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

Canine Handler Academy

Returning In Person in 2022!

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 search and rescue, law enforcement, and medical detection, as well as gain additional skills in canine fitness, behavior, and positive reinforcement training.

2022 Canine Handler Academy

  • Beginner Session #1          
July 11-15
  • Beginner Session #2
July 18-22
  • Advanced Session
July 25-29


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

  • Beginner sessions offer an introduction to general dog training as well as working dogs and their many different jobs. Learn how to train the basics of search and rescue, obedience, and fitness techniques while discovering the benefits of positive reinforcement practices.
  • For incoming 7th, 8th, and 9th graders (2022-2023 school year)
  • Cost: $650
  • Beginner Session #1: July 11-15, 2022
  • Beginner Session #2: July 18-22, 2022

Advanced Session

  • A full week dedicated to in depth exploration of Search & Rescue Dogs
  • For incoming 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th graders (2022-2023 school year) who have attended at least one beginner session. The beginner and advanced sessions may occur during the same summer.
  • Advanced sessions of different topics may be offered in future summers so check back next year for more opportunities to enrich your child’s dog training knowledge through CHA.
  • Cost: $650
  • Advanced Session: July 25-29, 2022

Counselors & Counselors-In-Training (CIT)

The learning never stops! Our students do not fully age out but rather have the opportunity to become counselors. If your student 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 Sessions 

Apply to become a Counselor or CIT...


We offer scholarships to applicants who qualify for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). If you are applying for a scholarship do so first, before registering. 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.

Complete 2022 Canine Handler Academy registration form...

Questions, email

What We Did During COVID

While we were unable to host our in-person Canine Handler Academy in 2020, our instructors created a 4-week online activity series designed to introduce that dog-loving kid in your life to the world of working dogs.

If you know a child who would enjoy these activities, you can access them below.