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Top Tier K9 Certifications

(Domestic and International)

Top Tier K9 certifications are designed to ensure that dog trainers who earn and maintain the certifications have a core capability that has been satisfactorily demonstrated to the staff of Top Tier K9 as part of our certification processes.  Franchisees (Certified Top Tier K9 Site) maintain ongoing certifications and continuing education.

A student does not have to attempt our certifications to take our classes.  Many students take our classes in order to improve their existing businesses, for professional development or simply for the personal enjoyment of training their own dogs for personal use, service or sport.  Our certifications are designed to improve our students level of learning through practical tests that the classes prepare them for and to improve our students confidence in starting and running their own dog training businesses. 


Top Tier K9 does not accept any other national or international organization's "view of the world"  Our program has been specifically designed to teach our students how to start and run their own businesses, open a Top Tier K9 Franchise, and to train dogs in a balanced way that is transferable to the dog's owner. This is a multifaceted training and certification program that creates great business people who offer dog training and people training services to others from around the globe. 

Core elements of our programs:  

Balanced dog training:  Our students learn how to apply the tools necessary to successfully train dogs whether they are offering a purely positive solution for their clients or a balanced offering utilizing a process that rewards positive behaviors and corrects negative behaviors with the least amount of corrective action necessary to stop the unwanted behaviors.  We teach the techniques and methods that actually work in training dogs and package them in a way that the owners of the dogs can continue/replicate the training they learn.

Replicable processes pet training:  The methods we teach are the same methods we use in our own dog training businesses.  We have determined the 80/20 rule as it applies to training and satisfying dogs and their owners.  We have developed a method of sales and service delivery to clients aimed at the 80/20 rule and have supported that with documents, contracts, DVD and internet support allowing our certified trainers to deliver consistent results that satisfy the typical client in their own business offerings.

Replicable processes Foundation Dog® training:  We have developed a method to imprint new working line puppies beginning at 6 weeks old and have established a program management process that ensures the proper training is completed in a way that ensures the happiness, health and progress of the puppy.  There are 4 phases of development with multi-week intervals involving gateways that test the progress of the puppy through the defined development process to assist in forecasting and exploiting the strengths and weaknesses of each puppy for development as a virus detection dog, bomb/narcotics dog (any specific odor), protection dog, sports dog, tracker, search and rescue dog and service dogs for people with severe disabilities. And all of the above, multi-purpose super dogs.  


This replicable process is taught within our Foundation Dog® Trainer Program.  Students then demonstrate their competency by imprinting and forecasting their own working line puppy within our Foundation Dog® Trainer Program (Live On-Line), and then demonstrate proficiency within select function elements related to their specific business desires in our Foundation Dog® Certification Program live on-site or through our International one-on-one internet interface.


**** Top Tier K9 was the first to ever train a dog to hunt for and indicate on the COVID-19 virus.  This is because of the processes used in the training of our Foundation Dogs®.  It only takes a couple of weeks to take a Foundation Dog® and finish it as a virus detection dog.

Replicable processes business development and project management training:  we teach our students the basics of project management including time, cost and scope management.  Within this triple constraint exists all of the common issues related to customer satisfaction.  We teach our students how to satisfy customers by applying replicable project management processes to the training of their client's dogs and to effectively communicate the scope,  each dog is a new project and the application of effective project management improves client satisfaction and business success. 

Top Tier K9 Certifications

Pet Trainer Certification (Domestic and International):  

  • Demonstrate competency in satisfying customers by effectively defining and managing scope

  • Demonstrate competency in training pets by applying a balanced approach to dog training

  • Comprehend health and nutritional requirements for dogs

  • Comprehend the triple constraint to managing projects and how to manage customer expectations

  • Comprehend how to start and effectively run your own dog training business

  • Pass an application level of learning written test on Pet training and associated business concepts.

Foundation Dog® Trainer Certification (Domestic and International)

  • Comprehend the difference between pet training and working dog training

  • Apply Top Tier K9's four phased approach to imprinting a working line puppy

  • Demonstrate competency in each functional element of working dog training

    • Advanced obedience

    • Tracking

    • Scent Detection

    • Protection

  • Comprehend how to add working dog training to a pet training business.

  • Pass an Analysis level of learning written test on working dog training and associated business concepts.

Master Service Dog Trainer Certification

  • Comprehend the rules and requirements associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act as it applies to service dogs

  • Demonstrate competency of adding medical support services to existing Top Tier K9 Foundation Dogs

  • Pass a synthesis level of learning written test on service dog training and associated business concepts.

Master Special Security Dog Trainer Certification (Domestic and International))

  • Demonstrate comprehension in the four functional areas of the Foundation Dog® training program

  • Demonstrate competency in managing the health and welfare of the selected Foundation Dog®

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the four functional areas as a team with the selected Foundation Dog®.

  • Demonstrate competency in problem solving in mission specific scenarios

  • Pass a synthesis level of learning test on all four functional areas of training (Tracking, Scent Detection, Protection and Advanced Obedience)

Master Executive/Family Protection Dog Trainer Certification

  • Demonstrate competency of adding Protection services to existing Top Tier K9 Foundation Dogs

  • Demonstrate competency in managing the health and welfare of the selected Foundation Dog®

  • Demonstrate an application level of learning in teaching clients how to maintain and integrate protection dogs.

  • Train and sell a Protection Dog to a client

  • Pass a synthesis level of learning written test on service dog training and associated business concepts.

Certified Location (U.S. Domestic)

  • A Top Tier K9 Franchise (

  • Maintains annual continuation training based on specific level of certification (Pet, Working Dog, Service Dog, Safe Catch Decoy) as required by Top Tier K9

  • Maintains site, programs, and employees as outlined by Top Tier K9 Franchising requirements


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