Service Dog Trainer

WCC – Menlo Park, California

Experienced dog trainer needed – train service dogs and help Veterans!
Warrior Canine Connection has an immediate opening for an experienced dog trainer at our facility located on the Menlo Park Department of Veterans Affairs campus. If you are a passionate, experienced 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 injured Veteran in the future.

As a WCC Service Dog Training Instructor, you will provide one-on-one instruction and teach small group classes to these volunteer Warrior Trainers, as well as to puppy parents, VA clinical staff, and community volunteers. Warrior Trainer instruction occurs at the VA facility in Menlo Park as a complement to selected VA clinical treatment programs, in conjunction with local Veterans Treatment Court programs, and in community-based program settings. This job requires significant dog training experience – our service dogs learn up to 90 commands during a comprehensive, two-year training process. After those two years of training, the dogs are professionally matched with a disabled Veteran who has mobility impairments or psychological injuries.

This is a full-time position, but some part-time work (20-29 hours/week) may also be considered for the right candidate.

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 training and socialization stages; enter data and complete required forms and reports in a timely manner.
  • Post-placement skill enhancements, evaluations and troubleshooting.
  • Maintain a clean, safe environment for the dogs and humans at the program sites.
  • Comply with or exceed Assistance Dog International minimum standards and ethics.
  • Participate in staff meetings, professional development and community activities.

Required Experience, Skills, Background:

  • At least three (3) years of professional dog training experience, including some experience working with service dogs or assistance dogs.
  • Comfort in leading one-to-one or group training sessions.
  • Detail oriented and demonstrably strong work ethic – this can be demanding work.
  • Friendly, calm, mature, patient, and professional demeanor with excellent communication skills.
  • 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.
  • The ability to work independently with minimal supervision – you must learn quickly.
  • Ability to prioritize work tasks – organization skills and time management are critical.
  • Ability to instruct people with a variety of backgrounds and skill levels in the WCC training methodology and best practices for service dog training.
  • Knowledge of, and ability to implement, effective training methods, problem-solving and instruction for all phases of training (puppy through graduate training).
  • Ability to learn and manage a variety of administrative processes.
  • 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.

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work, psychology, or canine health fields.
  • Prior service dog training experience is highly desirable.
  • 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

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.