Build a Battle Buddy Certification

The Build a Battle Buddy certification will be held in Madison Fl from January 23 - February 4, 2022. This is the capstone and test of a 30 week program that trained disabled veterans and first responders how to train their own service dogs. This Build a Battle Buddy class was created through the collaboration and sponsorship of Forgotten Coast K9, a 501 C(3) charity and Top Tier K9, rated as one of the top dog trainer schools in the country. The class began in July of 2021.

Forgotten Coast K9 finds the disabled veterans and first responders for the program through an application process and through collaboration with other charities dedicated to similar causes. Forgotten Coast K9 ( then raises approximately 50% of the necessary funding to launch a class, buy working line puppies, and provide ongoing support, and "one on one" mentoring during the certification process.

Top Tier K9 provides the instruction, working line puppies, online classes and facilities for certification through their world class Academy for Dog Trainers ( and matches the charitable contributions made through in kind services. Students learn how to effectively train working line puppies through Top Tier K9's Foundation Dog® trainer program, and they learn to finish their Foundation Dogs® as service dogs through the Top Tier K9 masters program.

The disabled veterans and first responders learn how to train puppies to track, find specific odor, perform advanced (off leash) obedience functions and to protect their selves, their families and their property. The puppies in the current class were provided by K9 Rocket and K9 Scope, both proven working dogs of the Top Tier K9 domain provided through Top Tier K9's "Litters on the Ground" program. The students began training the puppies at approximately 8 weeks old and received their puppies at week 10 of training. This allowed the students to gain a comprehension level of learning prior to obtaining their puppies (see Bloom's Cognitive Taxonomy).

Each week the students met online as part of a Foundation Dog® trainer class. Thi