Certification Courses

We offer a variety of certifications depending on your interest level, time commitment, budget and potential to excel. All courses require application and acceptance into the program for both handler and dog, if applicable. Please contact us for course related inquires.

Shelter Dog to Service Dog (SD2)TM Service Dog-Handler Team

Are you all-in and want to make a career out of becoming a service dog handler? If so, you will want to apply for our "SD2" Program.

The SD2 Course runs annually and is a minimum year-long commitment.

Within our "SD2" Certification, you have the ability to focus on a specific area of training, Animal Adaptive Therapy or Courtroom Cortisol Canines. See below for more information!

Personal Service Dog (PSD) Training Certification

Do you have a special challenge and think your dog has what it takes to become YOUR personal service dog?  Or are you interested in training a Merlin's KIDS service dog for a potential recipient?  If so, please apply! Our Personal Service Dog Training Certification Course is offered twice a year. Handler and dog must be evaluated / accepted into the program. If you do not already have a dog, please contact us first!

Animal Adaptive Therapy
Behavioral Intervention and Therapeutic Facilitation with an Institutional Service Dog

Pre-K - 12+

*All services are customized to the specific needs of EACH individual student.

 In the Merlin’s Kids™ Animal Adaptive Therapy™ Program, the institutional service dog is trained for endless possibilities adapting to and assisting in therapies and Interventions in all clinical and emotional situations at school. Since each dog’s signals vary slightly when detecting chemical and energy changes, it is imperative that the certified handler knows his or her dog’s personality traits and introduces them to a variety of situations to train on their dog’s signals. Handlers must also must be able to evaluate what needs to be, and is able to be developed for their designated facility.

It is required that a handler for an institutional service dog obtains a certification in Natural Canine Behavior Rehabilitation™ in order to fully understand canine behavior and what dogs are communicating to humans.  The dog/human team is capable of phenomenal accomplishments when the handler is trained to correctly interpret their canine partner’s signals.

These dogs are skilled at maintaining a calm manner in all situations. The dog is adaptable and able to interact with a variety of people, including those with physical and/or emotional disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes the use of appropriately-certified animals to serve students with autism and psychiatric mood disorders. Therapy Dogs are also used in educational settings to assist students in the areas of social development, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and academics. In order for an individual to fully benefit from activities utilizing the dog’s skills, it is essential that these activities be incorporated as a part of the overall therapy program designed for the student. Although therapy tasks can (and will) be customized to meet the needs of the specific students, the benefits of “typical” tasks in an educational setting include:

Improved social skills development.

By learning positive ways to interact with a dog, students develop the skills to help them interact with people.

 Reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression.

Research studies have shown that students display noticeable improvement in mood with the involvement of dogs during therapy.

 Student motivation.

By interacting with a facility dog, student involvement increases. The students engage in activities that are fun, comforting and reinforcing. The dog offers unconditional love and is nonjudgmental, which reduces feelings of anxiety or loneliness.

 Language development.

Animal Adaptive Therapy promote social interaction. Increased language is measurable with students who have difficulty with expressive language. Enhanced feelings of safety and well-being. A facility dog offers a friendly and pleasant encounter during the school day.

 If you would like to implement Animal Adaptive TherapyTM into your institution and for a comprehensive list of unique services offered, please contact us.

 If you would like to become a certified Natural Canine Behavior RehabilitationTM, Therpeautic FacilitationTM, and Behavioral Intervention SpecialistTM, apply here.

Courtroom Cortisol Canines (C3)TM

Courtroom Cortisol Canines (C3) are trained to assist victims of violence and abuse as they testify in court against their abuser. They do more than just providing a friendly fuzzy face.

 Our "C3" dogs are trained to detect high cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress and the "fight or flight" response.

 All of our dogs are trained with a specific handler, who picks up on a special subtle signal.  This signal tells that the witness about to be stressed and can reduce severity or prevent a potential anxiety attack.

 Our dogs are trained on "deep pressure," a calming technique that helps relax the body and mind.

 The judge can grant a recess and allow the witness time and space to compose themselves.

 The dog also makes the witness feel safe, protected, and loved, building confidence to stand up against their abuser.

Who benefits from these services?

  • Witnesses in the courtroom who have to testify, recalling their trauma, potentially in front of their abuser.

  • Lawyers, judges, and jury also benefit because they can better understand the victim’s true emotions. Dogs do not lie or judge. They are truly impartial.

Natural Canine Behavior RehabilitationTM


Want to help change the lives of dogs with behavioral issues?

We offer a distance learning certification in Natural Canine Behavior Rehabilitation(TM) so you can become a canine behavior consultant for privately owned pets, shelter animals, rescues, and more!

There is a hands-on practical component that must be scheduled to achieve certification.