Specialized Training

The world of potential for activities that dog owners can pursue with their dog is expansive. Whether you dream of doing therapy dog work in hospitals, aspire to compete in agility or any other number of competition events or simply want to do more with the dog in your home, our specialized training programs will help you achieve your goals. 

When we look at the dog in our home, many of us see the adoring pet who enjoys napping photogenically on the couch. Did you know, however, that nearly every dog breed was developed to perform a specific job? Until recently, dogs were used for a variety of purposes to help people accomplish tasks that they could not do on their own. Dogs spent most of their days actively working in this role, and their puppies were selected because they exhibited characteristics which would enable them to excel at their work.

Although most dogs are not roaming pastures herding sheep, guarding farms, pulling cargo or flushing birds anymore, centuries of selective breeding has maintained their drive to work. When given the opportunity to engage in what they are meant to do, dogs not only thrive physically, psychologically and emotionally, but they demonstrate remarkable capabilities to their handler. 

Our Specialized Training Programs

Learn more about our specialized training programs below.

AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC)

Our AKC CGC program prepares dogs to take their AKC Canine Good Citizen test. The AKC CGC is a nationally recognized certification signifying that your dog is capable of demonstrating a high standard of civility and politeness in public. 

This certification is focused primarily on responsible ownership, socialization and obedience. Having a dog who is AKC CGC certified is especially beneficial for individuals interested in pursuing therapy dog work, having an ESA, or for college students and renters planning to have their dog live with them in their chosen accommodation. 

This course includes preparation for all tasks included in the AKC CGC evaluation including helping dogs remain calm and obedient in the presence of new dogs and people. All behaviors taught are generalized in at least three environments.

Competition Training (Varies)

We offer comprehensive, specialized training for several dog sports. If you are new to your chosen sport, our program will begin with foundational training and systematically increase in complexity to prepare you for the level at which you will be competing. If your dog already possesses experience in your chosen sport or has previously competed, an evaluation and consultation will be necessary to discuss your goals, determine your dog’s current ability level and create an effective training and conditioning strategy. We offer:

  • AKC and NACSW Scent Work (from Novice to Detective class)
  • Rally Obedience (from Novice to Excellent)
  • Foundational Protection Sport 
  • Agility 
  • AKC Trick Dog
  • Tracking

Therapy Dog Evaluations and Training (8 Weeks)

Therapy Dog work is incredibly rewarding, and it has the potential to make a significant positive impact on one’s community. Therapy dogs can calm stress, release positive neurotransmitters in people and even help speed physical healing. Therapy dogs often work in schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities and trauma centers. 

If you are considering pursuing therapy dog work with your dog, we offer suitability assessments and training programs which will fully prepare you and your dog for service in this valuable work. Our programs are structured to provide you with plenty of experience training in the environments you plan to work, in addition to training in a variety of other public locations.

Learn more about our other Pet Dog Training Programs.

Tricks and Tasks (6 Weeks)

Our Tricks and Tasks program begins by teaching you the fundamentals of marker training and secondary reinforcers. Once you master timing and the process of building more complex behaviors, we will move on to teach your dog a variety of tricks and tasks. There is flexibility regarding the behaviors that your dog can learn in this program, but some more common cues include: 

  • Specific item retrievals
  • Back up or handstand
  • Spin or roll over
  • Ring a bell
  • Open a cabinet
  • Shake
  • Jumps
  • Sit pretty
  • Bow
  • Push a ball
  • Figure eight around the legs
  • Target and associated tasks
  • Weave
  • … The options are limitless!

Enrichment Program (4 Weeks)

Enrichment is necessary for the psychological wellbeing of any captive species, including domestic dogs. If you are looking for a way to keep your dog busy while you work or relax, or if you want to implement a strategy which will help minimize undesirable boredom related behaviors, then this is the course for you! 

Our Enrichment Program covers a variety of cognitive and environmental enrichment activity ideas, including an introduction to dog puzzles, teaching the treat hiding game, boredom buster activities and fun training exercises.

Kids and K9s (6 Weeks)

Our Kids and K9s program was developed especially to teach children how to safely and effectively interact with dogs. It focuses on teaching children a multitude of relevant skills in a way that is fun and engaging. Kids and K9s teaches children how to recognize when their dog is happy or unhappy with an interaction, and how to correctly respond when a dog is becoming too energetic towards them. It also teaches basic fundamental dog training skills that they can implement with their own dog, in addition to how to understand basic dog body language. 

This program also teaches children how to safely interact with new dogs, how to best approach an unfamiliar dog, and how to recognize dog warning signals. Kids and K9s covers several obedience commands including: sit, down, stay, leash /walking and recall. This program is offered for individuals and small groups.

At Synapse Canine, we have the education and experience to bring out the best in your dog.

If you have dog training goals, we want to help you achieve them!

What are the benefits of specialized training?

Specialized training in itself is incredibly broad. Sports have been developed to help engage every type of breed group, in addition to a number of other activities that owners and their dogs can become involved in. Pursuing specialized training avenues boasts a number of unique benefits, some of which include:

Specialized training enables dogs to participate in activities that they are bred to do.

Whether it’s scent work, herding, tracking, hunt trials, protection sport, bikejoring, or any other number of sports designed to replicate dogs’ original jobs, there are many ways to give your dog an outlet for their natural drives. Many times, providing a productive outlet for these natural behaviors helps prevent them from occurring in inappropriate contexts.


Specialized training gives high energy dogs a job.

Although there are plenty of dogs who seem content with their daily walk, training session and maybe a round or two of fetch, certain dogs require a much higher level of mental and physical stimulation. Many high energy working breeds can overwhelm owners with their pacing, destructive habits, high prey drives and incessant need to occupy theirselves by tossing toys at their owners. 

By giving these dogs a productive outlet for their physical and psychological energy needs, many owners develop a strong appreciation for the capabilities of their dog, while also discovering that there are indeed ways to help their dog feel fulfilled. Finally, providing these dogs with a “job” also helps lessen annoying or out of control behaviors in the home or during social outings.

Specialized training can rapidly build the bond between a dog and their handler.

The historical relationship between humans and dogs was always a partnership. These days, many dogs exist as accessories to human life. Although they help provide unconditional love and emotional support for their families, the partnership aspect has all but disappeared in many pet dog homes. Getting involved in specialized training with your dog can rapidly develop the type of relationship that many pet dogs will never have the opportunity to experience. Dogs once again become partners – enabling them to work with their handler to accomplish a specific goal. Working together builds a next-level bond that often brings out the best in both a dog and their handler.

It can reduce or eliminate behavioral issues.

A surprising number of behavioral malfunction arises when dogs do not have appropriate outlets for their natural motivators and tendencies. When dogs are bored, they tend to give themselves a “job.” Typically the job they choose is not something that their human companions appreciate. Foraging around the house for tissues and pencils, barking chaotically at anything that moves past the front door, barrier frustration related behaviors, digging holes in the back yard and nipping at the ankles of children are all examples of this. By providing dogs with a job we actually want them to do can help mediate boredom, provide context for behaviors, and reduce or eliminate the need to participate in these unwanted habits.

It provides cognitive and environmental enrichment.

Enrichment isn’t just a trendy buzzword. It is an incredibly valuable tool that should be included in every dog’s daily life. Cognitive enrichment includes activities that make dogs think, while environmental enrichment includes activities that dogs gain value from in their environments. Many times, enrichment activities allow dogs to participate in species appropriate behaviors without damaging property or being behaviorally detrimental. With some knowledge and creativity, enrichment is straightforward to add into even the busiest of lives – and a little bit can go a long way!

Specialized training enables humans to witness their dog’s incredible capabilities.

Dogs can follow a human trail for miles, locate odor buried several feet under the ground, control enormous groups of animals and have been known to accomplish some pretty incredible physical feats. Unfortunately, many pet dog owners never get to witness the incredible natural capabilities of their dog. When owners get the chance to watch their dog’s natural abilities develop into something awe inspiring, they are often surprised. As the appreciation for one’s dog goes up, the quality of the relationship generally does too.

Specialized training helps keep dogs physically and psychologically healthy.

Mental and physical exercise has many of the same benefits for dogs that it does for people. Not only does it allow dogs to lead a more fulfilled and purposeful life, but it often allows them to move around in ways that are physically beneficial and can increase longevity.

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Schedule your specialized training with Synapse Canine today.

If you are looking to do more with your dog, consider our specialized training programs. These programs will provide the important supplemental skills required to develop a solid foundation for your chosen discipline. 

Contact us today to ask about our programs or to book an appointment.