ELISTA Education - Education & Training in Animal Assistance & Therapy

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As an advanced progression course, participants of the specialised Assistance Dog Training course must have completed a relevant course with a reasonable level of practical skills and complementing theoretical knowledge in positive reinforcement based dog training. As an advanced ‘combined’ course, the programme encompasses the core requirements in knowledge of the ELISTA Education Canine Behaviour and Training Foundation Course.

Course Overview:

The Assistance Dog Training course allows for Learners to explore the specialised training used to train dogs to assist people with physical and sensory disabilities.

This course is accredited by the Institute of Animal Care Education.

Course Content:

The course is divided into five home study modules and two practical based modules, these are entitled as follows and include:

  • Canine Behaviour and Training Review (home study for advanced combined participants)
  • Dogs as Assistants (home study)
    Introduction to the world of Assistance Dogs, Primary roles of Assistance Dogs, Theory relating to selection.
  • Dog Selection and Assessment (practical based)
    Designing Assessment Procedures, Assessing Puppies and Older Dogs, Canine Communication.
  • Development, Training and Learning (home study)
    Socialisation, Early Training, Preparation and Planning, Training Theory, Canine Learning, Canine Husbandry and Kennel Management.
  • Disability Awareness (home study)
    Needs of the Client, Understanding Dog Personality Traits and Temperament, Matching Dog to Client.
  • Task and Mobility Training (practical based)
    Training Assistance Dog Tasks, Establishing Training Patterns, Understanding Training, Evaluating Training Performance.
  • Assistance Dogs as a Business and Service (home study)
    Skills and Knowledge required to run and offer an effective service in Assistance Dog Training.

Course Delivery:

The course is delivered primarily as a home study course, 2 day workshop style weekends and an assessment day (maximum 5 days). Assessments are continuous written and practical. Course commences with the first of five home study modules the week of the 5th October 2020. Practical dates run from November to July. Please contact us for provisional dates.

As there are limited job opportunities in this sector in Ireland, this course is not designed with that as the specific intention, instead the course is designed to explore and encourage all potential avenues of using dogs to assist people.

Course Fee:

Total course fee for ELISTA Education Canine Behaviour and Training graduates making progression within 2 years is €500 (no early bird discount applicable). For applicants who wish to register for the course having completed an equivalent course the fee is €900 (€750 with ‘early bird’ offer for applicants registering before 1st June 2020).


There are 12 places available on the Assistance Dog Training Course.

Applicants should complete the MAP20 Application Form before 1st June 2020 to receive ‘early bird’ registration fee discount or otherwise before 31st July 2020. Applicants who have completed an equivalent course, (for example the QQI/FETAC Level 6 Canine Obedience Training Course) with a different provider, should fill out all sections (including section C) on the MAP20 Application Form available to download below.


Assistance Dog Training Course Registration Form

( Assistance Dog Training Course Registration Form PDF Download, 293kb)