Position Overview

The Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) is changing lives, one dog at a time.  We are dedicated to breeding, raising, training and placing assistance dogs for persons with a physical disability or who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and to supporting these client and dog teams for the working life of the assistance dogs. PADS is based in the Metro Vancouver region of British Columbia, Canada. Our team of employees, Board members, and volunteers is passionate about giving persons a “new leash on life” with assistance dogs who will help to give clients greater independence and a better quality of life.

In our work, we aim to uphold standards of Assistance Dogs International (ADI): to share its “common goals and interests which are best achieved by uniformly complying with local, state and federal laws as well as ethical, moral and legal policies, practices and procedures.”

The Apprentice Level 1 Assistance Dog Instructor (“Apprentice 1 Instructor”) works, and acquires apprenticeship hours of on-the-job training, under the supervision of PADS’ managers and supervisors to manage the PADS advanced kennel and to train puppies and/or dogs–including those at the Advanced Level.  PADS training philosophy is based on positive reinforcement and PADS trainers teach dog obedience and skills using the principles of clicker training.

This role reports to the Training Programs Manager. Ordinarily, the duration of a Level 1 Apprenticeship is from twelve to twenty-four months, and satisfactory completion of the training may result in eligibility for designation as Apprentice Level 2 Assistance Dog Instructor with an increased focus on Client Services.


Under direct assignment and supervision by PADS managers and supervisors, the Apprentice 1 Instructor handles these responsibilities for the Society.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Responsible for maintenance of safe and sanitary conditions in kennels and training spaces. This includes cleaning the kennel building and yard daily, following the PADS cleaning protocol as well as washing dog dishes, water bowls, laundry, and dog crates. This may be 40-50% of the daily activities. Feeding dogs and cleaning kennel buildings is the first activity to be completed each day.
  • Responsible for the provision of care and grooming of PADS dogs, including participation in regular checks for, and reporting of, illness, injury or abnormalities to PADS managers and supervisors; properly conducting nail trimmings, ear cleanings and other routine canine treatments. Responsible for maintaining dog records regarding grooming, bathing, medical treatments.
  • Assisting with the organizing of, and building proficiency in, the supervision of volunteer services. This may include training of day and evening kennel volunteers, organizing the kennel shift schedule, and sending regular email updates to kennel and other volunteers.
  • Performing training assignments for puppies and Advanced Level dogs in order to facilitate their successful certification and placement as PADS assistance dogs.
  • Participating in the maintenance of up-to-date, accurate and complete records regarding care and training of PADS canines;
  • Complying with PADS’ procedures to meet ADI minimum standards and ethics for training, placement and use of assistance dogs;
  • Learning appropriate communications to address general enquiries about PADS and its training of assistance dogs;

Secondary Responsibilities

  • Maintaining and implementing current knowledge of developments and legal requirements regarding canines, as well as of assistance dog and client training programs;
  • Participating in educating the public about Assistance Dogs and the legal rights of people with disabilities who are partnered with them;
  • Participating in instructing clients who are in placement classes with their matched PADS dogs
  • Assisting with planning and conducting outreach events, as required; and
  • Performing other related responsibilities.


The Apprentice 1 Instructor shares work space and equipment with other employees and volunteers at PADS’ facilities. There is daily interaction, and physical contact, with puppies and dogs in training for certification–as service dogs, hearing dogs, and for canine-assisted professional intervention service.  There is occasional contact with certified dogs and clients. The working hours are usually 8 am to 4 pm with a 30 minute lunch break, Monday through Friday.   On occasion, weekend work may be required.  This job position involves many physical tasks and requires working outside every day (rain, snow, sun).

QUALIFICATIONS & requirements

  • High school graduation is required. Also essential is a combination of skills, knowledge and basic experience in: learning theory; canine behaviour, assessment, care and safety, including fundamental knowledge of canine nutrition, anatomy and physiology; and in training of canines and individuals for partnerships.
  • Basic working knowledge of disabilities, including: familiarity with terminology, medical requirements, and psychological and social factors.
  • Clear and receptive in communicating with individuals, groups and the public at large, both verbally and in writing.
  • Demonstrated ability to clicker train
  • Demonstrated capacity to work in a busy and at times, noisy work environment.
  • Demonstrated interest in learning new dog training techniques
  • Demonstrated capability in problem-solving, reasoning, and organizational skills.
  • Solid record of having engaged in positive, productive working relationships. High level of earned trust, appropriate confidentiality and sound judgment in conduct and interactions.
  • Satisfactory results from the applicable Provincial Ministry’s Criminal Record Check: both at the time of an interview for this position and throughout the duration of employment at PADS.
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs. of food products for up to 200 feet and dogs weighing 70 lbs. for up to 10 feet.
  • Efficient use of PCs; the Internet; and MS Word, Excel, and Outlook. Ability to learn new software.
  • Valid BC Driver’s License, at a minimum level of Class 5.
  • Travel to and from clients’ homes and places of work is required for team training of certified dogs and the matched clients.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule, and on weekends and weekday evenings, as needs for instruction require.

The starting wage for an apprentice level 1 is typically $15.38 per hour (with regular reviews and increases based on job performance). However, compensation is negotiable for a dog training professional commensurate with relevant dog training experience, certifications and education.

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