About Becoming a Trainer 

When you become a trainer with the Pets For Vets program through the Pittsburgh chapter at Animal Friends, you will work to identify and specially pair shelter pets with military veterans living with PTSD and TBI. You will then teach* the pets good manners to ensure they’ll fit in with the veteran’s lifestyle.

Because of you, the lives of veterans and homeless animals quite literally will be saved.

What a great way to give back to our nation’s veterans and find homes for shelter pets!

Pets for Vets-approved trainers at Animal Friends hold contracted positions with a generous stipend offered for their services.

Here is what we look for in our trainers:

  • Positive reinforcement methodology.
  • Formal training education.
  • Professional memberships (KPA, APDT, PPG, IAABC).
  • Regular continuing education (CEUs).
  • Understanding and application of learning theory to training .
  • 200+ hours of teaching (preferably dog training classes).
  • Experience with animal behavior assessments, especially Sue Sternberg’s Assess-a-Pet.
  • Understanding of animal behavior.
  • Experience with animal husbandry.

Good to have:

  • Ability to foster a dog during training.

Additional information:

  • The trainer’s role includes working extensively with the veteran.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills are required.
  • No shock, prong or choke collars or other aversives permitted.
  • Pets for Vets trains companion animals only.

*The training curriculum is identified by the Pets for Vets national standard.

About Becoming a Foster Family

The key to making a successful Pets for Vets match is the in-home training each dog receives prior to placement. As a foster guardian, you will serve an integral role in the journey of the dog through this program. By opening your home for a 6- to 8-week period, you will provide care and support to a Pets for Vets canine in training. The foster home works collaboratively with the Pets for Vets trainer to follow through on training protocols and introducing the canine to daily life activities. Completion of a foster orientation program is required and all animal care supplies are provided.

Foster Guardian Requirements

The primary foster must:

  • Be 21 years of age or older.
  • Make a 6- to 8-week commitment to housing and working with a dog.
  • Have all pets in their household spayed or neutered and current on core vaccines.
  • Agree to schedule home training sessions with the Pets for Vets trainer and follow through with the Pets for Vets training protocol provided by the trainer.
  • Attend a Pets for Vets Foster Orientation program.


If you feel you'd be a good fit, contact Lauren Leffakis at LLeffakis@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org.




Pets for Vets Trainer Guidelines

Animal Friends

Caryl Gates Gluck Resource Center
562 Camp Horne Road | Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Phone: 412.847.7000 | Fax: 412.847.7001
M-F 11 a.m.-7 p.m. | S/S 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Copyright 2015 Animal Friends Inc.