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Apprenticeship Programme

Welcome to Call Of The Canine Apprenticeship Program! Developed and delivered under the tutelage of Cheryl Smith, the programme is designed to prepare you for a several fulfilling career options working with ‘humankind’s best friend’. The revised programme includes a Behavioural Component to more fully and effectively work in this exciting and expanding discipline. Her philosophy, outlined below is the foundation for the ethos of this programme.

"Animals have always been an integral part of my life. They have brought me joy by sharing their lives and wisdom and grief when they left all too soon. They loved me with a full heart and helped me in my journey to become a better human.

I believe our animals choose us as much as we choose them. Each one has a lesson to teach. They also have their ‘journey’ to realize their purpose and potential. Every time we help them resolve an obstacle in fulfilling that purpose, we resolve one of our own. It creates a bond that cannot be duplicated and in some ways is stronger than most bonds we have with our fellow humans. When you look deeply into an animal’s eyes and you ‘connect’, it changes you forever in ways you cannot describe.

A strong relationship is built on understanding and mutual respect for each other. I look forward to using my unique skills in helping every owner and their dog experience that special bond. To use the words of Chief Seattle … ‘For what is man without the beasts. If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected.’ Let us be connected."

Cheryl Smith

Goals of the Apprenticeship Programme

  1. To help the Apprentice understand the underlying principles of Learning Theory and other progressive techniques relating to the understanding of canine cognitive abilities.
  2. To demonstrate how to apply those principles and techniques effectively in a wide variety of situations.
  3. To enhance the Apprentices observation skills of both human and canine clients.
  4. To facilitate the development and utilization of effective interpersonal and communication skills to deliver appropriate information to clients in a compassionate manner.
  5. To facilitate the development of successful problem resolution skills that enhance the relationship between the dog and its owner.
  6. To instil the importance of being a supportive member of a team of instructors committed to continuous education that will enhance our understanding and appreciation of the unique relationship between humans and our canine companions.

Course Requirements

  • The course is designed for maximum flexibility for Apprentices who may have work or family constraints. Assignments and class observations will be scheduled accordingly. However it does require regular attendance to feedback meetings and adherence to assignment deadlines is mandatory. A candidate who misses more than 10 percent of the activities/assignments in any one module without cause may be terminated from the program without refund of monies pertaining to the module.
  • The Apprentice may repeat the module at an additional cost at the discretion of Call Of The Canine.
  • The programme is organized in three modules over a one-year period: The cost per module is $899.00 + HST and would be due at the start of each module.
  • Progression to the next module is dependant on successful completion of the previous module.
  • Successful completion of each module, requires a minimum assigned grade of 70% on assignments, written, oral or practical exams
  • Unsuccessful written, oral or practical exams may be repeated for an additional fee of $100.00 to compensate for staff time and allocation of training centre space for re-examination.
  • Applicants will be interviewed by the Programme Director or designated staff for suitability prior to acceptance in the programme.
  • Upon successful completion of the three modules, the graduate will be assigned to teach Puppy programmes and Life Skills Levels 1or 2 under the supervision of a senior instructor for a further 60 hours.
  • The graduate may conduct Behaviour Consultations as assigned or supervised by Cheryl Smith.
  • An Apprentice may be immediately removed from the programme for behaviour that is contrary to the philosophy and/or policies and procedures of Call Of The Canine. There will be no refund for a student that is removed for such behaviour.

Course Modules

  • Module 1

    Theory (Months 1 – 4)

    During this module, students will research and study a variety of philosophies, techniques in the field of canine cognition and how they are applied. This will involve the reading of assigned books and or research papers, as well as observing assigned classes at Call Of The Canine or Ferghus & Company. Structured class assignments will help develop your observation skills and ability to apply appropriate techniques for a variety of situations. Follow up discussions at regular feedback sessions will provide opportunity to share reflections of those behaviours observed and alternative solutions or training techniques. There will be a written exam at the completion of this module and successful completion is required to participate in Module 2 - the behaviour component of the programme. The Apprentice will receive a timely notification of the results of the written exam and individual discussion of those results.

  • Module 2

    Behaviour Component (Months 5 - 8)

    Many dogs are unnecessarily euthanized for ‘behaviour’ issues that have been unintentionally reinforced, inappropriately treated or misdiagnosed. This module will begin with identifying common behaviour issues and solutions. ‘Out of the box’ thinking and healthy respectful debate is encouraged throughout this module. The module will progress to more complex issues involving identifying defensive and offensive aggression and appropriate solutions that are holistic in approach. Solutions should enhance the relationship between the dog and owner and allow for realistic and successful goal setting. There will be reading materials assigned to support the techniques and promote discussion. There will be a written exam at the completion of this module and successful completion is required to participate in Module 3 - the Instructional component of the programme. The Apprentice will receive a timely notification of the results of the written exam and individual discussion of those results.

  • Module 3

    Instructional Training and Classroom Management (Months 9 – 12)

    This module focuses on developing effective teaching skills and individual styles of delivery. This will involve developing a three-week instructional guide for teaching an assigned topic by breaking it down to it’s essential components, preparing homework sheet/s for the assigned topic and then delivering the material to fellow classmates and instructors for critique. Assignments will also include creating and delivering a ‘Drill’ to reinforce a selected skill in a fun and effective way. To complete this module, the student will successfully present a prescribed set of materials that are the foundation of Call Of The Canine’s training techniques for the Life Skills 1 or Start ‘Em Right programme. The presentation will be done for a panel of three senior instructors. The Apprentice will receive a timely notification of the results of the presentation and individual discussion of those results.