Our Service Dog Program is designed to "Help Others Pawsitively Every Day," to enhance the dignity and quality of life for people with visible and invisible disabilities, through the use of an assistance dog. We specialize in training assistance dogs for mobility assistance (balance, retrieval of items), autism, and medical alert such as PTSD, diabetic, seizure, and hearing. We offer several options for a dog to become an Assitance dog: training your own dog to become your assistance dog upon passing our temperament test, training a rescue pup to become an assistance dog upon passing our temperament test or a fully trained assistance dog.
We believe that a well trained assistance dog enhances the individual's life, as he masters the high standards of training that we require among our dogs, our handlers, and our trainers. The process to begin our assistance Dog program begins with completing and submitting the application via email or to the mailing address listed on the front page. The lengthy application includes a form to be filled out by your physician and will give us a full picture of how an assistance dog can improve your life and be trained for the specific goals you may have in mind. After acceptance of your application will then work with you to help you locate a suitable pup for your specific needs.
We will review your application and then set up a time to meet with you. At this time, we will answer any additional questions you may have about the process, introduce you to your trainer, and develop a training protocol specific to your needs. If you have a pup you are interested in training to be your assistance dog, we will temperament test him at that time. We do want you to be aware that even though your pup may pass our initial test we are always observing your dog to ensure that he/she truly enjoys working with you. If you need us to help you find a pup, we can assist you.
After the meet and greet we will set up a weekly schedule for your with your trainer to increase your dog's basic obedience skills to begin working on public access manners, and to teach your pup the specific tasks required to help with your disability. It can take anywhere from 18-24 months to master the high standards of training, according to Assistance Dog International Standards of Excellence and the American Disabilities Act. In the beginning we will work in your home and in public areas that allow dogs so that we can encourage, teach, and guide you on how an assistance dog is to act in public places. We will also work with you on how to respond to the two questions 1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Is that anyone can ask regarding your assistance dog. As your pup and you develop a working relationship we will give you our "assistance dog in training" vest so that your dog and you can begin to work in public areas where assistance dogs are allowed: grocery stores, restaurants, movies, doctor's offices, etc.
At the completion of our assistance dog program, each team receives a certificate of completion, two identification cards, and our graduate assistance dog vest.