Canine College Internship

Canine College is a veterinary student run program devoted to the enrichment of dogs housed within the CVM.  Veterinary students participate in a variety of skills laboratories that provide hands-on experience in the handling and physical examination of dogs. A stock colony of purpose-bred research dogs is maintained to help meet this learning objective. Several years ago, concern was raised following receipt of complaints from students and instructors that some of the dogs were fearful, hard to examine, and/or uncooperative during the labs. In response, the Canine College program was started. 

The purpose of the Canine College internship program is to provide undergraduate students interested in veterinary medicine the opportunity to participate in the enrichment of laboratory animals through Canine College. Upon completion of the program the student will have a better understanding of canine behavior and training techniques, an introduction to laboratory animal medicine, access to veterinary school lecture series, and create relationships with current veterinary students and CVM staff.

Intern Expectations

  • Students will be paired with several dogs for the semester to provide a consistent interaction and be able to track the efficacy of the program.
  1. Weekly interaction with dogs focusing on four areas:
  2. Condition stock dog to the tasks asked of them during teaching labs 
  3. Train dog to leash-walking and other simple commands (e.g., sit, stand, down)
  4. Enhance enrichment of stock dog by increased human contact and activity
  5. Promote behavioral modification and humane handling techniques

Students must attend large-group and hands-on orientation sessions that provide a framework for the Canine College objectives and positive reinforcement-based training approach, an overview of the regulatory environment, and an introduction to biosecurity and the health and safety issues associated with working with animals. 

Each intern will be assigned a semester long project to accomplish alongside their mentor. These projects may serve as potential research opportunities. Project examples include:

  • New data organization and analysis 
    • Objective: create a real time data display of dog and student interactions, progression, and behavior to be used to update members on canine college performance, as well as provide a foundation for overall program efficacy evaluation.   
  • Old data organization and analysis 
    • Objective: organize and analyze data from previous program years for key metrics of program efficacy, canine performance and adoptability, and student participation. 
  • Monthly newsletter
    • Objective: establish a framework for club communications, university communications, and LAR communications regarding canine college progress and update key stakeholders at appropriate intervals throughout the semester.
  • Open House
    • Objective: create a display for open house that is centered on adopted research dogs and utilize LAR staff to communicate with owners about their adoption experience to create adoption testimonials with correlating photographs. 
  • Dog identification system
    • Objective: create a powerpoint presentation of canine college dogs with each slide containing a picture of the dog in question, their name, and a brief blurb to serve as a tool for dog identification. The blurb will contain historical training data, training motivators (pets, treats, praise), and current training state.

Each intern will also complete a case report on a dog of their choosing.

Each student will be responsible for creating a case report as a means to summarize their interactions with their dogs. Each student is assigned 5 dogs and thus has the ability to choose the dog they would like to summarize. On April 1st each student will prepare a short presentation about their case report. 

Program Outcomes

At the end of the internship, students will have gained:

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of behavioral conditioning, training, and enrichment of canines
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of animal care within laboratory animal medicine
  • Networking opportunities with current veterinary students and CVM employees
  • Students will be assigned a veterinary student mentor
  • Unique animal experience that can be put onto veterinary school applications 
  • Opportunities to attend lunch meetings, lectures, and club meetings at the CVM

Internship Requirements and Application Procedures

Applications are submitted electronically to VetPAC (url link will be provided), which includes a 1) resume, 2) tentative class schedule, 3) unofficial transcript, 4) letter of intent include your strengths and what you hope to gain from the internship (1 page in length), and names, title and contact information of two references. Students will be contacted and interviews scheduled prior to final selection. Internship shifts are flexible to a student’s individual schedule within the time frame of established LAR hours of operation. 

Students accepted into this program will be required to make a semester long commitment to the internship in order to receive their certification. The number of interns accepted each semester may vary due to the needs of Canine College, with a maximum of 10 per semester. 

Spring and Fall Semesters:

Interns are required to complete a minimum of one interaction per week. Each interaction is about 1.5 hours in length based on time to park, change into appropriate uniform, and time spent with dog. Canine College hours are 7-5 pm Monday-Friday and 1-3 pm Saturday-Sunday. 

Application Deadlines:

Fall semester applications must be received by April 1st, with interviews being conducted end of April. Spring semester applications must be received by 10th October, with interviews being conducted 25th October. 

Eligibility Requirements

Academic Standing- Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors and Non-Degree Seeking (NDS) students

Coursework- BIO 181 and BIO 183 are required.  ZO 250 or ANS 205 is preferred.