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Service Dog Trainer/Program Manager

WCC – Menlo Park, California

Warrior Canine Connection has an immediate opening for an experienced Service Dog Trainer / Program Manager at our facility located on the Menlo Park Department of Veterans Affairs campus. If you are a passionate, experienced service dog trainer with great people skills, this just might be your dream job!

Warrior Canine Connection is a nonprofit organization with a unique and highly effective service dog training model we call Mission Based Trauma Recovery. In short, active duty Service Members and Military Veterans with combat-related stress are engaged to help us train Golden Retrievers and Labradors to be service dogs. By learning to train service dogs, these Warrior Trainers are given a chance to develop practical skills such as patience, positive reinforcement, emotional regulation, and effective communication skills, while simultaneously helping to prepare the dog to assist a fellow Veteran. Our training methodology is primarily positive reinforcement, with a focus on building strong relationships based on trust and the natural human-animal bond.  After two years of training, our dogs are professionally placed with Veterans to assist with mobility impairments and/or to help mitigate the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress or Traumatic Brain Injury.

As a WCC Service Dog Training Instructor / Program Manager, you will provide one-on-one instruction and teach small group classes to Warrior Trainers, as well as to puppy parents and community volunteers. Warrior Trainer instruction occurs at the VA facility in Menlo Park as a compliment to selected VA clinical treatment programs, in conjunction with local Veterans Treatment Court programs, and in community-based program settings. This job requires the ability to work independently, train service dogs and Veterans, manage the daily aspects of program delivery, and assist with future program growth and staff development.

This is a job that will truly make a difference in the world, and in the lives of the individual Veterans and Service Members, we work with every day.

What the job involves:

  • Train Golden Retrievers and Labradors to be service dogs, from puppyhood to final placement, through various onsite and field activities.
  • Provide one-on-one instruction and teach small group classes on service dog training to volunteer Warrior Trainers recovering from both the hidden and visible wounds of war (e.g. Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, and other psychological health or physical injuries).
  • Provide hands-on service dog training instruction to puppy parents and puppy sitters; handle related tasks such as recruiting, oversight, communication, trouble-shooting canine behavior issues, teaching proper care and handling, etc.
  • Monitor and evaluate the dogs as they progress through the training and socialization stages.
  • Maintain detailed records, enter data, and complete required forms and reports in a timely manner.
  • Assist with post-placement skill enhancements, evaluations and troubleshooting as needed.
  • Manage all aspects of program delivery and implementation, including planning, scheduling, training dogs and Veterans, and regular communication with WCC leadership, volunteers, clinical site staff and court representatives.
  • Train and supervise volunteers and staff members; assist with recruiting and hiring as needed.
  • Work with WCC leadership to ensure program efficacy, quality, and consistency, communicate program information and identify opportunities for improvement or development of best practices.
  • Represent WCC professionally, and maintain positive relationships with individuals, community groups, government representatives, volunteers, and organizations that support WCC’s mission.
  • Participate in community outreach and work collaboratively with WCC’s Development and Communications teams.
  • Maintain a clean, healthy, safe environment for the dogs and humans at the program sites.
  • Comply with and exceed Assistance Dog International minimum standards and ethics.

Required Experience, Skills, Background:

  • At least five (5) years of experience training assistance dogs; candidates with at least five (5) years of similar professional dog training experience may also be considered.
  • Experience managing programs and/or overseeing program delivery.
  • Knowledge, skills, and ability to implement and teach effective service dog training methods for all phases of dog training (puppy through graduate training).
  • Comfort in leading individual and group training sessions.
  • Ability to interact professionally and cooperatively with recovering Warriors and their family members, Veterans with disabilities, other WCC Instructors and staff members, clinical providers, puppy parents, and the public.
  • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision, take initiative, and follow through.
  • Demonstrably strong work ethic, highly organized and detail oriented.
  • The desire to work with Veterans and the knowledge, skills, and ability to effectively interact and work with Veterans who have experienced combat trauma and/or psychological health or physical injuries.
  • Friendly, calm, mature, patient, and professional demeanor with excellent communication skills.
  • Ability to instruct people with a variety of backgrounds and skill levels in the WCC training methodology and best practices for service dog training.
  • Ability to learn and manage a variety of administrative processes.
  • Knowledge of Assistance Dogs International standards for assistance dogs, clients, training programs, public access, and ethics.
  • Basic computer skills and competency in Microsoft Office applications in order to maintain dog records, training charts, puppy evaluations, etc. Salesforce experience is a plus.
  • Ability to pass a background check for clearance to work on Federal property (livescan fingerprinting, TB tests, no felony convictions, etc.).
  • Possess a valid driver’s license, working vehicle and insurance.
  • This is a full-time position with occasional weekend/evening hours. Some part-time shifts may also be available for the right candidate.
  • Veterans strongly encouraged to apply.

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work, psychology, or canine health fields.
  • Possess knowledge, understanding and experience working with various diagnoses and disabilities in order to effectively train assistance dogs to meet these needs.
  • Previous experience working with Veterans with combat trauma.
  • Comfort and experience in public speaking, presentations and interacting with community members, sponsors and public relations partners.

Compensation and Benefits:
Exceptional compensation package including salary, medical, dental, and retirement benefits for full-time employees.

To Apply:
To apply for this position, please provide a resume and cover letter to the Hiring Manager at hr@warriorcanineconnection.org

Warrior Canine Connection is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law.