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.


Clare Callison

Clare Callison

Maddie's Canine Lifesaving Advisor
Profile Thumb

Hana Garner

CGC/TOP Dog Trainer

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. For all classes in 2020, each apprenticeship is four days, plus travel time.

Maddie's® Volunteer Dog Handling Program Apprenticeship is approved for thirty six (36) IAABC Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

This course is approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services.


January 27 - 30

February 17 - 20

March 9 - 12

April 27 - 30

May 11 - 14

June 22 - 25

July 20 - 23

August 24 - 27

September 21 - 24

October 26 - 29

December 14 - 17

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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