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Mare, a yellow Labrador retriever, is guiding a woman over a curb.
Garou, a Belgian Malinois puppy and service dog prospect, is wearing an orange vest. A young child wearing a camo shirt and red sunglasses is feeding Garou cheese from a can.



  • Flexible learning opportunities, accommodating the specific interests of individual students

  • Contact with the Instructor-Team: Barbara Handelman, Christina de Juan, Martha Hoffman

  • Upon completion of Phase 1 and Phase 2, students will receive a Certificate of Achievement. 

  • Upon completion of the full Standard course (Phases 1-3), students will receive a Certificate of Completion suitable for framing. The Certificate delineates the student’s required accomplishments. If a student completes Phase 4, the Certificate will be “with Honors.”

Click HERE to read more about Tier 1 Phases 1 - 4 Course Expectations.

Click HERE for an outline of the Tier 1 Phases 1 - 4 Course Syllabus Outline.

Tier 1:
For Experienced Professional Pet Dog Trainers - NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Tier 1 is a comprehensive, self-paced course, composed of four Phases. It is an intensive course, with lectures, related reading assignments, quizzes, writing assignments and short training projects. Phases 1 - 3 comprise the Standard Tier 1 BHSDT course. Students will receive a Certificate of Achievement for each individual Phase accomplished and a Certificate of Completion for the Standard Three-Phase Course. Phase 4, with its multi-stage task training challenge, is optional.  Students who complete all four Phases receive a Certificate of Achievement with Honors. 


You are assured access to and interaction with your instructor-team throughout each of the Phases. There will be monthly, online, live group meetings with your instructor-team and fellow students. You will receive written critiques of your projects. Brief emails related to curriculum questions will also receive responses.

Tier 1 is for experienced professional pet dog trainers who want to become service dog trainers. Professional pet dog trainers need to apply to take this course and meet criteria for acceptance per the application process. The completion of Phases 1 - 3 will prepare you to help owner-trainers select and train their own service dogs. The focus is on handlers and their dogs, not training theory or business practices. The Standard and Honors Tier 1 BHSDT courses will provide knowledge essential for developing a service dog training program. The courses will also prepare students who wish to train for established programs.

Students must complete assigned readings, projects, and quizzes in each Phase prior to moving forward into the next Phase. All Tier 1 students who have not previously taken the Understanding Canine Behavior (UCB) course, must do so to fulfill the Standard BHSDT requirements (Phases 1-3). Students may register to take the auditors' version of the UCB course.


IAABC – 25 for completion of Phases 1 - 4

CCPDT – 21 for completion of Phases 1 - 4
NADOI – Approved for completion of Phases 1 - 4
PPAB/PPG – 25 for completion of Phases 1 - 4

CEUs also available for each Phase completed individually: TBD.

Tier 1
BHSDT Website Banner - Left to Right - Black and white Papillon Service Dog assists woman in wheelchair to remove a yellow jacket; large white service dog pushes a handicap accessible door button with woman standing behind; black and white Papillon service dog retrieves a banana; German Shepherd service dog retrieves a debit card from an ATM.
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