You are currently viewing Highland Canine Series, Part 3: School for Dog Trainers

Highland Canine Series, Part 3: School for Dog Trainers

In the two most recent articles on the Soldat d’Elite Malinois blog, we looked at two aspects of Highland Canine Training, LLC. After attending their School for Dog Trainers in 2019, I wanted to explain just how incredible the trainers behind this business are – and how they contribute to making a huge difference to the communities and families they work with.

Our first article focused on the police and military dog division of Highland Canine Training. The company’s understanding of the needs of law enforcement – combined with a rigorous selection and training process, and constantly evolving handler education – puts them at the forefront of working dog providers in the United States.

In our second article, we looked at the organization’s service dog division. Highland Canine trains service dogs for a variety of purposes, including supporting children and adults diagnosed with autism, helping older people with mobility issues, and helping individuals who have been diagnosed with PTSD. These impeccably trained service dogs make a life-changing difference to their handlers.

In this concluding article of the series, I wanted to talk about the School for Dog Trainers itself. Back in 2019, I made the journey – a journey comprising over 3,500km – to attend the Master Dog Trainer program at the School for Dog Trainers in Harmony, NC. This program lasts for six months, and covers all major aspects of dog training, including obedience, behavior modification, service dog training and police dog training. The program is one of the most respected and acclaimed of its type.

About The School For Dog Trainers

The School for Dog Trainers was founded by Highland Canine Training back in 2006. Over the past sixteen years, the School has welcomed hundreds of students from across the globe to their Main Campus in North Carolina – many of whom have gone on to launch their own dog training business, or pursue a successful career as a trainer with an existing company.

The aim of the School is to provide world-class canine education that relies on science and research at its core. This science-led approach ensures that students are able to understand and apply the fundamentals of canine behavior. In addition to classroom theory, students are provided with the opportunity to work hands-on with a variety of dog breeds, allowing them to apply their learning in a practical environment.

The programs are taught by a knowledgeable team of experts who have made successful careers for themselves in the world of dog training. In early 2021, the School opened its second campus location – the Southeast Campus in Hanceville, AL. This enables the School for Dog Trainers to make its programs available to a larger number of prospective dog trainers.

laurie mcintosh teaching dog how to do handstand
Above: Teaching a dog to perform a handstand during my studies at the School for Dog Trainers.

Programs At The School For Dog Trainers

The School presently offers seven different dog trainer programs, each differing in course content and length. Some programs (such as the Master Dog Trainer program I attended) cover several different facets of dog training, whereas others have a narrower focus for students who know which area of dog training they wish to specialize in.

Here is a short outline of each program offered at the School:

  • Master Dog Trainer Program (lasts 24 weeks) – This is the most comprehensive course offered by the School for Dog Trainers. This is perfect for anyone who wants to get a complete understanding of the world of dog training, as it covers many different aspects of the field.

  • Service Dog Trainer Program (lasts 18 weeks) – The Service Dog Trainer program is ideal for students who wish to specialize in providing service dogs for their clients. This program goes behind-the-scenes of Highland Canine’s service dog division, covering everything from puppy selection to task training.

  • Police K9 Trainer/Instructor Program (lasts 6, 8 or 12 weeks) – This program offers students a comprehensive look at the protection and detection disciplines of dog training, focusing on elements which are applicable to police and military dog teams.

What Makes The School For Dog Trainers Different?

During my six months in North Carolina, there were several factors that vindicated my decision to attend the School for Dog Trainers.

The curriculum of the Master Dog Trainer program was second to none. The mixture of classroom theory and hands-on practicals is perfect – you have to demonstrate your understanding of the theory by putting it into practice with your chosen practical dog.

The knowledge of the instructors – with so many years of experience and expertise behind them – is unparalleled, in my opinion. These are all trainers who have had considerable success in the dog training industry themselves, and are now passing that knowledge and experience on to these students. They are able to describe behavioral concepts and empower students to be able to implement these in their practical assignments.

One other amazing aspect of the School for Dog Trainers – which is hard to truly define, unless you’ve experienced the program itself – is the opportunity for personal growth afforded by the course. You can constantly challenge yourself, not just through regular classwork and practicals, but through add-on modules like their Student Excellence program, or the extracurricular activities which offer volunteering experiences. Not to mention the opportunity to learn from other like-minded people, and build friendships that will last far beyond the six-month program.

laurie mcintosh with service dog at nursing home
Above: Sitting with a service dog in training during a socialization outing at a nursing home in North Carolina.

In conclusion

My time at the School for Dog Trainers was certainly memorable, and an experience I will never forget. I was able to learn so much during the six-month Master Dog Trainer program, and I gained new perspectives to build on my existing knowledge.

If you’re looking to make a career in the world of dog training, you need to understand how – and why – dogs behave in the way that they do. You will not find a more comprehensive education than the one on offer at the School for Dog Trainers.

class 50 school for dog trainers
Above: A photo of my class (Class 50) at the School for Dog Trainers.

Leave a Reply