Dog Trainer Course In-Person Track
By adding the In-Person Track to your Dog Trainer Course experience, you get the best of both worlds: premium online learning combined with the power of VSA’s in-person education.
In-Person Track students get all the learner-centered, performance-based benefits of the Dog Trainer Course plus in-person learning intensives (including hands-on live dog training) with Victoria and other faculty, a local mentor to shadow at home, live Cyber Classes with fellow classmates and enhanced learning assessments.
Any Dog Trainer Course student may upgrade to the In-Person Track, or you can register for the full experience right from the start.
All the benefits of the Dog Trainer Course plus:
These modules are named Intensives because they are intense! These powerful interactive learning experiences, led by Victoria and other VSA faculty, include classroom study, hands-on experience and activities, field trips, and more.
Optimized for your success using the latest in the science of adult learning , the variety of activities during the Intensives keep you engaged with your teachers and fellow classmates while you’re learning and practicing your training and teaching skills.
There’s nothing else like it.
You’ll travel twice to attend Intensives:
- INTENSIVE #1: Meets for five days 2 months into the In-Person Track
- INTENSIVE #2: Meets for five days 4 months into the In-Person Track
See a partial list of classesCanine Ethology
History of Dog Training
Learning Theory Overview
Building Trust and Positive Relationships with Dogs
The ‘Positively’ Philosophy
Self-Care & Burnout Prevention
Canine Emotion and Behavior
Canine Body Language
Behavior Observation & Discussion
Positive Training Tools & Methods
Demonstrations & Hands-on Practice of Tools
Living with Dogs
Preventing and Addressing Canine Fear and Stress
Mock Group Classes
Interpersonal Skills – Working with the Client
Dog Trainer as Agent of Human Change
Dog Bite Prevention
Positive Training with Other Species
Teaching Group Classes
Teaching Private lessons
Medical Handling Lab
When to Refer/Ethics
Business Marketing for Dog Trainers
taught during the in-person intensives.
Field Units working with your Faculty Advisor and Mentor
When you register in the Dog Trainer Course you’ll be paired with a dedicated VSA Faculty Advisor – a professional trainer who will be your guide and touchstone via weekly online meetings throughout the course. During the last 4 months of the course you’ll also be provided with a local professional mentor to shadow and learn from during your two Field Units.
FIELD STUDY: 60 days
- Conduct multiple dog training skills assessments live or via recorded video with your Faculty Advisor via videoconference.
- Observe and shadow your mentor during group dog training classes and private in-home dog training sessions.
- Learn about canine behavior and how to interpret canine body language while putting what you’ve studied online and during intensives into real-world practice.
- See first-hand how your mentor develops cooperative relationships with clients, handles challenges with both humans and dogs, and runs their dog training business.
FIELD TRAINING: 60 days
- Continue your learning by shadowing your mentor’s real-world interactions with clients in both group training classes and in-home private sessions.
- Deepen your understanding of canine behavior, body language and advanced training methods.
- Sharpen your problem solving skills via training assessments with your Faculty Advisor
- Practice business skills you’ll need when you launch your own dog training business.
- You experience all this through the eyes of a qualified and experienced Faculty Advisor, who is there to explain what you’re seeing and doing.
Approximately every two weeks you will meet up with your fellow classmates online for live Cyber Classes led by a variety of VSA faculty, including Victoria. These interactive lessons provide a powerful opportunity to engage with your classmates and conduct live Q&A with VSA faculty in real-time while you deepen your understanding of course topics and concepts. Featuring pre-work assignments designed to complement your online and real-world learning, active engagement in VSA Cyber Classes is a key to your overall success as a VSA student.
See a partial list of Cyber ClassesPositively Philosophy Introduction
Puppy Master Class
Reinforcement Master Class
Case Studies from It’s Me or the Dog
Working With Clients Master Class
Teaching Private Lessons
Teaching Group Classes
Arousal, Difficult Cases & Referring
Market Research Lab
Q&A With VSA Faculty taught during the Dog Trainer Course In-Person Track.
In addition to the comprehensive quizzes, tests, and exams throughout the Dog Trainer Course, In-Person Track students have the opportunity to showcase their skills and knowledge via enhanced learning checks. These written tests are hand-graded by VSA faculty with customized learning solutions provided for each student’s submissions.
Why Choose VSA?
Why choose this course?
VSA’s Dog Trainer Course is the ultimate in professional dog trainer education. All Dog Trainer Course students benefit from VSA’s industry-leading, comprehensive curriculum and commitment to uncompromised excellence, but those adding the In-Person Track get a supercharged experience that is not like anything available anywhere else.
As a graduate of our flagship program you’ll be armed with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to start your own business training dogs or expand your current offerings to include dog training. And you’ll be part of a growing family of like-minded pet professionals dedicated to the true future of dog training.
The In-Person Track of VSA’s Dog Trainer Course offers an unparalleled learning experience. VSA offers more hands-on learning with VSA faculty and mentors than any comparable program. And you only need to leave your hometown twice during the 6-month course. Most importantly, VSA provides all the must-haves to become a successful professional dog trainer including dog training skills, human communication and teaching skills, business know-how, and more!
But don’t just take our word for it…
If you’re looking at programs out there like I did – I did a good amount of research before I attended – look no further: this is the way to go. This program is far more than I expected and well worth the investment. I expect that it will blow up my business.Deb Norris
This course is far and away the best value for time and money of any dog trainer course I have seen. The content of the curriculum and the standard of teaching is second to none. I was lucky enough to meet a group of incredible people who have become family and to finish the course feeling like I really have accomplished something that matters so much to me.Miriam Morris
I had my mind blown every day by new facts and stats that we learned. Best experience I could have imagined! I already feel I got my tuition’s worth from the 5-day Primer Intensive alone.Laura Van Remortel
VSA has the most extensive training for a person wanting a career in dog training & behavior. It approaches the topic of dog training and behavior from all areas needed to truly learn about why a dog does what he does, how to teach the dog (and human) in a compassionate way, and how to operate and market a business successfully. All in all, the best dog trainer course available today.Teresa Hogge
Based on my research, this is the most holistic dog trainer course available and I don’t think any other course in the market would have left me feeling as confident as I did upon graduating from VSA. Not only do you learn from some of the most amazing trainers in the industry, but the VSA team exposes you to experts in animal behavior, canine health and nutrition, business marketing, and human psychology to name a few. It is a carefully curated team of professionals who give you a holistic grounding in everything you need to be a successful dog trainer.Elizabeth Quenneville
2-Month Field Units with Mentor
Hands-on Learning with Faculty Advisor, Mentor or Faculty
Online Lessons at Home
Weeks of Combined Study
Real-Time Cyber Classes
Dedicated Personal Faculty Advisor Throughout Course
Hard-Copy Course Binder
Graduation from VSA’s Dog Trainer Course In-Person Track carries many benefits.
Graduates become part of an inclusive, supportive and welcoming VSA community that fosters continued learning, sharing, and collaboration. The ability to stay connected with other like-minded positive professional trainers is an exceptional benefit when launching a new career. Graduates also receive marketing and business support to promote and encourage the growth of their dog training business, including:
Use of the prestigious ‘VSA-Certified Dog Trainer’ (VSA-CDT) designation in all professional and marketing materials.
Access to a private VSA Graduate Facebook Group for feedback, community-building and support.
A suite of pre-prepared, brandable documents to help you get your business started.
Use of a VSA Graduate Badge on graduate’s website, social media sites, and other marketing materials.
Ready-made curricula for teaching group dog training classes.
A printed binder of lesson resources, learning guides and reference materials.
A profile listing on VSA’s website trainer search so that pet owners searching for a trainer can find VSA graduates.
Use of images of themselves with Victoria Stilwell, subject to VSA approval.
Continued access to VSA faculty via online platforms.
VSA’s Dog Trainer Course In-Person Track graduates earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through various credentialing organizations. For more info about CEU’s please contact VSA.
Ready to Get Started?
Direct Enrollment in DTC plus In-Person Track:
Tuition (US): $6950 | Tuition (UK)*: £5,950
These amounts include an Application Fee of $100 and a Registration Fee of $1,395 (£1,220 for UK-based classes).
Tuition includes the full Dog Trainer Course plus In-Person Track.
Tuition does not include student costs for travel, lodging or other expenses.
VSA does not charge more for attending in-person Intensive modules or for working with a Faculty Advisor and mentor —
it’s all part of the VSA learning experience and is included in your tuition.
*UK-based DTC tuition is payable in GBP – only the initial $100 application fee is paid via credit card in USD.
Upgrade to add In-Person Track to DTC:
Tuition (US): $3,500*
*Full upgrade tuition is calculated by subtracting the amount paid for the Dog Trainer Course from $6950 (or £5,950)
Upgrade tuition assumes prior enrollment in the standard Dog Trainer Course.
Upgrade tuition does not include student costs for travel, lodging or other expenses.
Non-Profit Employee Scholarships
VSA offers scholarships to qualified employees of animal-related non-profit entities such as rescue organizations and shelters. Click here for more information about scholarships.
Need some Financial Support?
VSA makes learning affordable by partnering with Climb Credit to provide loans with low monthly payments and by offering installment payment plans to help you chase your dog training dreams…