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

Canine Handler Academy


While we were unable to host our in-person Canine Handler Academy, 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.

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.

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

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.
  • Topic: Search & Rescue
2021 Canine Handler Academy

  • Beginner Session #1     
  • Beginner Session #2     
  • Beginner Session #3   
  • Advanced Session

*subject to change

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 apply and receive acceptance 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


  • Must qualify for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

  • For Campers and Counselors-In-Training only.

  • Provide a statement from the student describing their interest in attending Canine Handler Academy.

  • 2021 application details pending. 

How to Register

To be added to the waitlist for 2021, please email