Assistance Animals: Could One Work for You?

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Week One

Did you know there is more than one type of assistance animal?  Would you like to understand which type would best suit your needs?  In Week One we cover the three types of assistance animals, your rights and obligations with respect to each type, and the levels of training and documentation required for each.

Week Two

Service Dogs (and some horses) are the only kind of assistance animal that may legally accompany their handler everywhere the handler goes, without restriction.  In Week Two, we cover what you need to know about obtaining a service dog, including the pros and cons of buying a fully-trained service dog vs. training one yourself.   We also supply a comprehensive list of service dog training organizations in the U.S. so you can identify the organization that best meets your needs geographically, financially and with regard to process and philosophy.

Week Three

In week three, we examine the pros and cons of various types of assistance animals (i.e., cats and dogs) and evaluate the breed-specific strengths of common dog breeds.  We discuss common characteristics, health considerations, breeding vs. rescue alternatives, genetic testing, and temperament testing for puppies and adult dogs to help you make the best possible selection of a dog to match your needs and preferences.

Week Four

The last three weeks of class focus on the details of what is required to successfully train a service dog yourself, or in collaboration with a trainer, in your own home.  Because buying a fully-trained service dog is prohibitively expensive for many, there is a high level of interest among many people in training a dog themselves.  The second half of this class will provide detailed analysis of what is required to successfully train a service dog.  Week Four focuses specifically on Puppy Socialization and Basic Obedience Training.

Week Five

In Week Five, we look at the American Kennel Club requirements for Canine Good Citizenship training and certification as well as Public Access Training and testing.   We'll also examine the costs involved in using a trainer to assist you, as well as procedures for training and certification for public access.

Week Six

Week Six focuses on specific task training for your service dog, with an emphasis on task training commonly associated with autism service dogs, PTSD dogs, and seizure dogs.  Finally, we review the rights and requirements for a Service Dog in Training in the region in which you live.