Introducing the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior!

vs-dog-training-academyAt long last, I am thrilled to announce the official launch of the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior! Developing our flagship Dog Trainer Course for aspiring professional dog trainers has been a labor of love that I have been working on for several years with the help of my incredibly dedicated team. Now it's time to start registration for the very first class of students!

Are you going to be among the first 25? That's right; there are 25 slots open for the first Dog Trainer Course, which will begin in February 2016 and meet for intensives in Atlanta, GA. Those 25 students will be working hands on with me and a team of amazing faculty and mentors who are all dedicated to teaching you how to be an effective, confident dog trainer who is up-to-date on modern behavior science and force-free training technique, and equipped to begin your new career.

The comprehensive 6 month Dog Trainer Course includes: 

  • In-person Intensives. VSA Faculty and I will lead students through two multi-day intensive learning experiences that include classroom study, hands-on experience, field trips, and more.
  • Field Studies with Mentor. Students complete two extensive periods under their mentor’s supervision; a 60-day Field Study module centers on observing and assisting their mentor, while a second 90-day Field Training module includes more hands-on training and teaching with the mentor’s real-world clients.
  • At-home study. VSA provides scientifically up-to-date course materials and online lessons which students access via a variety of platforms.
  • Cyber classes. Online meet-ups led by VSA faculty (including me) enhance the learning experience while keeping students engaged and on track.

I'm sure many of you have questions about how the Academy works and how you can get involved, so I'm including a few FAQs here, but please check out the Academy website for all details on how you can get started in the Dog Trainer Course.


Screenshot from the all-new VSA website.

Q: I want to be among the first 25! What do I do first?

  • Go to the Academy website for all the details on registration, dates, tuition, how to apply, and more.

Q: What experience is needed to be accepted?

  • The Dog Trainer Course is optimized for students brand new to dog training & behavior, so no previous dog training experience is required, but it’s also appropriate for trainers who feel they may have gaps in their education.

Q: How can I apply to be a VSA Mentor?  

  • Are you an experienced force-free training professional? If so, we'd love to talk to you about mentorship opportunities with the Academy. Click here for more information.

Q: Will I be a VSPDT when I graduate the VSA training course? 

  • No, VSPDTs are highly experienced dog training professionals who are required to have several years of hands-on private and group class training experience before even applying to join the team. However, VSA graduates will be eligible to apply to become VSPDTs after completing those required years of training.

Q: What about classes for advanced training professionals? 

  • We are currently launching just our flagship Dog Trainer Course for new trainers, but we plan to offer advanced courses for experienced trainers soon. For now, if you are an experienced trainer we encourage you to apply to our VSPDT program!


PS - You can also check out the brand-new VSA Facebook page, and Twitter page.

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