Maddie's® Volunteer Dog Handling Program Apprenticeship

Are you looking to build a robust dog volunteer program to assist staff in daily dog care? Are you struggling with volunteer retention in your current dog volunteer programs? Volunteer help is essential in reaching a goal of every dog out of their kennel every day. This apprenticeship is developed to guide you through designing and developing a dog volunteer training program to empower volunteers to be more involved in the daily care and enrichment for dogs in the shelter



Carrie DeFeo

Dog Behavior Co-Manager

What Will Students Learn?

  • How to develop a dog training program
  • Learn how to empower your dog volunteers to become more involved in daily care and enrichment
  • How to improve volunteer retention
  • Learn a comprehensive approach to dog training, developed to reach all dogs and increase life-saving
  • Learn our Canine Good Citizen-Ready program
  • Decrease the average length of stay and return rates for shelter dogs

Who Should Attend?

This apprenticeship opportunity is for shelter/rescue organization directors, staff and volunteers.

How Long Is This Class?

Each apprenticeship is five days, plus travel, and hosted in Austin, Texas.


June 3 - 7

July 15-19

September 9-13

Open Enrollment


“Being able to take home standard operating procedures from a city that focuses on maintaining No Kill is a game changer in bringing our community forward from the animal control mentality to engaging the entire community in achieving high standards of animal welfare.”

Maddie's® Lifesaving Leadership Master Class Student

“It was fantastic. I enjoyed it [the apprenticeship] so much and took away more valuable information than I ever thought possible… thank you as does all of the Eastern Madera County SPCA. You have made an imprint on my life that I will be forever grateful for.”

Maddie's® Dog Foster Program Apprenticeship Student

"While participating in an apprenticeship at APA! I learned more effective and cost-saving ways to better serve the animals in our care, while also providing established protocols and procedures to staff members. I was able to more easily and clearly create a framework for common symptoms and illness. Other takeaways from the apprenticeship would be HR development, crowdfunding, and drug and illness protocols."

Maddie's® Clinic Apprenticeship for Managers Student

"I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to attend your master class. I was shocked at the amount of information I learned from your class. Your candor and non-judgmental attitude made receiving information when I was admitting I had been wrong so much easier. Again, thank you for the opportunity, and I look forward to staying in contact with you!"

Maddie's® Feline Lifesaving Master Class Student

"Thank you for giving us the tools we need and the continued offer of support. I feel confident that between this course and the feline course I’m attending next month, our shelter is going to be able to save most of that last 10% and that is HUGE. You are amazing. Your staff is amazing. Your volunteers are phenomenal. Thank you."

Maddie's® Canine Lifesaving Leadership Master Class Student
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