To get started...
To begin the application process, you will need to fill out an application giving us as much information as possible about your diagnosis, home, daily activities, members of your household, & what type of assistance dog you will need. There is no obligation when filling out an application. Once your application is approved, we will schedule a phone interview to further discuss the process, address any concerns or questions you may have, & explain dog selection/training. We will also talk about specific aspects of your or your child's diagnosis as this will allow us to best determine the tasks the dog will need perform to assist in your daily routine and therapies. Many clients would like the dog to be involved in therapies, such as vision or physical therapy. We will also talk about activities, hobbies, clubs- any other activities you participate in- to get a complete picture of what you & your future canine partner will be doing together.
All of this information helps us move on to the next step; looking for the right dog to meet your needs & formulating his client specific training program .
Next you will receive a New Client Packet...
Inside the packet you'll find a typical timeline for the entire process, information on bonding and financial topics, and the personality assessment/ self care evaluation.
When you return the personal assessment, we will create a client profile with information regarding specific tasks you will require your dog to do, a summary of your diagnosis as it relates to your service dog, and details regarding your dog's training program.
You will be able to look over & discuss with us the client profile prior to our selection of your puppy. Often, clients will think of new things they would like the dog to assist with or other specific issues along the way. Great! We encourage our clients to call/email us with questions, suggestions, or updates at any time. Our next step is to begin selecting your pup. In some cases, we have a 'class' of pups moving through the socialization & basic obedience stage of training & can begin selecting a pup for a client based on their profile right away. In other cases, we will select a puppy/dog from another trusted breeding program. Whatever the case may be, we work very hard to ensure a good match. Once a pup is selected for you & the client specific training begins, we require an additional 25% of the total cost of the dog.
Training takes on average 6-18 months...
Some dogs will take less time & others will take more depending on the type & amount of tasks that are needed. During the training process, we will continue to work with you to obtain additional information to assist us in training the dog. We are happy to provide you with updates on the dog throughout the process.
Once the training is complete..
You will either be enrolled in a group graduation training session or an in home graduation session can be arranged. Clients spend 5 days learning to care for, work with, and set goals with their new canine partners. The difference in cost of Group and In-home graduation training sessions is generally marginal. Some of the benefits of in-home graduation include; teaching you how to work with the dog in your home where it will live and work, our trainer(s) come to you so that you do not have to travel, we are able to work with you & your family outside the home in restaurants, theaters, stores & other places that you commonly visit, & we can demonstrate techniques in the home to help you get the most from your dog while it is transitioning to your home.
Two weeks prior to your graduation session, the remaining cost of the dog/training is due.
Costs vary depending on the specific needs of the client. We always provide follow-up training/ behavior consultations for as long as the dog is working with you (travel expenses are the responsibility of the client). Information about funding, financial assistance, & payment plans are available, so please contact us for specific inquiries about pricing. We want to help make this an achievable goal for everyone.
Bringing a service dog into your life is a life changing decision and should be something you consider seriously before beginning the process. While service dogs can change lives in wonderful ways, they are also constant works in progress requiring time, patience, and many lifestyle adjustments. They are living, breathing beings. This is what makes them and the bond between a service dog and their working partner so special. We encourage you to ask any specific questions you may have.
To be eligible to work with a service dog in public places, you must have a disability as defined by the American Disabilities Act. The ADA protects people, not dogs.