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Dogs Connect - Connection, Regulation and Empathy

Course Status:


Dogs Connect - Connection, Regulation and Empathy




Cost: $


CE's Available:


Grant Shannon

Amanda Leonard

Stephen W. Porges, PhD

Course Overview

This is a short course that will explain some of the key links between theory and practice related to connection with a well-being dog in an education setting. The Dogs Connect Program has been implemented in every type of school setting and supports a shift in educational practice through teaching people how to connect with dogs in a healthy, balanced, meaningful, and sustainable way so that the dogs and humans all benefit from the opportunities that come from this connectedness. The results from this program include significant positive impacts on teaching and learning outcomes, increased school attendance, reduced school refusal, enhanced relationship development, and students reporting that they feel safer in the classroom. This course will help students to explore how this connection and these impacts can be felt in a school community, as well as building understanding around how the Polyvagal Theory underpins how this connection is built and sustained. This course is delivered as modules made up of self-paced video lessons which will introduce, explain, and demonstrate exactly how the connection with an animal can help to reach the learning brain and become a valuable addition to existing intervention and prevention strategies in an education setting. Includes an invitation to a live discussion with Stephen Porges, PhD or Deb Dana, LCSW exclusively for members of our PVI learning community. Next discussion date to be announced. Students will have access to the course for 180 days from the date of purchase.


10 prerecorded videos 6 handouts Live broader student community discussions with Stephen Porges, PhD or Deb Dana, LCSW



Recommended Audience

dog trainers, dog owners, educators, parents, clinicians

CE's and/or Certificate of Completion Available

Certificate of Completion upon course completion.
  • What is the attendance policy for a course?
    Live/Hybrid courses: While specific course policies may vary, we typically allow one absence for a live or hybrid course and require watching the recording and sometimes submitting a reflection for the missed session. If a participant is absent for more than the permissible number of live sessions, they may not be eligible for a certificate. Self-paced courses: In short, not applicable. Attendance does not apply to self-paced as they are designed to be consumed when the student is willing and able to take the course. All material is pre-recorded content, reading, or individual assignments.
  • How are live sessions held?
    Live sessions are held via Zoom. Zoom links are available inside the course content and in email reminders sent to enrollees.
  • What if I am unable to attend a live session?
    We upload recordings of our live sessions within 72 hours. (Please see the attendance policy above.)
  • How can I tell what time the live session will be in my local time zone?
    We typically provide live session start times in the four time zones of the continental United States. To convert live session times to your local timezone, please visit
  • Where can I find the course material?
    Thinkific is our learning management system. Upon enrolling in a course, you will receive an invite email to the course in Thinkific, where you can find all of the course materials and links.
  • Is this course accredited?
    The course page will list any continuing education credits (CEs) or other professional benefits that might be available for the course (and any applicable restrictions). If none are listed, then none are available.
  • How do I reset my password to Thinkific?
    You can reset your password by going to and clicking “Forgot Password?” link below the password field. You will then enter the email address you used when creating your account to receive a one-time password reset link. Use the instructions in that email to complete your password reset. If you have any other technical questions, feel free to reach out to us at
  • Is there closed captioning?
    Yes. Most pre-recorded content is hosted in Vimeo, which has closed captioning. If you come across a video that does not have closed captioning, please send us a message at
  • In which currency are your prices listed in?
    Our prices are listed in USD (United States Dollars). Your credit card or bank statement will likely reflect the price in your local currency.
  • Will I be charged sales tax?
    If you are located in the US or Canada, you will be charged sales tax on the cost of your course.
  • Are there scholarships available?
    Yes, PVI offers scholarships for all of our courses on a rolling basis. You can apply for a scholarship at
  • Are there group discounts?
    Yes. For groups of five or more participants, a 15% discount is available for each participant.
  • What is your refund policy?
    30 day money back guarantee for all of our courses (from date of purchase for self-paced courses and from date of first live session for live courses). Please reach out to us at if you'd like to inquire about a refund.
  • Can I purchase a gift certificate for PVI courses?
    Give the gift of learning! Yes, Polyvagal Institute offers digital gift certificates that arrive by email, and can be used towards any of our courses. Gift certificates are a simple way to share polyvagal insight and knowledge that stems from a better understanding of the human experience. Purchase a gift certificate now!


Grant Shannon

Grant Shannon is the Founder of Dogs Connect, B.Ed, M.Ed (App. Learning), M.Ed (Student Wellbeing). During his ten-year teaching career, Grant recognized that his students needed more from traditional education. He decided to create a program to help students feel more connected and engaged in their school environment. The Dogs Connect Program is now in over 100 schools as well as in justice and healthcare settings. Grant’s great passion for education has driven him to research the benefits of training wellbeing dogs for the classroom. He willingly shares his knowledge and scientific evidence, teaching students and staff how to build emotional intelligence and resilience. Many schools are now witnessing first-hand the impact the program is having on academic outcomes.

Grant Shannon

Amanda Leonard

Amanda Leonard

Amanda Leonard is the content developer with Dogs Connect BA (Psych. Soc), MSW. Amanda has more than 25 years of experience working as a counsellor in both community and education contexts. She is passionate about all things wellbeing and values strengths-based, trauma-informed practices. Her positive psychology work helps us establish partnerships, develop resources and deliver our programs. Amanda shares a strong interest in staff wellbeing and holistic approaches in building capacity, connection and resilience. Seeing the profound impact of this program in improving wellbeing gives her absolute joy. Visit the Dogs website for more info:

Stephen W. Porges, PhD

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium in the Kinsey Institute. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He is the originator of the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral, mental, and health problems related to traumatic experiences. He is the creator of a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol ™ , which currently is used by approximately 3,000 therapists to improve spontaneous social engagement, to reduce hearing sensitivities, and to improve language processing, state regulation, and spontaneous social engagement. Dr. Porges is a founder of the Polyvagal Institute.

Stephen W. Porges, PhD


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