Regardless of where your dog has come from, your past or current dog training or your situation, every prospective client is required to fill out an application form including payment. This business is not a charity organisation. You will be charged per session via card tap & go or invoiced monthly for training sessions. Please make sure you are financially equipped to take on this commitment or have a funding body behind you.
Before embarking on this fulfilling journey, I ask you to please consider the many aspects of training and owning a service dog. It is NOT an easy or quick fix path.
Do you have a realistic expectation of your lifestyle with an Assistance Dog?
Having a service dog with you 24/7 is a serious commitment and not to be taken lightly. Talk to your friends and family about what it will mean to have a dog by your side at all times. Dogs attract other adults and children, which is not always desirable for the handler when out in public. Are you prepared to ‘out’ yourself to the public as having a disability? Having a dog by your side attracts much-unwanted attention and random questions from the public.
What are you already doing to mitigate your disability?
Can you articulate how a dog would do a better job of intervening with your symptoms than a carer, friends or family or a traditional disability aid? Write this down.
It is a good idea to write down what you would like your dog to do for you. Some of these things may be realistic and some may not. Your trainer will work through the list with you.
Are you ready for all the public attention you will receive due to your dog?
An Assistance Dog (AD) attracts attention to both you and your dog whether you like it or not. An AD openly acknowledges you, the handler as someone with a disability. Other people and children will want to talk to you and touch your dog. It is most annoying when all you want to do is go out and get your shopping and leave. Even if you have patches and labels on your dog’s jacket e.g. ‘Do not touch’, other people just don’t read or care. You will need to rehearse an appropriate phrase you can verbally deliver to the public and the responses to the various questions others ask about you and your dog. You may even tell them that you are training the dog for an organisation. Your trainer will have ‘do not distract’ cards for you to politely give out and walk away.
Do you have a disability that will not negatively impact the raising and training of your dog?
People with certain types and levels of anxieties may not be good candidates for raising their own assistance dogs. You create the environment your pup lives in. Dogs model what they see in their environment. If you are anxious, the pup may become anxious and it is difficult to train the dog to respond to anxiety attacks has been normalized for them. Sadly, many people fail due to this fact alone.
Are you able to work with your dog 1-2 hours per day 5 days a week for minimum 6 to 12 months?
This equates to approximately 120 to 540 hours. Most people need 12 to 18 months and beyond.