Dogs in Class


How Starmark Students Help Local Rescues

Starmark Academy for Professional Dog Trainers works with many Texas dog rescues to train homeless dogs and place them in caring homes. The students of Starmark Academy work with their assigned rescue dog for up to twelve weeks in basic obedience, then move on to agility, off-leash handling, scent detection, search and rescue, or tricks, depending on the dog’s abilities. Starmark Academy provides boarding, food, and training to these dogs at no charge to the rescue groups for the duration of the training program.

The majority of dogs in shelters have not received any formal training, and close to a third have been surrendered because of behavior problems. It is the combined goal of Starmark Academy and the dog rescue organizations to provide these dogs with a base amount of training in an effort to create happy, well-behaved companions that can be adopted into caring and permanent homes.

This program not only benefits rescue dogs in need, but also our students! In addition to working with their own personal dog(s) in class, students are assigned between 1-3 rescue dogs for the duration of the course. Students are responsible for the care and feeding of any assigned dog(s) throughout the length of the program. Food for the rescue dog(s) will be provided by Starmark Academy. Rescue dogs will be housed in Starmark Animal Behavior Center’s spacious indoor/outdoor climate controlled boarding kennels. Students may also have the option to adopt your assigned rescue dog, should they wish.

Starmark instructors work to provide students with rescue dogs whose temperaments are different from their personal dogs’. The goal is to allow students to get their hands on dogs of different sizes and personalities, each of whom may need the trainer to employ different methods, approaches, and attitudes to best suit their individual needs. We feel this will give our students the edge they need to succeed as a trainer, and the most well-rounded education possible. In addition to the dogs each individual student will work with in class, he/she will have the added benefit of watching and learning from the progression of their classmates’ many dogs. In every class there are a large number of different breeds, temperaments, sizes, and behavior issues amongst the many dogs in the program.

Potential adopters can visit our Rescued Dogs page to see dogs that are currently going through our training program, as well as past doggie graduates still looking for a home.

Personal Dogs

Students are encouraged to bring at least one dog to class with them but this is NOT A REQUIREMENT. For the four week course, one personal dog is the maximum number allowed. For the eight and twelve week courses, students may bring up to two personal dogs. Any more than this requires written approval from an Academy Instructor or Administrator. Personal dogs may stay with the student in their assigned on site student housing, but must be in a crate in the bedroom when unsupervised for safety. Students may also request a Day Run at the Starmark Animal Behavior Center boarding kennels for their dog if necessary.

Dogs that can be used to meet program requirements must meet the following standards:

  • Should have little to no prior training (we will evaluate your dog the first week)
  • Must be at least 10 months to do agility training and meet testing requirements
  • Willingness to take treats is recommended, but not required

You are still welcome to bring your personal dog(s) if it has prior training or is under 10 months old. You will be able to work with your dog to bring his or her training to a higher level; however, you may not be able to use this dog to meet your program requirements.  We are an all breed facility and school, therefore all sizes and breeds of dogs are welcome to attend. Personal dogs with aggression or other serious behavioral issues are also generally allowed, but the Administrator must be notified of the issue upon acceptance into the Academy. Special considerations must be taken with aggressive dogs to ensure the safety of all people and dogs at Starmark.

If you do not have a personal dog that meets the above standards, you may check with friends or family members to see if they would be willing to send their unruly dog off to obedience school for 4-12 weeks of training. You may also want to check with your local shelter or rescue groups to see if they would like to send one of their dogs off to obedience school to help improve its chances of adoption. If you are considering selecting a dog from a shelter or rescue group, notify the Academy Administrator before hand for requirements.

The following must be provided for any dog(s) brought to Starmark Academy:.

  • Proof of the following vaccinations: Rabies, DHLPP, Bordetella (canine cough)
  • Flea and heartworm preventative.
  • An appropriate sized crate.