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Quick Facts

About the Canine Care and Handling Certificate

The Canine Care and Handling Certificate prepares students for entrepreneurship, employment or advancement in a variety of canine fields by developing student/canine handling skills, communication skills, health care and business operations knowledge. Students also complete the training requirements for the Therapy & Service Dog Team Skills Certificate which provides skills needed to take the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test and a therapy dog evaluation exam offered by evaluators from three national therapy team organizations.

Program Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Canine Care and Handling Certificate program, the learner will be able to:

  1. Apply positive canine training and handling skills. (AGS  190, AGS 192, AGS 195)
  2. Explain canine behavior and psychology and implement into a training and behavior modification program. (AGS 190, AGS 192, AGS 195)
  3. Articulate and use canine training concepts and skills in working with service and therapy dogs. (AGS 195)
  4. Apply communication skills with the general public. (AGS 194, AGS 195)
  5. Use canine handling skills in diverse public environments and with distractions. (AGS 190, AGS 192, AGS 195)
  6. Identify and describe general canine anatomy. (AGS 193)
  7. Identify a variety of canine illnesses and discuss disease control strategies. (AGS 193)    
  8. Explain and administer canine first aid. (AGS 193)
  9. Apply grooming techniques and skills. (AGS 193)
  10. Discuss canine nutritional needs and apply nutrition options. (AGS 193)
  11. Explain general breeding practices. (AGS 193)
  12. Identify various canine related businesses and explain how they operate. (AGS 194)
  13. Develop a canine related business plan. (AGS 194)
  14. Enhance an existing canine related business. (AGS 190, AGS 192, AGS 194)
  15. (A) Apply handling and communication skills in canine sports activities (AGS 196); or (B) Identify ADA laws and compare Assistance and Service Dogs. (AGS 197)

Program-Specific Requirements

Course Course Title Hours
AGS190 Canine Behavior and Psych I

AGS 190. Canine Behavior and Psychology I (3). Introduction to canine behavior in human society. Includes positive reinforcement training techniques, methods of affecting positive outcomes and compatible lifestyles between humans and canines, and an introduction to puppy development, dog breeds and canine body and behavioral language. Three lecture.

1. Canine senses and behavior
2. Positive reinforcement training skills
3. Classifications and characteristics of dog breeds
4. Children and dog interactions
5. Canine management and equipment
6. Introduction to canine health care
7. Developmental stages in the life of the puppy and socialization
8. Canine body language

1. Explain the role of canine senses in behavior. (1)
2. Select and apply techniques for behavior modification. (2)
3. Identify major groups of dogs and explain characteristics of each. (3)
4. Identify safety issues between children and dogs. (4)
5. Recognize and determine proper equipment for management of canines. (2,5)
6. Recognize and apply techniques for general health and care of canines. (6)
7. Describe a puppy's learning curve and factors influencing optimum socialization. (7)
8. Identify and interpret significant body postures of dogs. (8)

AGS192 Canine Behavior and Psych II

AGS 192. Canine Behavior and Psychology II (3). Psychology and behavior of canines along with training and observation skills applying positive reinforcement based concepts. Includes types and causes of aggression, complex behavior problems and dealing with fearful or stressed dogs. Emphasis on in-depth observation of canine body postures, communication with humans and human to canine communication. Prerequisite: AGS 190. Three lecture.

1. Play and predatory behavior patterns
2. Types and causes of aggressive behavior
3. Complex behavior problems
4. Dealing with fear in canines
5. Stress in canines
6. Neurobiology of learning in canines
7. Communications between canine and human
8. Advanced handling and training skills

1. Compare play and predatory motor patterns in the context of behavior. (1)
2. Identify the causes of aggressive behavior. (2)
3. Categorize types of aggressive behavior. (2)
4. Analyze and propose solutions to complex behavior issues. (3,8)
5. Develop strategies for changing emotional reactions in fearful dogs. (4,8)
6. Assess stress producing situations and design appropriate modifications. (5,8)
7. Apply contemporary neurobiological research to canine training and behavior modification. (6,8)
8. Use techniques for enhanced communication between human and canine. (2-8)
:9. Develop communication strategies for coaching individuals or groups regarding canine behavior. (7,8)
10. Apply advanced handling skills. (8)

AGS193 Intro to Canine Health Care

AGS 193. Introduction to Canine Health Care (3). Introduction to health needs of canines both physiologically and anatomically. Includes general first aid and CPR techniques, traditional and alternative disease management methods, grooming and hygiene essentials for dogs, and breeding practices including spay and neuter theories. Three lecture.

1. General canine anatomy and physiology
2. Nutrition needs and function
3. First aid and CPR
4. Disease control
5. Grooming
6. Breeding practices

1. Describe and explain fundamentals of canine anatomy and physiology. (1)
2. Explain the overall nutritional needs and general physiological function of nutrition in dogs. (2)
3. Apply first aid care and canine CPR. (3)
4. Perform crisis management techniques for canines with injuries and prepare for transport. (3)
5. Explain protocols of traditional and alternative disease control methods. (4)
6. List various disease symptoms. (4)
7. Identify grooming and hygiene needs of dogs. (5)
8. Discuss breeding practices and spay/neuter theories. (6)

AGS194 Canine Business

AGS 194. Canine Business (3) (Spring). Communication skills with employees, and the general public related to canine activities to include: rescue groups, breeding, boarding, office or facility environments, and public events. Three lecture.

1. Canine related occupations and organizations
2. Communication skills
3. Veterinary related terms
4. General facility management
5. Documentation for office, business or organizational needs
6. Boarding practices

1. Differentiate various canine related occupations and organizations. (1)
2. Utilize communication skills required for working with and around the public. (2)
3. Utilize communication skills used in interacting with employees and employers. (2)
4. Define and apply veterinary related terms used in documentation. (3, 5)
5. Describe and prepare canine business documentation. (5)
6. Describe boarding or fostering facilities and their operations. (4, 5)
7. Identify facility upkeep requirements. (4, 6)
8. Differentiate various boarding styles and requirements. (6)

AGS195 Canine Public Skills

AGS 195. Canine Public Skills (2) (Spring). Rules, ethics, laws, and training for dogs and handlers to test for therapy or service dog teams. Student/dog team training in a variety of public environments such as health facilities and businesses. Prerequisite: AGS 192 (may be taken concurrently). One lecture. Two Lab.

1. Basic canine training skills
2. Canine handling skills
3. Canine behavior expectations in health facilities and other businesses
4. Canine-to-canine greetings
5. Canine-to-human greetings
6. Communication in public while handling a dog
7. Traveling, camping, hiking and dog sports
8. Therapy, service and assistance dogs
9. Laws and ethics regarding assistance, service and therapy dogs

1. Apply basic canine training behavior skills. (1)
2. Use dog handling skills in public environments. (2-5)
3. Apply proper dog handling skills in health facilities and other businesses. (2,3)
4. Recognize and train proper canine-to-canine greetings. (1,2,4)
5. Recognize and train dogs' polite approaches to humans. (1,2,5)
6. Communicate with people while handling a dog. (2,6)
7. Recognize and train proper canine manners and behaviors for traveling, camping, hiking and dog sport activities. (1,2,7)
8. Discuss the differences between assistance, service and therapy dogs. (8,9)
9. Discuss and evaluate the laws and ethics regarding assistance, service and therapy dogs. (9)

AGS196 Canine Sport Activities

AGS 196. Canine Sport Activities (2). Introduction to sport activities for canines such as agility, earth dog, fly ball, herding, obedience, rally, splash dog and tracking. Emphasis on rules and regulations for competition, health related issues, breeds and mixes best suited for selective sports, and local availability of canine sports. Includes preparatory handling skills and practice for sport dog activities. Field trips required. Prerequisite: AGS 190 (may be taken concurrently). One lecture. Two lab.

1. Sport activities for canines
2. Local availability of canine sports
3. Handling skills and techniques
4. Competition rules and regulations
5. Breeds suited for various sports
6. Canine health related issues

1. Identify types of dog sports and determine their local availability. (1, 2)
2. Use handling skills and techniques required for dog sports. (3)
3. Explain rules and regulations for competing in dog sports. (4)
4. Identify, and explain reasons for, the breeds and breed mixes best suited for particular dog sports. (5)
5. Discuss health related issues for various dog sport activities. (6)

OR AGS197 Introduction to Service Dogs

AGS 197. Introduction to Service Dogs (2). Review of laws regarding Assistance, Service, Emotional Support and Therapy Dogs including American with Disabilities Act (ADA) laws vs. ethics. Includes misuse and abuse by the public of Service Dog teams and public resistance and abuse of Assistance and Service Dogs in public access. Overview of training requirements of Assistance, Service, Emotional Support and Therapy Dogs, and organizations that train Assistance and Service Dogs. Two lecture.

1. ADA laws and history
2. Ethics
3. Public reception of Assistance and Service Dogs
4. Differences between Assistance, Service Dogs and Emotional Support Dogs (ESD)
5. Differences between Therapy Dogs and Assistance/Service Dogs
6. Organizations that train Assistance and Service Dogs

1. Describe and explain ADA laws and history. (1)
2. Analyze differences between laws and ethics. (1,2)
3. Describe and relate to public regarding Assistance and Service Dogs. (3)
4. Describe and compare differences between Assistance, Service, ESD and Therapy Dogs. (4, 5)
5. Evaluate differences in organizations that train Assistance and Service Dogs. (6)


Note:  It is always best to discuss educational and career goals with an academic advisor prior to enrolling in any courses.  Learn more about Academic Advising.