Question: What is a service dog... Actually?


Currently there is not a governing body or board of certification but there are laws that require that an assistance dog exhibit public behavior that is "appropriate". To be a service dog, a dog must provide an essential assistive function.

A Guide Dog is a type service dog, however the training for them is different and it is pretty obvious if the dog has not been properly trained. For example a Seeing Eye Dog is actually hit with a vehicle under controlled conditions so the dog understands the danger presented by vehicles without being paralyzed by fear. A Search and Rescue Dog is trained for Tracking sents that are at least an hour old if you release the dog to find someone just a few minutes after is the dog really tracking?

So, each business that trains service dogs set their own standards, some are a model of first class training and dog raising. Others are not even worthy of their name. If an agency mails a dog to you through the mail I would discredit them. An agency of any real quality will insist that there be a period of time for pairing, training of the new owner, and hand off. The matching of a dog and a family is not to be based on convenience. There needs to be a good match and a real bond. I would avoid any agency that does not take that seriously.

Question: What's the best known breed(s)in the role of a service Dog?


Almost any dog breed can be a service dog. The key (In Addition to the Training) is not the breed so much as the personality and temperment. We use a ten step process called a Bolhard test on a 5-6 week old puppy. Basically the ideal candidate puppy would show No predatory drive and apear to be slow and steady, not expressive. This means that the desire for the dog to chase cats and squirls is low. We would also evaluate the dogs body sensitivity, as well as aggression. Service dog canddates can be found in a pound.

With that aside; We feel that English Golden Retrievers are a extremely well suited match to children with autism due to their energy levels, and love of water. On the other side of that a Bassett Hound has high bone density and sink like stones in water. We do not feel that is a good match for a child with Autism as they tend to gravitate to water.

The Blood hounds are a good selection if you want to pair up with a dog that has more tracking ability. Blood Hounds can track a trail that is 300 Hours old.

German Shepards are great working dogs there needs to be special attention to them during pairing as they tend to pick ONE person as theirs. THis may not be a good match in a family environment.

Question: How do you train your dogs?


There are old school trainers that use negative training methods. Or, Negative reenforcements. We do not believe in this and quit frankly have never considered it. We can teach a dog to do anything and everything that is needed from a Service Dog using positive reinforcement. Amy is a certified dog trainer and as such was taught to use these posative methods successfully by ABC Dog Training (ABC stands for Animal Behavioral College)

For example How is a dog trained to pull, like a dog sled or kid? It is natural to a dog to pull when there is tension. As another example we start in small sessions, and with posative reenforcers (smalll tastey treats and praise) ... Get the dog addicted to training and interested in performing tasks.

Question: What is a Puppy Raiser?


A Puppy Raiser is a BIG key to successfully socializing a service dog. A puppy raiser basically takes the puppy with them everywhere they go. The purpose is to expose the puppy to as many different environments as possible. These puppy's go to the mall, on vacations, to sports games, etc. A puppy is with a puppy raiser for (18 months) and are taught basic obedience and manners.