Training wheels® Certification

View and print out all forms involved with the application process (requires free Adobe Reader)

Training Wheels® certification is available to individuals and to shelters. Shelters which implement Training Wheels® earn the status of a Shelter-on-Wheels.


The benefits of being a Shelter-on-Wheels are:

  • Permission to use the Training Wheels® logo
  • Magnetic banners for the shelter vehicle that goes on Training Wheels® outings
  • Portfolio with Training Wheels® manual and forms for collecting statistics
  • All of the above PLUS
  • Press release to draw the community's attention to the good work the shelter does
  • Brochure for fundraising activities
  • The chance to make the shelter central to creating a humane community for people and pets


To become a Shelter-on-Wheels, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Maintain on staff two individuals certified in Training Wheels®. These may be volunteers or staff persons at the shelter, or a combination of one volunteer and one staff person.
  2. Apply to re-qualify each year to maintain Shelter-on-Wheels status, and
  3. Link the shelter's website to Animals for Adoption's website


For an individual to become certified in Training Wheels®

One of the most unique and powerful aspects of Training Wheels® is that each individual who certifies must partner, or jigsaw, with a shelter worker or dog trainer. That way the completed pair of two individuals always contains the expertise and moral support needed to be effective in preventing pet relinquishment.

The ideal candidate for Training Wheels® certification has basic, demonstrable knowledge of and experience in (for dogs and cats):

  • Issues and current trends in the field of animal sheltering (overpopulation, spay-neuter, role of the shelter, reasons for pet relinquishment, etc.)
  • Health care issues (common ailments, parasites, diseases, recognizing signs of disease and stress)
  • Behavior of animals, safe and humane handling techniques, behavior of the chained or penned dog
  • Humane, reward-based training methods and
  • Must like people and have non-confrontational communication skills.


This experience, skill and knowledge is ascertained through:

  1. Completing an application form (which includes identifying the individual with whom the candidate will jigsaw on Training Wheels® outings),
  2. Completing an official Training Wheels® course (which includes a practicum), and
  3. Passing a written test


Please note: In some cases, those completing a course will need to acquire additional expertise in one or more areas to earn certified status. Candidates in this situation who are other otherwise qualified will earn a "Learner's Permit." This means that for 6 months they will accompany the individual with whom they intend to jigsaw. At the end of this period they submit video footage of a few Training Wheels® outings for evaluation in order to earn full fledged Training Wheels® certification. Occasionally it will be helpful for such individuals to "shadow" a vet tech, shelter worker or dog trainer for a limited, reasonable number of hours as part of the Learner's Permit.

At least one person in the pair must be associated with an animal shelter (either as a volunteer or as a staff or board member). If both individuals in a Training Wheels® pair are affiliated with the same shelter, that shelter is eligible for affiliation as a Shelter on Wheels.

Re-certification is required annually. It includes:

  • submission of video footage,
  • statistical information,
  • two letters from community members (pet owner, veterinarian, etc.), documentation of twice-monthly visits.


Benefits to individuals certifying in Training Wheels®

  • Acknowledgement of a certain level of knowledge, experience, expertise and humane approach to helping people and animals.
  • Certificate for display at your shelter or dog training business
  • Increased positive exposure for your shelter or dog training business
  • Continuing Education and support through newsletter and special online discussion group for those certified in Training Wheels®
  • Permission to use the Training Wheels® logo
  • Magnetic banners for the vehicle that goes on Training Wheels® outings
  • Portfolio with Training Wheels® manual and forms for collecting statistics
  • Collaboration with a partner to share knowledge, ideas and experiences
  • The chance to help create a humane community for people and pets
  • Discount on RVAA apparel and educational materials