Trainers at Canine Companions

After the puppy raiser returns the dog to CCI at approximately 15 months of age, the dog attends a six month or, in some cases, nine month training course with professional trainers at a Regional Training Center. One of our trainers from the Northwest Region spent some time and answered some questions about what it’s like to be a trainer at Canine Companions for Independence.

Trainer with a Graduate Team

Q: What is a “Day in the Life” of a trainer like? What fills your day?

A: I think any trainer would answer, at least partially, that what is nice about our position is that it is so varied. We have
the opportunity to do demonstrations, work with clients, work with dogs, do
paperwork, go out in the community, etc., etc. When dogs first turn-in to campus they go through temperament testing, medical checks (eye, hip/elbow x-rays, heart), get examined by the vet and get updated
on vaccinations. Each trainer has anywhere from 6-13 dogs that they work with. We also follow-up with graduate teams in the field, on the phone and through email and assist with any other needs and support they require. We monitor and progress the application process from initial application request to personal interview. Our days are certainly full!

Q: What do you love about your job?

A: Every day I get to come in and no matter how I’m feeling I always feel better at
the end of the day. I feel like I’m putting good out into the world.

The trainers’ great work brings smiles, confidence, and greater independence

Q: Please share a moment of inspiration that you experienced during Team Training.

A: There was a little girl in a wheelchair who never seemed happy. She was always upset, crying or screaming for some  reason. She was pre-matched with a big, male golden retriever. As the dog put his front paws across her lap, she broke into the biggest smile I’ve ever seen! It was  amazing to see this transformation. It was as if her entire body was beaming with happiness.

If you are interested in learning more about Canine Companions for Independence, please visit

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