2016 Canine Handler Academy

Canine Handler Academy, 2016

Canine Handler Academy

The education mission of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center includes a focus on our next generation. We believe it is a mutually beneficial endeavor to expose today’s youth to the amazing talents of various workings dogs and to help build a sense of community. Our goal is to educate and inspire the next generation of veterinarians, working dog handlers, and canine enthusiasts.

This summer we offer four opportunities for incoming 7th, 8th and 9th graders including two beginner sessions and two advanced sessions. Counselor opportunities for high school students are also available.

Students will gain hands-on training experience, learn from guest presentations, and enjoy various working dog demonstrations.

  • 2019 Registration Coming Soon!
2018 Canine Handler Academy Dates
  • Beginner Session #1     
June 25-29
  • Beginner Session #2     
July 9-13
  • Advanced Session #1    
July 16-20
  • Advanced Session #2    
July 23-27

Beginner Sessions

  • Introduction to detection dogs and their many different jobs. Learn search, obedience, and fitness techniques while discovering the benefits of positive reinforcement practices.

  • Prerequisite - Must be an incoming 7th, 8th, or 9th grader
  • Session I: TBD
  • Session II: TBD

Fee: $650/week

Advanced Sessions

  • A full week dedicated to in depth exploration of specific working dog topics

  • Prerequisite - Must be an incoming 7th, 8th, or 9th grader who has attended at least one beginner session.
  • Session I: TBD  [Topic: TBD]
    2018 Topic: If your child is a public service-minded camper, this Advanced Session is just for them. Students will learn what it takes to train and handle Search & Rescue dogs and how these special dogs help to save lives. Students will also learn what goes in to training Law Enforcement and Police K9s and explore how these dogs play an integral role in keeping our communities safe. Campers will further develop the training skills they learned in the Beginner Session and see how to apply them to specific working dogs so they are successful at their important jobs. 

  • Session II: TBD  [Topic: TBD]
    2018 Topic: This week is the perfect for the science-minded camper who is also interested in hands-on experiences with working dogs. Students will get an inside look at the Working Dog Center through the eyes of our different interns, including our research and veterinary interns. Campers will interact with the dogs while assisting the interns in their day-to-day duties. Campers will also work in small groups to conduct their own "research project”. Based on the group’s shared interests, they will choose a research topic relating to an area at the Center and spend the week collecting and analyzing data using the skills they learn from the interns. The week will include a lot of time spent with dogs, as well as time spent interpreting the data they collect. Campers should come ready to be active, and with a love of science.

  • Fee: $650/week

Counselor & Counselor-In-Training

  • The learning never stops! Our students do not "age out", but rather have the opportunity to become counselors. If your student has been with us before, they are eligible to apply as a Counselors-In-Training or a Counselor.

  • Must email CHA Instructor at caninehandleracademy@gmail.com for approval prior to registering. 
  • Qualifications for Counselor-In-Training (CIT)
    Completed at least 1 beginner session
    Completed at least 1 advanced session
    *Incoming 9th graders may only be CITs for beginner sessions
    *Incoming 10th graders+ may be CITs for advanced sessions

  • Qualifications for Counselor
    Completed at least one Counselor-In-Training week
    Incoming 10th grader or older

  • Fee: $650/week (Counselor-In-Training); $250/week (Counselor)


  • 2019 scholarship information coming soon!

  • In 2018 we partnered with Nutramax® to offer 12 - $250 scholarships to qualified applicants.

How to Register

Applications will be reviewed on a first come first serve basis and should demonstrate a strong desire to become a part of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center community.

2019 Registration Coming Soon!

Canine Handler Academy, 2015

Canine Handler Academy 2015

Thanks to Nutramax for its generous support of the 2015 Canine Handler Academy.

Canine Handler Academy, 2014

2014 K9 Handler Academy

Canine Handler Academy, 2013

Canine Handler Academy 2013