PTSD Service Dog Trainer Academy

October 5-18, 2013

Learn to:
  • Recognize and read canine communication found in dog posture, facial expression, body language, movement, and tonal inflection.
  • Identify the numerous and diverse sources of unwanted canine aggression. Accurate recognition of the origins is critical for trainers learning to rehabilitate aggressive dogs.
  • Understand how the canine brain processes and stores information, and how to make associations between stimuli and reward to ensure long-term memory and performance under stress.

What trainers can expect:
  • Personal, hands-on interactive work with untrained dogs
  • Examples of canine communication in video footage
  • Large field pack socialization
  • Personal coaching
  • Assigned ‘project dogs’
  • A greater understanding of how to work with dogs' instincts to achieve results
Development of this knowledge will cut years off your learning curve as a trainer. There are many different approaches to dogtraining, but learning to view the world through the dogs’ eyes and to understand their currencies will exponentially improve your effectiveness as a trainer.



Training Service Dogs for Veterans living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) requires very specialized knowledge and skills - in both the trainer and the dog. These Service Dogs must possess a perceptive nature, a courteous, compliant temperament and an intuitive spirit in order to perform their work independently when the Veteran is in crisis. Trainers must learn to identify and evaluate these unique dogs, train them to recognize and interrupt the behaviors associated with anxiety responses, panic attacks and nightmares. Trainers must learn to evaluate both dogs and Veterans in order to effectively pair a successful team.

TAV’s PTSD Service Dog Trainer Academy includes both classroom and hands-on education. Trainers learn:


Understanding PTSD and TBI is essential to knowing what the Veteran needs and feels, and how a Service Dog can benefit them. Our classroom work includes lectures taught by VA Clinicians that give you a clear understanding of PTSD, the struggles and behaviors associated with psychological injuries and how Service Dogs can be an important piece of the recovery process.

Gaining an understanding of the symptoms of PTSD will dovetail into how and why we train the dog to recognize and interrupt anxiety, panic attacks and nightmares.


To shorten training time and maximize training efforts, our students learn to identify ideal breeding, temperament, behavior and physical traits that ensure the selection of the best PTSD Service Dog candidates.


TAV Academy students learn to recognize and select Veterans most likely to benefit and recover long term.  PTSD Service Dogs are not the answer for every situation. TAV has developed an in-depth application and screening process. Students will learn to evaluate the Veteran’s needs, support system and desire to heal. This process will enable you to determine if a Service Dog can be a key to a Veteran’s recovery.


Matching the right dog to the right Veteran is both an art and a skill.  While dogs can make just about anyone feel better, a properly selected, expertly trained and skillfully matched Service Dog can be an incredibly transformative agent in the life of the injured Veteran, cultivating independence and confidence to reclaim their lives. We have seen how the right match has helped Veterans cultivate the independence and confidence to reclaim their lives.


  • Gain a solid understanding of what PTSD dogs actually do, and an awareness of what they should not do.
  • Develop the skills to teach dogs:
  • to announce the early onset of anxiety/panic attacks in both private and public environments
  • to ‘embrace’ (hugging action) for times of emotional crises
  • to ignore other animal/human solicitation for attention
  • to interrupt nightmares
  • Learn how to teach the Veteran:
  • to utilize the dog through crises
  • to integrate the dog into the family
  • Learn about myths and misunderstanding about PTSD dogs.
  • Learn to understand military culture.
  • Learn how Therapists can integrate dog therapy.
  • Learn to understand and recognize the symptoms of PTSD and how to properly train a dog to assist in recovery
  • Learn how to use your skill to earn income for your business through training for TAV.


  • Must have a minimum of 2 years training experience or equivalent through internships.
  • Must submit application detailing training skills, experience and communication skills.
  • Must have good interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills and show attention to detail.