter in lieu of some or all of the fee. Bartering may consist of duties such as helping with office work, assisting group classes, care of board-and-train dogs, etc. If you are interested in being a class assistant or doing other barter as part of your internship, please speak with us about that option. We offer two internships per year for people of color to intern at no cost. Find out about the Marlena Willis Scholarships.
What types of dog training will I learn about?
Depending on the schedule, you will likely observe both group classes and private lessons and consults. The AYS case load is divided between service dog training and pet dog training (about 70 percent service dogs and 30 percent pets). Service dog training consults and lessons run the gamut — much of it focused on manners and public access training — with other lessons focused on assistance task training or consulting on finding the right dog. Depending on the time of year and fluctuations in client load, some days there may be more pet work than service dog work. Pet dog training is mostly manners and obedience training, as well as some behavior consulting for issues like stranger reactivity, anxious or compulsive behavior, or fearfulness. The reading, viewing, and written material in the first term of the internship are relevant to all fields of dog training. After an intern has completed the first term (the first four learning modules), if they wish to continue with a focus on service dog training, further material will be devoted to topics of human disability, task work, service dog laws, etc.
Can this course fulfill course credit requirements for my school or university?
We have not tried this yet, but it seems likely that it could be arranged for course credit as an independent study through a college or university. If you’re interested in this option, please speak to us and your school about setting that up.
How can I learn more about the At Your Service internship program?
Please read the Internship Course Details page for detailed information about topics, assignments, equipment, and course requirements