Good Dog Academy
Professional Pet Dog Trainer Certificate
Welcome to Good Dog Academy
The purpose of this handbook is to provide a reference guide to our school. It contains essential information as well as important school policies. Please read the Handbook carefully. Good Dog Academy has a dedicated and talented staff who are here to help you succeed in your program.
Good Dog Academy’s mission is to provide science-based, comprehensive and up to date education to existing and aspiring dog industry professionals for the purpose of raising standards in pet dog training and dog care.
Code of Conduct
Good Dog Academy expects all students to adhere to a Code of Conduct during and after their program of study. Any student who does not meet GDA’s Code of Conduct conditions will be subject to immediate dismissal without a refund and any graduate flouting the Code of Conduct may have their Certificate revoked. Requests for clarification can be made to the Administrator.
1. Adhere to the Humane Training Model.
2. Behave in a manner that is respectful of other students, staff members, dogs and Good Dog Academy Inc.
3. Harassment, bullying, slanderous remarks or other violent acts will NOT be tolerated either online or in person towards any person, student, staff member, dog or Good Dog Academy Inc.
4. Under no circumstances will verbal abuse or threats of any kind be tolerated.
Good Dog Academy’s Professional Pet Dog Trainer Certificate program requires you to fill in an application form.
Good Dog Academy is committed to enrolling students who are likely to succeed in achieving their education and career goals.
Under the Personal Information Protections Act, you are entitled to access your student file. Student’s personal information will only be used by Good Dog Academy and will never be sold or licensed to a third party.
If you use your phone to access your program, instead of using the app, log in through your browser to your account through GoodDog-Academy.com website. This will ensure you see all photos. Using the Kajabi app will sometimes cause issues with viewing images.
The following statements are considered accepted when you sign your program application:
I have read and accept ALL policies as posted in Good Dog Academy’s Student Handbook (this handbook) including the Code of Conduct.
I understand that any Certificate I earn will be revoked if proof of animal cruelty is presented against me or if I am found not to be following the Humane* Training Model.
I understand that the Intellectual Property contained in my program is for my own personal use only and I do not have any rights to copy, share, reproduce, republish, upload, download, post, transmit or duplicate the materials in whole or part, unless specifically authorized in writing by Good Dog Academy Inc.
I understand that I have NO license, express or implied, to link to or frame the materials, Good Dog Academy’s website, or any portion thereof, for any purpose unless specifically authorized in writing by Good Dog Academy. Upon graduation, I will receive an authorized Good Dog Academy badge that can be displayed on my website and social media.
I understand that for my convenience my program may reference a third-party website. I understand that Good Dog Academy has no control over Third-Party Sites or the content within them and therefore cannot guarantee, represent or warrant that the content contained on such Third-Party Sites is accurate, legal, and/or inoffensive.
I understand that Good Dog Academy cannot guarantee that its website, programs and courses will be error-free or uninterrupted or the software used to deliver the programs and courses will be free of viruses or other harmful components.
I understand that the program may, from time to time, be unavailable due to routine maintenance.
Before handling or training a dog with aggressive, reactive, anxious, unruly or hyperactive behaviours, I agree to seek the advice of a qualified Behaviourist, Certified Behaviour professional or veterinarian.
I understand that earning my Professional Pet Dog Trainer Certificate does not guarantee that I will develop a profitable business.
I will refer any aggression/reactive cases or cases with bite histories to a qualified Behaviourist, Certified Behaviour professional or veterinarian.
I give Good Dog Academy Inc. permission to use photos and videos of myself and my dog for media and marketing purposes.
By submitting and electronically signing my application form I acknowledge that I have read, understood and accept these Waivers.
I understand that should I have any questions before accepting these waivers I may contact Good Dog Academy’s Administration in writing at [email protected].
*humane: compassionate, kind, kindly, kind-hearted, considerate, understanding, sympathetic, tolerant, civilized, good, good-natured, gentle; lenient, forbearing, forgiving, merciful, tender, benevolent, charitable, generous
One-time Program Extensions
A one-time offer to extend your program is possible under certain circumstances and must be approved by the Administrator. If you would like to apply for an extension, please submit your request in writing to [email protected]. Extensions are for 3 months and the cost is $250 plus tax.
Sick or Injured Dog or Human
If during your program either you or your dog become sick or injured, you can apply to ‘pause’ your program for up to 6 weeks. The sickness or injury must be of a serious nature and documentation of sickness or injury may be required. This is a one-time offer only and must be approved by the Administrator. Please submit your request in writing to [email protected].
When You Don't Have a Dog
It is important to know that you will definitely need a dog by the time you get to your practical work. We get asked this question a lot! You can work with more than one dog to complete your Practical work.
Suggestions to find a dog or dogs:
Ask your family if you can train their dog.
Do any of your friends have a dog that they would let you train?
Have you got a neighbour that has a dog you have noticed?
Do you work in a related industry - day daycare, dog walking, grooming - see if there is a match with a d dog you are already working with.
Talk to several local veterinarians, or the receptionist/administrator, as they know their clientele and may be able to put you in touch with someone that would be agreeable to have you train their dog for free!
Go to the Shelter in your area to see if they need some help training a dog so that he/she is more adoptable.
Stop by your local pet store or pet stores to see if they have a community board that you can post your offer on. Talk to the pet store staff/owners - they get to know their customers and might have someone in mind that you can connect with.
Rescue organizations might have some opportunities as well. They are looking to re-home their rescues and if the dog comes with a dog trainer attached, this might help the dog find their forever home!
Be aware that if you are not living with the dog or dogs that you are training, you will need to carefully plan how you are going to manage access. The dog will need to be available to train with you at least 3 times per week for 30 minutes at a time. If you can arrange to train with the dog daily for shorter amounts of time, that will help you to build your relationship with the dog - so daily for 15 minutes or more works as well.
As with any dog that you train, successful training will depend on the dog’s personality and history. Make sure to ask questions about the dog or dogs you are considering.
1. Has he/she been formally trained before?
2. Are there any behaviour issues that would make the dog unsuitable for a person like yourself who is just learning to train?
3. Is the owner keen on your help and will they make the dog available regularly?
4. Is the breed a breed that you are comfortable with?
You can use any current device to work on your program. If you are using your phone, we STRONGLY recommend that you sign into your account through the GoodDog-Academy.com website. Click on Login at the top of the page. This is the best way to prevent any technical issues viewing photos.
All prices are shown in Canadian funds and include tuition, taxes, processing fees and payment plan charges where applicable. US and International Students - your credit card company will calculate the exchange and charge in your country’s currency. No additional GDA fees.
We have 2 payment options - Full Pay or Payment Plan. This applies to both Professional Pet Dog Trainer Certificate - BASIC and Professional Pet Dog Trainer Certificate - BUNDLE.
For Price details and Course Descriptions about these programs, click here.
Refund Policy - Full Pay
Full Pay Refund Period is 7 days. In the first 7 days, you will have access to the first 5 courses. To receive a refund, we require written notification within 7 days. After 7 days, all remaining content will become available.
If you want to have the full program open within the first 7 days, email [email protected] indicating that you want to waive your eligibility for a refund and we will open everything for you.
Refund Policy - Payment Plan
Payment Plan Refund Period is 7 days. In the first 7 days, you will have access to the first 5 courses. To receive a refund, we require written notification within 7 days. After 7 days, all remaining content will become available.
If you want to have the full program open within the first 7 days, email [email protected] indicating that you want to waive your eligibility for a refund and we will open everything for you.
After 7 days, Payment Plan payments are not refundable. If you decide not to continue, once we receive written notification from you, we will stop all future payments.
If a payment is declined for whatever reason, your program will be immediately deactivated until a resolution for the payment is made. It is your responsibility to contact us and make arrangements to bring your account up to date.
No certificate will be issued without full payment.
For seamless access to your program, please provide and use ONE EMAIL ADDRESS only.
Successful completion of your PPDT program will result in you receiving your Professional Pet Dog Trainer Certificate. The age requirement to graduate is 18 years.
GDA’s Professional Pet Dog Trainer Certificate program consists of Theory, Canine First Aid and Practical Skills Development modules.
On average, the program can be completed in 28 weeks. Depending on what else is happening, some students finish faster and some slower. You have one full year to complete your program.
As already noted, a one-time offer to extend your program is possible under certain circumstances and must be approved by the Administrator. If you would like to apply for an extension, please submit your request in writing to [email protected]. Extensions are for 3 months and the cost is $250 plus tax.
Humane Training Model
Humane is defined at Good Dog Academy as 'compassionate, kind, kindly, kind-hearted, considerate, understanding, sympathetic, tolerant, civilized, good, good-natured, gentle; lenient, forbearing, forgiving, merciful, tender, benevolent, charitable, generous'. Using this definition, here is our training model.
1. Identify goals and desired behaviours.
2. Develop a realistic plan using positive reinforcement techniques and Good Dog Academy’s Formula for Success.
3. Observe and record successes and failures.
4. If goals and desired behaviours are not being reached, identify and record reasons why the dog may not be progressing.
5. Focus on altering the plan based on observation.
6. Depending on identified issues, create a new plan of action using positive reinforcement techniques.
7. Observe and record successes and failures.
8. If goals and desired behaviours are not being reached, get a second opinion from a qualified Behaviour Technologist or experienced peer.
9. Using the recommendation from the Behaviour Technologist or experienced peer, create a new plan of action.
10. Observe and record successes and failures.
11. If goals and desired behaviours are still not being reached, consult a qualified veterinarian to rule out medical issues or discuss mood modification medication.
12. If the dog presents a safety risk to you or the general public, we STRONGLY recommend that you work with an experienced peer until you have developed enough skill yourself to assess the risk and how to proceed.
Coaching & Feedback
The program content is intense and rewarding and requires commitment and focus. We want you to succeed and we are available to help you in a variety of ways.
GDA’s Director of Training, Jaime Knowles, has over 25 years experience in the dog industry and our dedicated Student Mentor, Cat Barrette, has over 10 years experience. Both will guide, mentor and coach you through your PPDT program.
This includes personal and lengthy reviews of your Practical Skills Development modules ensuring that you meet our criteria for graduating. This is part of your tuition. Expectations for GDA’s Skill Development modules are clearly laid out with lots of detail and you can even see what your grading sheet looks like before you start.
You will receive monthly invitations to join our LIVE Student Webinars, hosted by Jaime and Cat, where you will get answers to all your questions. This LIVE event may be recorded, depending on permission from the group each month.
Cat also has regular office hours where she will Zoom with you and others on demand. You will receive details about these times in your welcome email once you register.
You will find helpful PDF’s throughout your program that we recommend you download, print and store for future reference and study.
You can also join our Community Portal and talk to your peers.
We are available for quick questions by email.
At any time and as often as you like, if you feel that you need extra coaching beyond what is included in your program, you are invited to book extra coaching with Jaime or Cat on Zoom for up to an hour at a discounted student rate. Please contact Administration at [email protected] to arrange a mutually convenient time.
Theory courses and the Final Exam require a grade of 90% to pass.
Practical Skills Development assignments require a grade of 80% to pass.
Professional Pet Dog Trainer Certificate and Business for Pet Dog Trainers
To earn your certificate, the entire program must be completed within one year of registration. After graduation, the program is accessible for ONE full year. There is no further Practical Skills Development coaching included after graduation, however you will be invited to all monthly Student Webinars until you ask us to stop.
Dogsafe® Canine First Aid
You will be required to complete a separate registration form for canine first aid. Once you have registered the program MUST be completed within 2 months. Your first aid certificate must be renewed every 3 years by redoing the program. Future renewals of this certificate are not included.
Students registered for the Professional Pet Dog Trainer Certificate - BUNDLE, will have lifetime access to the BUNDLE courses that are included in your program.
If you register for any of our Other Courses individually, they also come with lifetime access.
Good Dog Academy's Professional Pet Dog Trainer Certificate program consists of 3 sections. Theory, Canine First Aid and Practical Skills Development.
To start the program, you will find 22 Theory courses. Most of the Theory content is presented in easy to read information chunks. Although there are a few videos in this section, most of the information is read only. We STRONGLY recommend that you make notes in this section. You will also find that some PDF documents are available and you are welcome to save and/or print them. This is done when there are a lot of details that would be a lot to write out.
Following each course there is a 10 question multiple choice quiz. You are allowed 2 attempts to pass these quizzes. Passing grade is 90% on each quiz.
Your best strategy here is study, ask us any questions you are unsure about and then write the quiz. If you need to re-write the quiz because you failed, wait a day or two before taking the test again. We STRONGLY recommend that you DO NOT write the quiz a second time the same day.
You will find Challenges in some of the Theory Courses. These Challenges are for your own information. They will help you to think through some of the concepts we cover. Do not submit your answers to Challenges. These topics may be a good source of discussion for our LIVE Student Webinars.
At the end of the 22 courses you will find the Final Exam. This exam is also multiple choice and it has 100 questions. The passing grade is 90%. Use the same strategy for the Final as you did for the quizzes. Again, you are allowed 2 attempts.
If you fail any test 2 times, please contact [email protected] for further instructions.
Once you have passed your quizzes and Final Exam, you will be prompted to move on to Canine First Aid.
Canine First Aid
Good Dog Academy has selected Dogsafe® Canine First Aid as our partner in offering canine first aid education. We have worked together for over 10 years and have made their program mandatory for our graduates.
As a dog industry professional, it is crucial that you know what to do in an emergency. Dogsafe® Canine First Aid is designed to teach you the knowledge and skills you need to deal with a sick or injured dog until veterinary care is available.
The topics are covered in-depth so you have a thorough understanding of the principles of canine first aid. Once you successfully complete this course and its test, you will receive a Dogsafe® Canine First Aid Certificate.
You will be required to register separately for this program so you are recognized in their system. Once your register for this program you will have two months to complete it. The two months doesn’t start until you register for this separate certificate program.
You will be prompted to complete this certificate after your Theory Final Exam and before you start your Practical Skills Development.
The cost of this certificate is included in your tuition and is mandatory. Your canine first aid certificate is valid for 3 years. To renew after the 3 years, you simply retake the program. Renewals are not included in your PPDT tuition.
Practical Skills Development
Practical Skills Development is where you will combine your knowledge from Theory with hands-on skills with a dog (or dogs). Here is where you slow down and take your time building a solid foundation of practical skills.
This part of your program will take from 3 - 6 months depending on your previous experience, your dog's personality and how you work as a team. It will also depend on how much time you have to train. Some students train everyday for 15 minutes while others train for half an hour 4 times a week. We STRONGLY recommend that you DO NOT rush. If you do, your progress will suffer as the exercises are designed to build on each other. If you are not solid on one exercise and move on to the next, eventually you will need to go back and repeat the work.
A passing grade of 80% is required on each submission and assignment.
Your dog (or dogs) should be in good health and at least 6 months old. You can work with more than one dog is you choose.
Practical Skills Development is presented in 3 sections - Parts 1, 2 and 3.
Part 1 - Building Foundations
In Part 1, you will find 52 instructional videos that are designed to help you learn how to coach your clients and their dogs.
These exercises have been carefully selected to help address the most common issues that clients need help with. Each video contains step by step instructions to guide you to success. You will also be provided with Helpful Tip Sheets which you can download.
Watch each video several times and practise the skills with your own dog.
In Part 1 of Practical Skills Development, you will be required to record and submit a series of video submissions.
As you work through the videos, at various times you will be prompted to create and submit a video assignment. There are EIGHT video submissions altogether. When you are prompted, you will receive all the information you need to successfully record and submit your video.
The requirement here is to successfully teach selected exercises to our Student Mentor as if she was your client, through a recording. The passing grade for each video is 80%. You will receive extensive feedback and will be given the opportunity to redo your recording if necessary.
Refer to the next section of this Handbook - Guide to Video Submissions - where we provide details on exactly how to setup for successful submissions.
Part 2 - Case Study Mastery
In Part 2, you will be provided with 3 separate case studies which will include information on the client, the dog and the behaviour that the client would like to address.
Your assignment is to perform an assessment for each case study based on your knowledge from the Theory courses you have completed and the information provided. You will propose a behaviour modification plan to address the client and dog's needs. Take time to review Theory in detail before attempting this assignment.
We provide a complete example of what we are looking for.
The passing grade for each case study is 80%. You will receive extensive feedback and will be given the opportunity to redo your assessment if necessary.
Part 3 - Empowering Client Support
In this last section, you will receive information about a client struggling with their dog. Your assignment will be to create a tip sheet for the client explaining and detailing the natural needs of the dog and ways we can fulfill these needs, specific to the information provided.
The passing grade for the tip sheet is 80%. You will receive extensive feedback and will be given the opportunity to redo your assignment if necessary.
Once you have successfully completed all Theory quizzes and Final Exam, your Canine First Aid and all three Parts of your Practical Skills Development you will have finished all the components for Graduation.
We will review your profile ensuring you have successfully met all the requirements and then we will send you your Professional Pet Dog Trainer Certificate. You will be proud of all the work you have done and amazed at how much you have learned along the way.
Guide to Video Submissions
In order to be able to successfully upload your video submissions, you will need some information. Here is your Guide to Video Submissions.
Demonstrate that you are able to successfully complete each of the exercises.
Demonstrate that you are able to instruct each exercise to your grading instructor. You achieve this by teaching the exercise to the camera.
Each video is marked out of 100 points.
Introduction - Possible 10 points
Instruction - Possible 40 points
Correct hand signals, footing, verbal cues & markers - Possible 10 points
Troubleshooting/Problem Solving - Possible 20 points
Demonstration/Ability to Complete the Exercise - Possible 20 points
What Are We Looking For?
- explain the end goal of the exercise
- why do we teach this exercise
- how can the exercise help your client and their dog
- use clear and easy to follow verbal instructions with visual aids
- visual aids include a step by step explanation of how to do the exercise using your dog
- you will be graded on speaking skills and adhering to the use of the humane training model
- ensure you have appropriate and well fitting equipment on your dog
Use correct hand signals, footing, verbal cues and markers
Troubleshooting / Problem Solving
- include several common issues that may arise
- you may also want to include an issue you overcame with your own dog
- what potential issues do you foresee your clients having?
- can you give advice to prevent these issues?
Demonstration / Ability to Complete the Exercise
- must be able to perform a demonstration using the criteria listed for each exercise
- we will also grade you on your dog’s response and ability to complete the exercise
Video Recording Details
Practice in the area you intend to record in, more than once if possible.
Each exercise is required to be NO LONGER THAN 15 MINUTES.
Video files require a title or label when you upload them to Dropbox. For example: Jane Doe - Basic Video #1 - Focus. The label is important for us to be able to easily find your file in our system.
Always upload your video from your laptop or desktop. Uploading directly from your phone can cause issues.
Ensure you have plenty of battery and storage/memory on your recording device before you begin.
Use the lowest resolution possible when recording your assignments. This will allow for a quicker upload. Please do NOT film your assignments in HD, 4D or widescreen or your upload time will be extremely long and the system may struggle completing the upload.
If you choose to make a recording outside, be aware that wind, lighting and background noise may affect your video. If we are unable to hear and see you clearly, we may request you re-record and re-upload your assignment.
It is a good idea to record a partial practice run to ensure the quality and sound are to your liking.
Your recording device must be pointed at your training space at all times.
Be aware of how you position yourself. Your instructors will need to be able to see and hear you at all times.
If you are able to have someone record you, your video quality will likely be better quality.
Any video editing is strictly prohibited!
Start your video recordings by stating your name, your dog’s name and the level according to the grading guide. For example: ‘Jane Smith - with Scruffy - Basic Obedience Skills - Focus.
How to Set Up a Free Dropbox Account
You shouldn't need a Dropbox plan that costs you money. A free account will have enough room.
You can use your own Dropbox account if you already have one or sign up for a free account by:
1. Open your web browser and go to https://www.dropbox.com
2. Click the Sign Up button.
3. Type in your first name, last name, email address and a password
4. Click the I Agree to Dropbox Terms checkbox.
5. Click Sign Up.
6. You will receive an email where you can verify that it is correct.
7. On the Choose Your Dropbox Plan page, decide which plan you want - for your video submissions, you should only need the Free Plan.
If you have issues with Dropbox, we suggest you start to troubleshoot by contacting Dropbox Support Chat.
How to Upload Your Video Submissions
Here are the steps to upload your video submissions.
1. Create a folder on your desktop with an appropriate label “Geri Patz Submission #1”
2. Open Dropbox
3. Drag and Drop your folder into Dropbox
4. Click on a button that says “Share”
5. Switch from “can edit” to “can view”
7. The Share Folder button at the bottom will turn blue and all you need to do is click on it.
TIP: DO NOT USE YOUR PHONE TO UPLOAD YOUR VIDEOS. THE KAJABI APP ON YOUR PHONE DOES NOT WORK WELL WITH DROPBOX. LOG IN THROUGH GOODDOG-ACADEMY.COM.
Here is a sample Grading Sheet.
Now you have a detailed understanding of what is required for your Practical Skills Development modules. If you have any questions along the way, please email Cat at [email protected] or Jaime at [email protected] or Geri at [email protected]. You are also always welcome to bring your questions to our monthly FREE LIVE Student Webinar and get answers directly through conversation.
We are here to help you be successful in your journey to become a Professional Pet Dog Trainer.
Good Dog Academy is proud to be a progressive company that is always curious about new research and development in the dog industry.
We have multiple courses under development at this time.
We have included our newest revamped courses in our BUNDLE offer. You can also choose to take these courses individually if you are not registering for the BUNDLE.
Stay tuned for more courses - coming soon!