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Instructor Assistant  

About the Organization Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. Headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, Canine Companions is the largest non-profit provider of assistance dogs, and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. The result is a life full of increased independence and loving companionship.  
Location National Headquarters - Santa Rosa, CA  
Full-Time/Part-Time Full-Time  
About the Region

Canine Companions for Independence was founded in Santa Rosa, California in 1975. The National Headquarters and Northwest Training Center are located on the Jean and Charles Schulz Campus in Santa Rosa, California. The Schulz Campus, named after generous supporters Jean and Charles Schulz, opened in 1996. The Northwest Region serves people in Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska.


Schedule Information Schedules are typically Tues-Sat, or Sun-Thurs. 

Salary Range Salary DOE. CCI offers benefits including Med., Dental, Vision, 403b w/ match, Life Insurance, and various disability long term care benefits.  

Instructor Assistant (IA) is an entry-level position located at the Santa Rosa regional training center for those interested in becoming a professional Canine Companions for Independence Instructor. Successful IAs will complete the Instructor Assistant program at our Santa Rosa campus, where they will have the opportunity to learn Canine Companions' values and training protocols under the supervision of experienced Instructors.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned as needed:

  • Maintain and clean kennels, play yards, breezeways, bathing rooms and other kennel facilities using established and appropriate cleaning tools and methods.
  • Administer oral and topical medications and treatments to the dogs in the training kennels.
  • Provide daily care and treatments to dogs in kennels, including administering prescribed medications.
  • Review and make health observations for dogs in kennels; keep accurate records about dog health and treatments.
  • Assist in maintaining canine health care and well-being. Activities include preparation of food, assisting with feeding, monitoring weights, monitoring group exercise, grooming and bathing dogs, performing physical examinations, taking dogs to scheduled health appointments, walking dogs recovering from surgery and assisting in canine emergency care.
  • Maintain professionalism whenever working with constituents.
  • Establish and maintain a positive learning climate by listening to instructions, following directions, asking questions, speaking clearly, and learning the skill sets required for the Instructor Assistant program.
  • Maintain safety of individual clients and dogs, self, and group by following established safety policies and procedures at all times.
  • Represent Canine Companions and the Program Department through speaking engagements and tours in a positive and professional way.
  • Perform special projects as assigned or necessary for the Program Department.
  • Be accountable not only for direct responsibilities outlined in this job description but also to serve fellow staff and other constituents with whom position interacts. Ensure actions and communications are honest and transparent.

Instructor Assistants are expected to pursue promotion to the next job level, and must be able to complete the following:

  • Complete a minimum of 3 months working as an Instructor Assistant.
  • Receive an overall rating of good or higher on most recent performance evaluation.
  • Pass the written Instructor Assistant exam with a score of 90% or higher.
  • Participate in a Team Training placement class as a student.
  • Obtain an introductory level of knowledge of all foundational, training and teaching skills required as outlined for the Instructor Assistant program.
  • Complete and pass all required portions of the Instructor Assistant curriculum.

Upon successful completion of the Instructor Assistant level, Instructor Assistants will be assigned to one of Canine Companion’s regional training centers. Relocation may be required based on the regional training center assignment.

Position Requirements


  • Able to follow directions and follow guidelines for feeding, exercising and animal husbandry at all times.
  • Able to perform several tasks concurrently, time management and organizational skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and oral, verbal and written communication skills.
  • Able to maintain confidential information.
  • Able to organize and maintain detailed records; complete necessary paperwork and meet deadlines.
  • Able to use computers, word processing, spreadsheets, email and data base applications.
  • Take direction and show initiative; cooperate with coworkers.
  • Able to work with people with a variety of disabilities.
  • Able to problem solve in high-stress situations.
  • Able to understand basic training requirements to train dogs according to Canine Companions’ standards.
  • Able to work some evenings and weekends, including occasional overnight travel.
  • Must be able to safely lift 45 pounds and safely handle, hold and restrain active dogs weighing up to 110 pounds. Employees should seek assistance when lifting dogs or objects weighing more than 45 lbs.
  • Able to remain on one’s feet, standing, walking, bending and/or stooping for extended periods.

EXPERIENCE: Prior dog handling, training, and dog health care experience helpful but not required.

EDUCATION: Degree preferred but not required.

EOE Statement We are an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.


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