New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA

Canine Handler Academy

Join us Summer 2024!

The educational mission of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center includes a focus on the next generation of dog trainers. 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 between the Working Dog Center and the citizens our canine graduates will eventually serve. Our goal is to educate and inspire the next generation of veterinarians, working dog handlers, and canine enthusiasts.

Students will gain hands-on training experience, learn from guest presenters, enjoy various working dog demonstrations, and have the opportunity to visit with canine handlers and learn more about their jobs.

Participants will have the unique opportunity to be immersed in the working dog industry and learn about canines working in many disciplines including search and rescue, law enforcement, medical detection, and conservation. Your child will also gain additional skills in canine fitness, behavior, and positive reinforcement training.

2024 Canine Handler Academy

  • Beginner Session #1          
July 8-12, 2024
  • Beginner Session #2
July 15-19, 2024
  • Beginner Session #3
July 22-26, 2024 
  • Advanced Session
July 29-August 2, 2024


Canine Handler Academy runs from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm each day. Early drop-off and late pick-up options are available with pre-registration. Students are required to provide their own transportation to and from the Working Dog Center as well as their own lunches.


Beginner Sessions

  • Introduction to general dog training as well as working dogs and their many different jobs. Learn the fundamentals behind training of search and rescue, obedience, and K9 fitness while discovering the benefits of positive reinforcement practices.
  • For incoming 7th, 8th, and 9th graders (2024-2025 school year)
  • Cost: $650
  • Beginner Session #1: July 8-12, 2024
  • Beginner Session #2: July 15-19, 2024
  • Beginner Session #3: July 22-26, 2024 

Advanced Session

  • A full week dedicated to in depth exploration of Search & Rescue Dogs
  • For incoming 7th, 8th, and 9th (2024-2025 school year) who have attended at least one beginner session. The beginner and advanced sessions may occur during the same summer.
  • Attended an advanced session last year? Join us again and be able to expand your skills and take advantage of special opportunities.
  • Cost: $650
  • Advanced Session: July 29-August 2, 2024

Counselors & Counselors-In-Training (CIT)

The learning never stops! Our students do not age out but rather have the opportunity to become counselors. If your child has been with us in previous summers, they may be eligible to apply as a Counselor-In-Training or a Counselor.

  • Must apply and receive notification prior to registering.
    • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • Qualifications for Counselor-In-Training
    • Completed at least 1 beginner session
    • Completed at least 1 advanced session
    • Cost: $250

  • Qualifications for Counselor
    • Completed at least one Counselor-In-Training week
    • Incoming 10th grader or older
    • Cost: $0

*Incoming 9th graders may only be CITs for Beginner Sessions
*Incoming 10th graders+ may be CITs for Advanced Session

Apply to be a Counselor or Counselor-In-Training...


We offer scholarships to applicants who qualify for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). 

Funding for these scholarships is made possible by the K9 RIP Training Fund, founded by the Penn Vet Working Dog Center’s Training Manager, Pat Kaynaroglu, to honor her search and rescue dog RIP.

*If you are applying for a scholarship please do so first before registering. Do not register until you have received approval. A spot will be held for you while your application is being considered.

Apply for a scholarship...

How to Register

We partner with Capable Canine to manage the registration and promotion of our classes.

If you have any questions, contact us at


  • Would this camp be a good fit for my child?

    If your child has an interest in joining a group of other students who want to learn more about the many jobs that dogs have, how they are trained, and what their handlers must go through to have this type of job-your kid will love Canine Handler Academy!

  • Will my child get to work with real dogs?

    Yes, but please read this carefully. There will be an activity every day where your child will be hands on with one of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center dogs. However, throughout each day your child will also hang out with real working K9 handlers, learn other skills important for a K9 trainer to know, and do projects that, while dog-related, will not always include hands-on time with a dog.

  • What type of activities will my child be doing?

    Your child will get to step into the role of a real working dog handler and get to learn everything that goes into being a K9 handler. This includes watching demos and visiting with experts, interactive classroom time learning about the science of dog training science, and of course the opportunities for hands-on training time with real working dogs. These dogs are friendly but very high energy and they love to tug and play with campers.

  • Who is this camp NOT for?

    If your child does not enjoy or struggles with group activities or does not enjoy or have the focus for structured (but fun) curriculum, this might not be the right program for your child. If your child is only looking to snuggle and play with dogs all day, this is not the right program for your child.