Canine Care and Handling Certificate Click here to request more info

Program Contacts

Instructional Specialist Karen Smith (928) 717-7760
Associate Dean Karla Phillips (928) 717-7725
Dean John Morgan (928) 717-7721

Quick Facts

About the Canine Care and Handling Certificate

The Canine Care and Handling Certificate prepares students for entrepreneurship, employment or advancement in a variety of canine fields by developing student/canine handling skills, communication skills, health care and business operations knowledge. Students also complete the training requirements for the Therapy & Service Dog Team Skills Certificate which provides skills needed to take the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test and a therapy dog evaluation exam offered by evaluators from three national therapy team organizations.

Note: This certificate is not eligible for Federal Financial Aid. To explore other financial aid opportunities, please visit the YC Answer Center.

Program Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Canine Care and Handling Certificate program, the learner will be able to:

  1. Apply positive canine training and handling skills. (AGS  180, AGS 182, AGS 185)
  2. Explain canine behavior and psychology and implement into a training and behavior modification program. (AGS 180, AGS 182, AGS 185)
  3. Articulate and use canine training concepts and skills in working with service and therapy dogs. (AGS 185)
  4. Apply communication skills with the general public. (AGS 184, AGS 185)
  5. Use canine handling skills in diverse public environments and with distractions. (AGS 180, AGS 182, AGS 185)
  6. Identify and describe general canine anatomy. (AGS 183)
  7. Identify a variety of canine illnesses and discuss disease control strategies. (AGS 183)    
  8. Explain and administer canine first aid. (AGS 183)
  9. Apply grooming techniques and skills. (AGS 183)
  10. Discuss canine nutritional needs and apply nutrition options. (AGS 183)
  11. Explain general breeding practices. (AGS 183)
  12. Identify various canine related businesses and explain how they operate. (AGS 184)
  13. Develop a canine related business plan. (AGS 184)
  14. Enhance an existing canine related business. (AGS 180, AGS 182, AGS 184)

Program-Specific Requirements

Course Course Title Hours
AGS180 Canine Behavior and Psych I

AGS 180. Canine Behavior and Psychology I (2). Introduction to canine behavior in human society. Includes positive reinforcement training techniques, methods of affecting positive outcomes and compatible lifestyles between humans and canines, and an introduction to puppy development, dog breeds and canine body and behavioral language. Two lecture.

1. Canine senses and behavior
2. Positive reinforcement training skills
3. Classifications and characteristics of dog breeds
4. Children and dog interactions
5. Canine management and equipment
6. Introduction to canine health care
7. Developmental stages in the life of the puppy and socialization
8. Canine body language

1. Explain the role of canine senses in behavior. (1)
2. Select and apply techniques for behavior modification. (2)
3. Identify major groups of dogs and explain characteristics of each. (3)
4. Identify safety issues between children and dogs. (4)
5. Recognize and determine proper equipment for management of canines. (2,5)
6. Recognize and apply techniques for general health and care of canines. (6)
7. Describe a puppy's learning curve and factors influencing optimum socialization. (7)
8. Identify and interpret significant body postures of dogs. (8)

AGS182 Canine Behavior and Psych II

AGS 182. Canine Behavior and Psychology II (2). ). Psychology and behavior of canines along with training and observation skills applying positive reinforcement based concepts. Includes types and causes of aggression, complex behavior problems and dealing with fearful or stressed dogs. Emphasis on in-depth observation of canine body postures, communication with humans and human to canine communication. Prerequisite: AGS 180. Two lecture.

1. Play and predatory behavior patterns
2. Types and causes of aggressive behavior
3. Complex behavior problems
4. Dealing with fear in canines
5. Stress in canines
6. Neurobiology of learning in canines
7. Communications between canine and human
8. Advanced handling and training skills

1. Compare play and predatory motor patterns in the context of behavior. (1)
2. Identify the causes of aggressive behavior. (2)
3. Categorize types of aggressive behavior. (2)
4. Analyze and propose solutions to complex behavior issues. (3,8)
5. Develop strategies for changing emotional reactions in fearful dogs. (4,8)
6. Assess stress producing situations and design appropriate modifications. (5,8)
7. Apply contemporary neurobiological research to canine training and behavior modification. (6,8)
8. Use techniques for enhanced communication between human and canine. (2-8)
:9. Develop communication strategies for coaching individuals or groups regarding canine behavior. (7,8)
10. Apply advanced handling skills. (8)

AGS183 Intro to Canine Health Care

AGS 183. Introduction to Canine Health Care (2). Introduction to health needs of canines both physiologically and anatomically. Includes general first aid and CPR techniques, traditional and alternative disease management methods, grooming and hygiene essentials for dogs, and breeding practices including spay and neuter theories. Two lecture.

1. General canine anatomy and physiology
2. Nutrition needs and function
3. First aid and CPR
4. Disease control
5. Grooming
6. Breeding practices

1. Describe and explain fundamentals of canine anatomy and physiology. (1)
2. Explain the overall nutritional needs and general physiological function of nutrition in dogs. (2)
3. Apply first aid care and canine CPR. (3)
4. Perform crisis management techniques for canines with injuries and prepare for transport. (3)
5. Explain protocols of traditional and alternative disease control methods. (4)
6. List various disease symptoms. (4)
7. Identify grooming and hygiene needs of dogs. (5)
8. Discuss breeding practices and spay/neuter theories. (6)

AGS184 Canine Businesses

AGS 184. Canine Businesses (2). Communication skills with employees, and the general public related to canine activities to include: rescue groups, breeding, boarding, office or facility environments, and public events. Two lecture. (Spring Only)

1. Canine related occupations and organizations
2. Communication skills
3. Veterinary related terms
4. General facility management
5. Documentation for office, business or organizational needs
6. Boarding practices

1. Differentiate various canine related occupations and organizations. (1)
2. Utilize communication skills required for working with and around the public. (2)
3. Utilize communication skills used in interacting with employees and employers. (2)
4. Define and apply veterinary related terms used in documentation. (3, 5)
5. Describe and prepare canine business documentation. (5)
6. Describe boarding or fostering facilities and their operations. (4, 5)
7. Identify facility upkeep requirements. (4, 6)
8. Differentiate various boarding styles and requirements. (6)

AGS185 Canine Public Skills

AGS 185. Canine Public Skills (2). Rules, ethics, laws, and training for dogs and handlers to test for therapy or service dog teams. Student/dog team training in a variety of public environments such as health facilities and businesses. Prerequisite: AGS 182 (may be taken concurrently). One lecture. Two Lab. (Spring Only)

1. Basic canine training skills
2. Canine handling skills
3. Canine behavior expectations in health facilities and other businesses
4. Canine-to-canine greetings
5. Canine-to-human greetings
6. Communication in public while handling a dog
7. Traveling, camping, hiking and dog sports
8. Therapy, service and assistance dogs
9. Laws and ethics regarding assistance, service and therapy dogs

1. Apply basic canine training behavior skills. (1)
2. Use dog handling skills in public environments. (2-5)
3. Apply proper dog handling skills in health facilities and other businesses. (2,3)
4. Recognize and train proper canine-to-canine greetings. (1,2,4)
5. Recognize and train dogs' polite approaches to humans. (1,2,5)
6. Communicate with people while handling a dog. (2,6)
7. Recognize and train proper canine manners and behaviors for traveling, camping, hiking and dog sport activities. (1,2,7)
8. Discuss the differences between assistance, service and therapy dogs. (8,9)
9. Discuss and evaluate the laws and ethics regarding assistance, service and therapy dogs. (9)


Note:  It is always best to discuss educational and career goals with an academic advisor prior to enrolling in any courses.  Learn more about Academic Advising.