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Paws With A Cause

Staff Trainer

0400 – Wayland, Michigan
Department 0400
Employment Type Active
Minimum Experience Experienced

Organization Overview - Paws With A Cause® is a national organization headquartered just outside Grand Rapids, Michigan. PAWS® raises and trains Assistance Dogs for clients with disabilities. Each dog's training program is customized to accommodate the unique needs of individuals with various types of disabilities. 

Mission Statement - Paws With A Cause® enhances the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities nationally through custom-trained Assistance Dogs. PAWS® increases awareness of the rights and roles of Assistance Dog teams through education and advocacy.

Vision Statement - Embracing innovation to address the aging population and to strengthen families living with disabilities.

Core Values – All employees must adhere to PAWS® Core Values: Transformational Change, Leadership, Excellence, Teamwork, Stewardship, Celebration

Culture – Demonstrates leadership by living the ideal PAWS culture across the organization, placing organizational needs, strategic goals and priorities first; establish credibility; acting with integrity; showing commitment; inspiring, motivating and guiding team to achieve PAWS objectives and goals.

Summary – The person in this position is responsible to fulfill the needs of the clients we serve by successfully training Assistance Dogs to meet the specific needs of each individual client, while being able to keep quality and production goals at the levels set forth by the Board of Directors.

Supervisory Responsibilities – This position has no supervisory responsibilities.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned.


Assistance Dog Training:


  • Complete all phases of training without supervision and in the appropriate time frame for specific Client/Dog team.
  • Have the ability to complete Hearing Dog Sounds, Service Dogs for Children with Autism, Service Dogs and Seizure Response Dogs without supervision and within the appropriate time frames.
  • Being skilled in canine communication and body language for temperament analysis, problem-solving, and matching with Clients.
  • Receive education to gain knowledge of various disabilities.
  • Possess the proven ability to handle a string of dogs commensurate with experience level (average of 7 dogs).
  • Ability to trouble-shoot and problem-solve issues that may arise in training.
  • Complete all required paperwork and documentation by deadlines established by your Supervisor.
  • Conduct and Complete Client/Dog Team Placements, Certifications, and Re-Certifications as needed.
  • Generate training data for each assigned dog, including time spent, tasks worked, and grading as necessary.
  • Compile reports as required for immediate Supervisor.
  • Complete demonstrations and/or presentations for PAWS by following the information obtained through the PAWS Speakers Bureau training process.


Personnel Training and Education


  • Convey PAWS training methods to new trainers learning the trade, including Apprentices and other Staff as needed.
  • Practice appropriate time management skills in order to handle the responsibilities and duties of the position.
  • Have the ability to coach, teach, and problem solve with Apprentice Trainers and other Staff Trainers, including the development of plans to address problem areas or concerns.
  • Have the adaptability to handle changing job responsibilities
  • ADI Trainer Certification for Service Dogs and Hearing Dogs (preferred) or willing to attain.
  • Obtain CPR/First Aid training and certification or willing to obtain.
  • Observe Client in the field, from placement until certification, with all types of Assistance Dogs as Client/Dog teams become available.
  • Conduct hands on Field Representative work with all types of Assistance Dogs, as Client/Dog teams become available.
  • Attend and participate in Field Representative Seminar.


Other Duties


  • Successfully complete special projects as assigned by Supervisor
  • Support Foster Puppy related events and other PAWS related events as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Competencies - To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:


Customer Service – Responds promptly to the needs of Field Representatives, Clients, and all PAWS Constituents as needed; Solicits feedback from Field Representatives and Clients; Meets commitments; Remains professional in the midst of conflict; Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner; Gathers and analyzes information skillfully; Develops alternative solutions; Works well in group problem solving situations; Excellent problem-solving and relational skills; Excellent follow-up skills in order to resolve concerns; Appropriate interpersonal and communication skills.


Teamwork – Balances team and individual responsibilities; Exhibits objectivity and openness to others’ views; Gives and welcomes feedback; Contributes to building a positive team spirit; Supports everyone’s efforts to succeed; Able to build morale and group commitments to goals and objectives; Welcomes creative ideas and new training techniques.

Adaptability – Adapts to changes in the work environment; Manages competing demands; Changes approach or method to best fit the situation; Able to deal with frequent changes, delays, or unexpected events; Possesses the flexibility to change from one training technique to another when different training techniques are necessary; Ability to work in various disciplines of training and able to confidently handle various temperaments.

Innovation – Displays original thinking and creativity; Meets challenges with resourcefulness; Generates suggestions for improving work; Develops innovative approaches and ideas; Presents ideas and information in a manner that gets others’ attention.

Safety and Security – Observes safety and security procedures; Determines appropriate action beyond guidelines; Reports potentially unsafe conditions; Uses equipment and materials properly; Keep assigned work area, a clean and hazard-free environment; Acknowledge and observe all safety and security regulations.


Qualifications - To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Employee must display and conduct themselves in a professional manner in accordance with PAWS Core Values, Code of Conduct, and the Dignity and Respect Policy.

Willing to learn or possessing a thorough knowledge and understanding of various types of disabilities, understanding the needs of people with disabilities, and the ability to be able to effectively train an Assistance Dog to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Have the ability to assess the appropriateness of a dog to be trained, matched, and placed with Clients.

Possess the ability to effectively communicate with persons with disabilities and to work with them on how to communicate effectively with their dogs.

Be an ambassador of PAWS with prospective and accepted PAWS Clients, Foster Puppy Raisers, and other PAWS Constituents. Advocate for the needs of our Foster Puppy Raisers and act with the highest levels of professionalism, compassion, and empathy.

Possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills, emotional intelligence, and willingness to build positive working relationships, in an effort to maintain a positive PAWS’ culture.


Education and/or Experience                                              

Minimum of a High School Diploma or G.E.D. equivalent; and a minimum of six years of experience in teaching people and dogs and/or animals (or related equivalent) in Behavior Modification. Ideal Candidate would possess a minimum of six years working with people and combined six years experience in classical and operant training experience with dogs.


Computer Skills                                         

To perform this job successfully, an individual should have a working knowledge and ability of general Word Processing software (MS Word) and Email Communication Programs (Outlook including calendar feature/Office 365) to be able to type up general items such as Training placement plans. Must have the ability to understand and utilize the various computer programs needed to produce reports, letters, etc. that are required to perform the job. Ability to video record and transfer videos.


Language Skills

Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals and professional journals; Written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills, including the ability to convey information clearly and concise.


Reasoning Ability

Ability to anticipate problems and issues; Ability to collect, analyze, and interpret statistical data; Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists; Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.


Certificates, Licenses, Registrations

Must have a current driver's license, and the points must not exceed the allotted amount to be covered under PAWS vehicle insurance. Must have reliable transportation.


Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to walk; use hands to demonstrate, handle or feel, and create hand signals and sign language. The employee frequently is required to stand, sit, reach with hands and arms, stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl and taste or smell. The employee is occasionally required to climb or balance. The employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 50 pounds, and occasionally lift and/or move up to 100 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.


Allocation of Time

Walking/Moving - 20%                Writing - 15%

Driving – 05%                              Sitting – 20%

Lifting – 10%                                Pulling/Jerking – 05%

Talking/hearing – 15%                  Reaching – 05%

Bending – 05%

Working Environment

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently exposed to wet and/or humid conditions, fumes or airborne particles, and outside weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

      1. Animal-related environment with as many as (100) dogs residing on-site at any given time along with a few cats.

      2. Dress code consists of a professional appearance required at all times.

Hours of Work

This is a full-time hourly position, which illustrates a standard 40-hour work week (7:30am to 4:00pm) with hours not exceeding 40 per week without prior approval from your Supervisor. Will require hours above and beyond the standard 40-hour week on occasion, with occasional weekends, as identified by Management. Overtime would be calculated at one and a half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 hours. May require some travel and occasional weekends to attend seminars, training workshops, to deliver and field train dogs, etc. at the discretion of Management.                           

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  • Location
    Wayland, Michigan
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