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DISCOVER BERGIN UNIVERSITY: mission and philosophy
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mission and philosophy


To become more than an educational institution, more than a facilitator of revolutionary research. To become a lyceum that inspires the pursuit of a deeper understanding of the human-dog bond, to benefit society with new applications of that bond but also to seek a profound understanding of humanity’s relationship with dogs, and consequently, with the animal kingdom.


To advance the human-canine partnership through research and education by offering quality instruction in human and canine studies to postsecondary students worldwide interested in furthering their knowledge of themselves and the role of the dog in human society; through the University’s up-to-date, in-depth academic coursework, to provide students an opportunity to expand their knowledge for scholarly or career purposes or enhance their knowledge of their own specialties through the unique viewpoint provided by human-canine studies.

Who We Are

Bergin University of Canine Studies, home of The Assistance Dog Institute, has a singular mission: to advance the human-canine partnership through research and education.

That mission is expressed in a growing range of programs, inspired and informed by the breakthrough work of Dr. Bonnie Bergin. Using leading-edge academic coursework along with daily hands-on experience, you can expand your knowledge and skills for scholarly or career purposes, or enhance the parameters of your existing specialty using the unique perspective and potential provided by human-canine studies.

We invite you to join us as we continue to break new ground in “Helping Dogs Help People,” the only university offering Master’s, Bachelor’s and Associate degrees in dog studies, as well as creating the High School Assistance Dog Program for at-risk teens, and researching how to teach dogs to read and how to train pups as young as three weeks. We believe the possibilities of the human canine partnership are limited only by human imagination.

Since our founding in 1991, hundreds of people from 16 countries and 34 states have attended our University programs and we have graduated over a hundred service and social/therapy teams. Our groundbreaking research in teaching dogs to read, early pup training, and High Schooled -Assistance Dogs demonstrates new ways to optimize human’s interactions with dogs, These findings are shared worldwide.


Bergin University is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) to award Associate's degrees, Bachelor's degrees and Master's degrees.

Where We Are

Bergin University is located in the famous Sonoma County region of California, in the comfortable city of Rohnert Park, an easy hour’s drive north of San Francisco. The area is amazingly diverse and beautiful, with redwood forests, ocean beaches and the legendary Napa-Sonoma wine country.

Situated in what could be called “assistance dog row,” the Hearing Dog Program, Guide Dogs and Canine Companions for Independence are easily accessed and tours are arranged as part of the college coursework. The University facility is located within walking distance of small shopping centers and restaurants.

Where We’re Going

Formally designated a university in early 2004, Bergin University of Canine studies is young and growing. Our facilities and student body are compact, our faculty is passionate, our potential is as unlimited as the discipline itself. As our alumni and current students will tell you, you will receive an exceptional education here today. You will also become part of the growth of an institution and a new way of seeing the human-canine partnership. From teaching dogs to read, to new methods of using scent-detection, join us in our academic and research advancement.