Apprentice Assistance Dog Trainer


Dogs for the Disabled is a National Registered Charity, located in Co. Cork, set up in 2007 to provide Assistance Dogs free of charge, to children and adults living with physical disabilities. We do not overlap services with other organisations and provide a unique service across Ireland.

We are driven by our belief in a better world for our clients, a world where they are active members of society and not limited by their disability and we do this through the provision of our multi-talented assistance dogs. The feeling of not always having to ask for help for simple everyday tasks is empowering, developing confidence and allows for the persons true gifts to shine through. The dogs are specially bred and trained to perform tasks such as opening/closing doors, retrieving dropped items, assisting with daily chores, sending for help and assisting children with walking difficulties to walk.

Position Summary 

Position Title:

Apprentice Dog Trainer (2 year training programme)

Position Type:

Full time (35 hours)

(9am – 5pm) hour for lunch – please note that these hours may be adjusted depending on the needs of the charity.

This position will require working occasional weekends, holidays, and being open to working additional shifts on an as needed basis.


  • Full Clean Driving Licence
  • Some Dogs Handling Experience
  • Cork based
  • Prepared to travel
  • Computer skills
  • Good at writing reports
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Physically fit and in good health

Dog Training and welfare

  • Train and manage a six dog pack, in basic obedience and loose lead work to advanced custom skills specific to clients’ needs.
  • Adhere to training plan and documentation of training hours, data and evaluations for each dog in training in accordance to Assistance Dogs International Standards.
  • Provide weekly updates/reports on each dog’s progress. • Complete evaluations of all dogs in training.
  • Have ability to bond and connect with the dog so to enable the dog to learn at its own pace and achieve its full potential.
  • Engage with all aspects of puppy development and training
  • Be able to assist puppy socialisers and develop training plans for them to follow.
  • Feed, groom and maintain welfare of training dogs.
  • Maintain a clean and hygiene environment for the dogs while at rest.
  • Adhere to all set policies and procedures in operation within the charity.
  • As dog training is an ever developing skill, it is important to be able to be flexible and open minded.
  • Assist with behavioural evaluations as needed.
  • Drive company vehicle to transport dogs or other needs of the Organisation.

Work Environment

This job operates in dog kennels and surrounding areas.  The location is a non-smoking environment. Every effort is made to ensure calmness and quietness within this environment, to reduce stress in the dogs.

Physical Demands

This job is physically demanding and requires the applicant to be physically fit and able bodied, as the dogs are young and full of life and often very strong on the lead at the commencement of training. Confidence is also an important factor in successfully managing a pack of training dogs. The job involves a lot of time on your feet and huge amounts of walking.  At times it is a very sociable position however the person must be able to work alone for long stretches of time to develop the dog’s individual skills.

The employee must be able to assist with dog food deliveries and assist where required around the office during busy periods. The employee will work in proximity to cleaning agents and disinfectants and must be able to follow instructions for the use and storage of these chemicals.

Work occasionally requires more than 35 hours per week to perform the essential duties of the position; may require irregular hours to accommodate training programmes or unforeseen dog care demands outside of regular hours.  During work, the employee is expected to be physically present at the kennels when not on an outing with a dog in training.  Employee must be able to drive a company vehicle.


Daily travel for dogs training and assessment is required. National travel will also be required with occasional overnight stays. European travel is also likely for further dog training experience.

Required Education and Experience  

  • Leaving Cert
  • Must not be afraid of hard work.
  • Some experience in basic obedience dog training using positive reinforcement.

Required Skills and Competencies

Dog Interaction and Training Skills:

  • Must have an affinity for dogs.
  • Must be able to learn new dog training techniques and consistently implement training techniques.
  • Must be able to work in a fast paced environment.
  • Must be able to work cooperatively in a team environment.
  • Must be able to stay focused despite numerous distractions and multiple tasks.

Language and Communication Skills:

  • Ability to communicate effectively with peers, management, clients, volunteers and the general public.
  • Approaches others in a tactful manner; reacts well under pressure; treats others with respect and consideration regardless of their status or position; accepts responsibility for own actions; follows through on commitments.
  • Interpersonal skills necessary to communicate and follow instructions effectively with a diverse group of staff and provide information with ordinary courtesy, patience and tact.

Reasoning Ability:

  • Ability to solve practical problems and deal in a variety of situations using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Ability to interpret and to apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral, or diagram form.
  • Ability to maintain a high level of mental concentration and effort and strain when performing a high volume of analyses and decision making as well as other essential duties.

Office Skills

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word and Outlook and typing proficiency.
  • Proficiency in using a database system and awareness of GDPR compliance.
  • Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.

Garda Clearance

Other Duties

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job.  Essential and marginal job duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

Equal Opportunity Employment

Dogs for the Disabled, is dedicated to the principles of equal employment opportunity in any term, condition, or privilege of employment.  We do not discriminate against applicants, clients, graduates or employees on the basis of race, colour, creed, national origin, sex, age, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, physical or mental disability, or any other status protected by state or local law.


To Apply:

Please send your:

  • CV
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Email

AND your responses to the questions below to by Friday, April 26th 2019.

Please answer each question thoroughly and to the best of your ability.

  1. Why do you want to work for Dogs for the Disabled?
  2. Describe your experience of dog obedience training. (Please be specific.)
  3. What breeds have you primarily trained or worked with?
  4. How do you feel about using crates?
  5. How do you feel about using treats for training?
  6. Please list your top three training “tools”. Please explain how you would use them.
  7. If a dog that you are training shows fear in a new environment what steps would you take to work him through it?
  8. Are you able to take dogs home with you on an as needed basis (evenings and weekends)?
  9. Please list previous work experience
  10. How do you feel about working as part of a small team? Please give example
  11. How do you feel about working on your own? Please give example
  12. Give an example of when you’ve shown patience and calmness in a difficult situation
  13. Give an example of when you’ve shown initiative
  14. When would you be available to commence employment?

Dogs for the Disabled, requires three professional references.