Job Opening: Puppy Trainer
Guide Dogs of the Desert is currently looking for a Full-Time Puppy Trainer. If you are interested in the position, please fill out the Application below the Job Description, and e-mail your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 1972, Guide Dogs of the Desert (GDD) has made a difference in the lives of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Over the past 45 years, more than 1400 client/dog teams from around the country have graduated from Guide Dogs of the Desert, enjoying richer, fuller and more productive lives. Attending a 28-day in-residence training program on campus, the blind individual is matched with the highest quality dog that is custom-trained to the individual’s personal needs and home environment – at no cost to the client.
Guide Dogs of the Desert is a service provider to the visually impaired supported by over 200 volunteers who raise puppies for training to be service animals for those in need. All dogs are AKC-registered pedigreed animals who are taught obedience and socialization before their intense specialty training as service animals begins.
Guide Dogs is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, totally reliant upon private sector funding.
Job Title: Puppy Trainer
FLSA Classification: Non-exempt (eligible for overtime), Full-time
The Puppy Trainer is responsible for the behavioral support of all puppies prior to their entry into Formal Guide Dog Training. This position conducts ongoing assessments as well as providing training support to volunteer Puppy Raisers with the goal of preparing the puppies to become guide dogs. This position will require working evenings, weekends and holidays. Some travel for behavioral assessments may be required.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following:
- Act as the primary training contact for all volunteer puppy raisers – providing answers and follow-up on any training or behavior issues/questions/concerns.
- Identify, document and address canine behavior issues with a detailed training plan and follow-up.
- Conduct and facilitate early neurological stimulation and training for newborn puppies on campus (starting at age 3 weeks).
- Complete home evaluations of potential puppy raisers.
- Create and maintain online training content for puppy raisers.
- Conduct in-person obedience classes (beginning, intermediate and advanced) – to be held evenings and during weekends based on attendee availability.
- Evaluate and approve off-sight obedience class substitutions for puppy raisers.
- Conduct Monthly Online Meetings for puppy raisers.
- Provide Lesson Plans and feedback to Area Leaders for in-person meetings.
- Attend all GDD puppy raising events and meetings (3-4x/month) focusing on observation, feedback and support for the puppy raisers.
- Travel to Arizona as needed (approximately 2-3x/year) for puppy/equipment transport, behavior evaluations and training support.
- Maintain written and computer records, according to established procedures as set forth by the International Guide Dog Federation.
- Participate and represent Guide Dogs of the Desert for internal and external events, meetings and promotional activities.
- Leadership – Maintains a positive, upbeat role in the company. Promotes and exemplifies Organization values, represents departmental objectives and interests to internal and external customers, and is accountable for responsibilities and own actions.
- Customer Service – Follows up on complaints, questions, and concerns; responds to internal/external customer needs in a timely and efficient manner.
- Teamwork – Develops and promotes teamwork and cooperation among colleagues and employees.
- Safety – Demonstrates commitment to a healthy and safe environment and follows all safety and security policies and procedures.
- Flexibility – Adapts to changing policies and procedures, as well as varying deadlines.
- Performs other duties as assigned.
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions
Education and/or experience
- At least 5 years dog training experience – teaching skills and addressing behavior issues
- Previous experience with class instruction (more than 3 individuals)
- CPDT-KA or equivalent preferred
- Associates (AA) or Bachelor’s Degree (BA or BS) from an accredited college preferred
Required Skills, Abilities, and Knowledge
- Knowledge of animal behavior, dog training skills, instruction skills
- Must safely handle a variety of large breed dogs, weighing up to 90+ pounds, with varying strength and manageability.
- Ability to providing a safe and humane training environment for the dogs you are working with
- Ability to instruct, a wide range of individuals, demonstrating patience, understanding, flexibility, and overall interest
- Ability to adhere to all safety and health policies and procedures
- Ability to exercise professional conduct and maintain a high level of confidentiality in all duties
- Ability to establish and maintain professional, productive and courteous relationships with staff, volunteers, donors, clients and all constituents of Guide Dogs of the Desert
- Ability to promote positive teamwork while performing work activities requiring interacting or speaking with others and responding appropriately to constructive feedback or suggestions for improvement by a team member
- Ability to work a flexible schedule, i.e. non-traditional business hours, overnights, weekends, holidays
- Ability to travel when necessary
- Has excellent oral and written communication skills, as well as strong organizational skills and ability to handle multiple tasks
- Ability to effectively present information and represent Guide Dogs of the Desert to clients, co-workers, general public
Required Technical / Certification / Licenses
Valid California driver’s license and safe driving record
Able to pass a pre-employment drug test and background check
- Regularly lift and/or move up to 30 pounds
- Regularly required to walk, stand, reach with hands and arms, climb stairs, balance, talk clearly, and with have good distance, peripheral and depth perception vision, especially as it relates to observing raisers and puppies in training situations.