SDTI offers self-study classes for all ages

and skill levels of dogs. 

Click Here for Registration Information
Single class is CDN$35 unless otherwise noted.
Two level class bundles CDN$65.
Three-level class bundle is CDN$90 (currently only offered for LLW 1-2-3).
Click above for more info.


Testimonials for classes.

 

Click here for Skype Consultations (Private Coaching)

 

Free Class - Choose A Service Dog

Course Goals:  Students will be guided through the process of considering their needs, and sourcing and selecting a puppy or adult service dog.  Public can view the lessons and download checklists. There is a discussion forum as well but you must be a student to post.  This is a sample course so you can see the layout and how it works. I hope it helps people find the right assistance dog for them. Feel free to send other people to the link for information!

Click here to access FREE CLASS

 

 

 

Foundation Skills - 3 Part Series

In this 3 part series, both you and your dog learn! Your dog learns how to learn while he acquires base skills he will need for life as a service dog. You learn both the practical skills and theory you will need to train your own service dog to be a reliable partner. Both of you learn how to generalize this knowledge to other skills and be able to figure out how to put together these to create other behaviors.  Every person who is training a service dog, owner-trained or professional should have this foundation knowledge and develop these skills to create a willing service dog partner. Suitable for puppy to adult dogs.

 
Foundation Skills - Level 1

Class Goals:
 Your dog learns to eagerly work with you, the beginnings of impulse control, default eye contact, nose targeting and its other applications, potty on cue, handling skills, targeting and learns that there is value for staying near you without a leash.  

100 video clips to view! You will take away the 4 stages of learning new behaviors, key elements in teaching behaviors, mechanical skills needed, using distractions to your benefit, different ways a dog learns, biology of dogs as it affects learning, adding cues and achieving control over behaviors, and how to help a dog learn behaviors in different environments quickly. Problem solving for dogs is also included for many behaviors. Try out a FREE training log template. It might be the only one you need to record your sessions and keep you on track! Join class discussions to apply the skills to your own dog!

 
Foundation Skills - Level 2

Class Goals: Your dog learns to do a chin target, go around objects, lay on a mat at a distance, place front paws on a platform, pivot on her front feet, stand still and take and tug. Also several more handling skills for real life. We start introducing a few skills to real life.

More than 80 video clips including a few complete training sessions will help you  learn about cues, prompts, 3 ways to add distance and duration, and develop your shaping skills. You will also learn different kinds of cues you can use, test which ones your dog actually understands, and how to start building fluency for known behaviors focussing on how to change the speed of a behavior and how to get a faster response to a cue.  Learn several easy ways to speed up and slow down behaviors and ideas to adapt reinforcement delivery for people with disabilities. Try your hand at creating your own behavior training plan and carry it out. Have some fun with experimenting!

Prerequisite: Foundation Skills - Level 1

 
Foundation Skills - Level 3 

Class Goals: Your dog will learn how to give you default and cued attention, how to wait on cue, build onto impulse control and learn the common positions for a service dog. He will also learn to generalize several behaviors to a high degree, and how to switch sides.

How the handler will learn how to deal with unwanted behaviors, why cues fail, how to achieve stimulus control over behaviors, improve speed and latency of behaviors, phase out food and toy reinforcers and how to use real life reinforcers are demonstrated in more than 80 videos. How to use behavior chains and patterning are helpful things to know as is impulse control. You'll learn how to generalize behaviors to obtain reliable performance. Lastly, you'll learn how to maintain trained behaviors so they don't get forgotten when being used regularly.

Prerequisite: Foundation Skills - Level 2

 

 

 

 

Loose Leash Walking - 3 Part Series CDN$90

Loose leash walking is one of the two most fundamental behaviors that an assistance dog needs. 
(Also see class on teaching "Settle".)  In fact, "Hurry up and Wait!" could be a service dog's motto! Both behaviors require self-control and duration of time. 
This means it takes a long time for the dog to learn to do and as a result, can be boring and frustrating for the handler to train. Most people rush the process and this sets the dog up to fail and they end up with a dog that pulls.

Instead, by teaching all of the pieces of the LLW behavior separately, then putting them together incrementally, both the dog and handler are successful from the start. The process feels good too as it is all taught using positive reinforcement!  Corrections and nagging are not required.

 
 
Loose Leash Walking - Level 1

Class Goals:
 Dog walks on a loose leash for 25 feet including moving through 90 degree and 180 degree turns and moving backward a few steps in at least 5 locations. 
Dog moves towards leash pressure and walks on a loose leash ignoring a variety of distractions on the ground in at least 5 locations.

The first step of loose leash walking is building value for being close to the handler. It is taught off leash in a safe area. Once this happens, the leash becomes incidental and more of an emergency connection, rather than a way to control the dog. You begin to learn how to dance together.

This class introduces several skills and games that will be used to proof the dogs as you progress through the 3 loose leash walking levels. 70 video clips demonstrate the step by step process. 
This class is for puppies and dogs 4 mos (14 weeks) and older. The first 8 to 16 weeks should be focused on socializing your puppy. 
If your puppy is younger, you can purchase this class and start training through it once your pup is 16 weeks.

 
Loose Leash Walking - Level 2

Class Goals: Dog learns to tell the difference between when he needs to keep a loose leash and when he can do his own thing. He will learn to keep the leash loose while moving through doorways, gates and on stairs. Turns will be tightened up as he learns how to pivot his back end for fast smooth movement and improve body awareness of where he is in space.

In this class, we start taking the games outdoors and building on what the dog already knows. You will learn to navigate doorways, gates and stairs with a loose leash. More practice with turns and more foundation games using distractions are taught. Packed with information, this class has more than 100 video clips! Learn how impulse control affects Loose Leash walking and how to most effectively teach it to your dog.

 
Loose Leash Walking - Level 3 

Class Goals: Dog starts applying LLW to public places. He learns how to change speed, do longer open stair cases, curbs, get in and out of vehicles. He LLW while his handler carries and pushes things and in the presence of another dog, learns a close heel for tight spaces and to walk with a wheelchair. Dog learns when it is his time to sniff and when it is time to work.

In this class we start to generalize the LLW skills to more public places building duration and distance of the LLW. With that public training comes an increase in stress level for the dog so the handler learns how dogs communicate the stress and how to respond appropriately. Handler also teaches using opposites to help their dog learn concepts. Getting in and out of vehicles, change of speed, applying the stair skills to hills and learning more ways to deal with distractions and fears are also included.  

 

 

 

Training Tools Cdn$35 each

These courses teach you how to safely and correctly use (and fade if appropriate) training tools.  

 

 

Harnesses & Vests

Class Goals:  Dog happily wears flat body harnesses and vests and walks with you or another handler without pulling, in the presence of high-level distractions and triggers. Discussion of service dog vests is included. 


Can’t get your SDit to stop pulling when he’s excited or distracted? Does he run away when you present the equipment? Does he freeze or flop about when wearing a harness or vest? Does he pull to get back to you when a stranger handlers him?

You will learn to use systematic desensitization, counter conditioning, Premack's Principle and operant conditioning to help your dog learn to be comfortable in the equipment and keep the leash loose in the presence of high-level distractions or being handled by a stranger. As you train, you build a stronger relationship with him and he'll become more responsive in the presence of high distractions without pulling. 
Have you bought into the myth that big dogs or certain breeds need special tools? Take this course and find out why that is a myth! Ideal for anyone who wants to get their SD off a pinch, choke or e-collar. 
This class is intended as an additional course on top of the Loose Leash Walking series but can be taken as a stand alone for dogs that mostly keep the leash loose but Yoyo to the end of the leash or forget to keep the leash loose in times of excitement or stress.

 

Head Halters  

Class Goals:  Dog happily wears a head halter and walks with you or another handler without pulling, in the presence of high-level distractions and triggers. Discussion of fading the head halter included.

Can’t get your SDit to stop pulling when he’s excited or distracted? Does he run away when you present the equipment? Does he fight the halter or try to rub it off continually? These can be great training tools but only if they are used correctly. Systematic desensitization, counter conditioning, Premack's Principle and operant conditioning are used to help your dog learn to be comfortable in the head halters and keep the leash loose in the presence of high-level distractions. You’ll learn how to use head halters safely, correctly and how to fade them. Your dog should not be wearing one once he's properly trained.
This class is intended as an additional course on top of the Loose Leash Walking series but can be taken as a stand alone for dogs that mostly keep the leash loose but yoyo to the end of the leash or forget to keep the leash loose in times of excitement.

 

 

 

Service Dog Retrieve - 2 Part Series CDN$65 for both

A solid retrieve to hand is an important skill for most service dogs. Whether picking up a dropped object, delivering an object to your hand or between your legs when sitting, your dog needs to learn how to pick up, carry, hold and deliver objects to a location that is convenient to you. The retrieve is important part of  many other service dog tasks as well.

 
 

Service Dog Retrieve - Level 1

Class Goals: Dog learns how to take and correctly hold objects of many different materials, shapes and sizes for 20 seconds.   

You learn how to shape your dog using incremental steps laid out in the form of objectives. Discover how to create behavior chains, add duration to behaviors and how to blend behaviors to get new ones. Find out 7 ways to problem solve a dog to take an object and 7 ways to teach a solid hold. Also how to teach your dog to use just the right amount of pressure. Explore simple ways to proof the early behaviors so they are strong in your dog's mind. 50 video clips to watch! This class is ideal for trainers who work with many different dogs or handlers who have never used positive methods to teach a retrieve! 

 Service Dog Retrieve- Level 2

Class Goals: coming soon! 


In this class, we continue to build on level 1, adding distance and distractions into the retrieve chain.

Prerequisite: Service Dog Retrieve - Level 1

 

 
Settle/Relax - 2 Part Series

Settle or relax is another key foundation skill for service dogs. "Hurry up and Wait" takes time to develop but you will learn how to teach a dog to be relaxed on a mat using several different methods. The techniques also help the handler to relax as well. 
 
 

Settle/Relax - Level 1

Class Goals: Dog learns to settle on a mat placed anywhere for a period of time with distractions. The dog will learn how to rapidly relax on anything and out of sight for short periods.

Your dog learns to relax quickly on cue and it will become a default behavior. Build on the settle behavior in the presence of distractions. Developing a relaxed down starts at home and extends into public. Over 60 video clips to watch!

 

 Settle/Relax - Level 2

Class Goals:  Dog runs to settle at a distance, under things, backs into tight spaces, and while you are talking to others. Dog learns to curl up, tuck his tail in and settle with a stranger. Several extension applications are suggested. 


In this class, settling at a distance from handler is taught. There are also times when your dog needs to be relaxed under the supervision of a stranger. Learning to tuck his tail in and curling up in a ball prevents getting stepped on while settling into tight out of the way spaces facing outward is fun and easy! Learning to crawl and settle under things is helpful as well. Build on the settle behavior in the presence of more distractions away from home and on public transportation.

Prerequisite: Settle / Relax - Level 1