New Frontiers in Online Certification: Dog-Friendly Training
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New Frontiers in Online Certification: Dog-Friendly Training

New Frontiers in Online Certification: Dog-Friendly Training

Recently, the Integrity Advocate team has taken notice of a new trend in online training. (No, it’s not AI, for once.) From skilled trades to professional certifications, more training providers are eliminating barriers and making programming accessible to a whole new class of learners: dogs. 

Traditionally, things like ID verification and lack of subject matter knowledge have prevented our canine friends from obtaining professional credentials. But now, as more training moves online, dogs are getting certified to do things and go places they’ve never been able to before. 

Most providers don’t advertise the dog-friendliness of their training, but once you see how easy it is to create an account without a valid ID, or complete an exam using a GPT-powered plug-in, it’s clear that this important accessibility goal has been prioritized. (What other explanation could there be?) 

Just ask Phoebe, Integrity Advocate’s resident pug — probably the most certified dog in the world. So far, Phoebe has successfully completed the following certifications online:

  • Alcohol service certification: That’s right — Phoebe has achieved the requirements necessary to work in the hospitality industry as it relates to responsible alcohol service. Just don’t ask her to make you a martini!
  • Forklift operation certification: Phoebe’s also a valuable asset in warehouse and logistics industries, due to her “demonstrated understanding of the fundamentals of safe forklift operation.”
  • Emergency response certification: Phoebe can even provide life-saving first aid assistance in emergencies, having completed a CPR and Automated External Defibrillation course.
  • Boat operator licensing: Dogs love water, so it was only natural for Phoebe to get her boat license. And with all the other work she’s been doing, having time to relax at the lake is more important than ever. 

How did Phoebe become the most certified pug in the world? None of the training programs she completed required any form of participation monitoring or identity verification.

She got a little help setting up her account and paying for the test. But after that, it was all Phoebe. With the help of ‘study aid’ (wink, wink) browser plug-ins, a little issue like not knowing how to read or fill out an answer for herself didn't prevent her from getting a perfect score on the exam.

As more training moves online, and more organizations forgo things like identity verification and browser monitoring, we look forward to seeing Phoebe — and all the dogs of the world! — take on new responsibilities and challenges.

Yes, it’s an exciting time to be a dog that wants to operate a forklift, serve alcohol in a restaurant, or be a first responder in an emergency situation. And we think this is a good thing!

Unfortunately, not everyone is onboard. Regulatory bodies, such as the Standards Council of Canada, are impeding the growth of dog-friendly training with new standards requiring that “the person's identity has been confirmed, prior to or at the time of the training“ and that training “is completed by the person whose identity has been confirmed.” 

This means that in certain regulated sectors, proponents of the dog-friendly model are risking fines and other penalties as they work to advance this important equity goal.

But while it’s sad to see the progress of dog-friendly training impeded by shortsighted regulators, it’s important to take stock of how far we’ve come. 20 years ago, it would have been impossible for a dog like Phoebe to get forklift operator certified. Now, it takes just a few minutes. 

If you're concerned about whether or not your online training is dog-accessible, get in touch with our team for a free consultation: