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The a la carte (each available for separate purchase) service dog trainer courses in Tier 3 include abbreviated lessons from the BHSDT Certificate Program (Tier 1). The lessons are altered – there are no homework assignments, training challenges or critiques, nor opportunities for discussion as exist in Tier 1.  

Instructors may answer brief, emailed questions about course content. 

Included with the courses are abundant links to articles and other materials for self-study.  There are quizzes required for those seeking CEUs. 

These a la carte service dog trainer courses are great for owner trainers wanting to expand their knowledge of service dog selection, essential service dog laws, training techniques, and other important topics in the service dog field.    

Maera, a black and white Alaskan Klee Kai is wearing a pink service dog harness and black socks, is pictured lying down in a hospital room
Luca, a German Shepherd service dog is pictured lying down under his handler's legs on an airplane.
Peek, a black and white Papillon service dog, is pulling a sock off of a person seated in front of him.

The a la carte lessons are also excellent for Professional Service Dog Trainers and Coaches wanting to supplement their existing knowledge of key areas in the service dog field while earning CEUs.


Please note: Without instructor input, practical application and interactive critiques of the students’ acquired knowledge, these lessons do not qualify students to train service dogs for clients with disabilities.  


NOTE: Prices/Costs for the Tier 3 lessons vary based on the number and length of included lectures, as well as the depth and breadth of the reading materials and other resources offered with each lesson. 

No Prerequisites or Application are required for the BHSDT Tier 3 Courses! 

To receive CEUs, students must request them at the time of registration, and take a quiz upon completion of the course.


  • Access to lectures and other course materials developed by Barbara Handelman for the three Tiers of this comprehensive Service Dog trainers’ program.

  • Access to Collected References and Resources which include research studies; blog entries; lectures and videos available online; as well as published and unpublished papers by renowned individuals in the service animal industry

Tier 3: 
Barbara Handelman Service Dog Courses For Everyone

Tier 3 Tuition and CEUs
Tier 3
BHSDT Tier 3 Course Offerings and Descriptions

Please note: all courses are hosted by e-Training for Dogs. You must purchase the course through e-Training for Dogs. The buttons next to each course description below will direct you back to the e-Training for Dogs website shopping cart.

Laws Related to Service Dogs



Understanding the laws and regulations applicable to Service Dogs is essential for all service dog trainers and handlers.  Reading, understanding, and regularly reviewing these laws, policies and regulations is essential for any professional in the field of training service animals and ESAs.  


The links provided here for your study relate to the laws applicable to service dogs in the USA.  If you plan to also handle or train service dogs in another country, you will need to research that country’s laws and policies, and familiarize yourself with those laws.





Ethics and Etiquette for Service Dogs and Their Handlers

COST: $55 USD 



This lesson will cover standards for a service dog’s behavior when working in public. Disabled handlers have ethical responsibilities to uphold the standards for the sake of their dog’s safety and welfare. They must also consider the impact of poor behavior on the businesses the dogs enter; and recognize that a poorly behaved service dog, in public, may make other service dog partners less welcome.



What is a Service Dog Task?



A task is a chain of behaviors or skills performed in response to verbal, hand signal and/or contextual cues. Students will become familiar with a range of tasks they might train a dog to perform. 

Students will discover how tasks are different from the trainer’s perspective and the dog’s perspective. 

The component behaviors can be configured and reconfigured to comprise many different tasks. 

Contextual cues often vary but the dog must have sufficient cognitive plasticity to recognize similar contexts and perform the same set of skills in multiple situations. 

Students will learn that any task may be broken down into its component parts, and then the parts may be configured and reconfigured to create new tasks.




Selecting Service Dog Candidates

COST: $225 USD



This course is an introduction to traditional temperament evaluations that have been modified by two highly experienced temperament evaluators who are also service dog trainers and animal behaviorists.  

Students will be exposed to protocols for necessary evaluation components, how to set up an evaluation session with a litter of puppies, or a single older dog, and how to rate the information gathered to determine the appropriateness of the puppy or dog evaluated to become a service dog in training.

  • This course also includes access to the two-hour video-on-demand “Selecting Canine Candidates for Assistance Dogs and other Working Careers.” CEUs available after quiz completion.   



Canine Cognition and Intelligent Disobedience




This lesson is based on a webinar given by Barbara Handelman and Ken McCort. Together, they discuss whether “Intelligent Disobedience” is a myth or a reality in the daily activities of service dogs working for people with a wide range of disabilities. During this lesson, Barbara discusses how “intelligent disobedience” is defined and understood by service dog trainers.  

She debunks many myths, and explains how dogs learn a hierarchy of cues, and respond to them when multiple cues are present.  Most importantly, she discusses the types of environmental cues that dogs recognize and follow, despite having been given a contradictory verbal directive. 

Ken McCort discusses how intentionality plays out in a dog’s response to verbal cues in the presence of contradictory environmental cues. He guides students through a basic understanding of a dog’s “Theory of Mind” or “Consciousness” – the ability to perceive himself in relation to his surroundings and the canine’s capacity for intentionality. 




Stress in Service Dogs




This course begins with a review of canine stress signals. Stress, whether mental or physical, is the most common cause of dogs being dropped from service dog candidacy and early retirement from service dog careers. Stress should be one criterion for eliminating dogs from candidacy if apparent during temperament evaluations; or if stress emerges later as the dog progresses through training. 


A dog cannot be an effective helper unless they are healthy in mind and body.  The ethical use of service dogs demands attentiveness to the health and well-being of the dogs throughout the dogs’ lifetimes. Therefore, this course begins with an overview of stress in dogs which needs to remain a core focus throughout the dogs’ development, training, and working career.  A service dog’s stress levels should be regularly assessed throughout his working life.




Video Training Journal: The First Year of a Service Dog Puppy-Candidate’s Life

COST: $165 USD


In this chronological video journal, students see many of the “formal” training sessions from Puppy Pan’s first year of life.  

The videos are narrated throughout with explanations of the training documented. Errorless learning was always the aim of training – frustration was minimized and playful interaction was emphasized.  

Training sessions were short and a playful time with a purposeful goal.  This journal provides a rare opportunity to see how learning occurs sequentially, in small, incremental steps, with lots of repetition, and equal opportunities for positive reinforcement.

Training sessions progress from basic targeting behaviors to application of targeting into complex chained behaviors that ultimately become service dog tasks.  

Students will watch how the foundation behaviors are built, how the 4 D’s (Distraction, Duration, Distance, and Difficulty) are applied to strengthen the puppy’s learning, and how chained behaviors are built and reconfigured to become a variety of service dog tasks. 

The behaviors taught include the multi-step process of building a working retrieve.

By watching one puppy develop through training and maturation, over the course of a year, students will see how an experienced trainer uses treat delivery and rate of reinforcement to strengthen behaviors.  

Students will also see how errorless learning decreases frustration, and allows training to become an interactive and creative game for the trainer and puppy to play together.



Socialization, Public Access Training, and Public Access Challenges



Many people confuse socialization with socializing.  Socializing with an occasional visiting dog in the pup’s home, or local environment is not enough.  Taking a young puppy to a dog park, turning it loose to be approached by bullying dogs, and pushy puppies – would qualify as socializing, not socialization.  This Lesson introduces the concept of socialization; when it should begin; and how it continues throughout the life-time of a working service dog.


Public access challenges are an inevitable element of life with a service dog. Every service dog trainer needs to be aware of how, when, where, and why access challenges happen; how they might be diffused; and how they can quickly become contentious, highly charged, even threatening to the handler and the dog.




Why Clicker Training for Service Dogs?



Clicker training is a proven, successful method for training service dogs of all types.  Clicker training is based on the science of Learning Theory.  

Students will read “Why Clicker Training for Service Dogs”, by Debi Davis and Barbara Handelman, in order to gain understanding of how and why clicker training is a preferred method for training service dogs.  

There is an extensive reading list for this class, each of the articles and blog posts illustrate how clicker training is utilized in the training of service animal foundation skills and tasks. 




Clicker Train Your Own Assistance Dog

COST: $175 USD


There is no single cloak to be woven from the many threads in this “Clicker Train Your Own Assistance Dog” course. It does not focus on demonstrating completed or polished tasks. Rather, the focus is on the ingredients – the behaviors the dog must know in order for trainers to construct tasks, lots of tasks. 

Assistance dogs serve individuals with such diverse disabilities that no single educational tool could encompass all the steps for creating finished assistance dog tasks – to serve the full range of disabilities. 

Specific tasks often need careful tailoring to individual teams, and differ with variables like the relative size of the dog to the handler.

This is a four-part series of videos providing 4-hours of training demonstrations to watch.  There are verbatim scripts that come with the VOD (Videos On Demand).  The scripts allow those who are deaf or hard of hearing to read all spoken narration that accompanies the training demonstrations.

Access: Once you purchase the Clicker Train Your Own Assistance Dog modules, you can begin watching the videos-on-demand immediately.  If you would like open-ended access to this video-on-demand series, you may purchase that option at any time, for an additional $25.




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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