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Service Dog Training in Richmond


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Over the past decade there has been a rise in the number of people with Emotional Support Animals. This has caused some confusion around what it means to have a service, emotional support or therapy animal . Here, we explain briefly the differences between each of these animals, the training required for each different type, and debunk some common myths. Read on to learn the differences between each type of animal, which one might be right for you or your loved one, and how Dog Training Elite Richmond can help.

Dog Training Elite Richmond offers top rated autism service dog training near you in Richmond.

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Dog Training Elite Richmond is proud to have professional autism service dog trainers near you in Richmond.

ESA vs. Therapy vs. Service Animals: What's the Difference?


Service animals are animals that have been trained to assist individuals with tasks specific to their needs.

  • Redirecting attention when an individual is beginning to feel overstimulated
  • Reminding owners to take medication
  • Waking someone who is having a nightmare

Service dogs are valued in the mental health, health care and disability community and are protected under ADA laws which allow owners to take their service dog with them everywhere they go. Dog Training Elite Richmond trains dogs to serve individuals with autism, diabetes and PTSD.

Dog Training Elite Richmond trains autism service dogs to benefit and assist children with autism. Autism service dogs can be trained to track their child in case of wandering and redirect a child’s behavior when they are starting to become overwhelmed.

PTSD service dogs help ground owners to reality, especially in public settings. These service dogs can also be trained to recognize signs of a panic attack and regulate emotional responses through pressure.

Diabetic service dogs can alert their owners to their low blood sugar and provide stability, safety and support.

Visit our individual web pages to understand more about the differences and benefits of autism service dogs, PTSD services dogs and diabetic service dogs.

Although all dog owners may feel the emotional benefits of owning a dog, the dog needs to be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness such as anxiety or depression to legally be considered an ESA. Emotional Support dogs can be of any age and any breed whereas service dogs usually begin training as puppies.

In addition to being prescribed by a mental health professional, owners may wish for their dog to undergo more specific training. If you are looking for emotional support dog training in your local area, Dog Training Elite Richmond has you covered.

The professional dog trainers of Dog Training Elite Richmond are experienced with training various types of therapy animals. Trainers work with a dog’s natural temperament to ensure a strong, loving bond between dog and owner. Training can be personalized to fit the needs of the owner.

It is important to note that Emotional Support Animals are meant for just that - emotional support. Dogs trained to assist with specific tasks that may be associated with a disability are service animals. Training a dog to be an Emotional Support Animal or a therapy dog is less intensive than training to be a service animal.

Therapy Animals are very similar to Emotional Support Animals, except that they are often used to bolster the mental health and wellbeing of a community, as opposed to just an individual. Therapy dogs are often seen serving in hospitals, rehabilitation or care centers with their owners.

Owners who feel their dog may be a good fit for this kind of community service can have them receive top-notch training from Dog Training Elite Richmond.

The most important thing to note as a difference between Emotional Support Animals, Therapy and Service dogs, is service animals are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act which states service animals must be able to accompany their owners wherever they go. Emotional Support and Therapy animals do not have the same protections and public establishments may have their own rules about ESA and therapy dogs.

Whether you’re ready to get a new lease on life with the help of a service dog, or strengthen the existing bond with your dog, Dog Training Elite Richmond has the experience and resources you need.

Our Balanced Theory

We base our training around the "Classical Conditioning" model (a.k.a. "Pavlovian" or "respondent conditioning"). This includes developing conditioned or automatic reflexes to commands. In its simplest form (after proper conditioning), when the owner says "sit," the dog automatically sits without thinking about it. Our unique techniques ensure our program is a success no matter what behavior we encounter.


Dog Training Elite Richmond is the top company near you that uses professional positive dog training methods.
Empowering Owners

We empower owners to train so their dog knows who to obey at all times.

Personalized

We deal with problem behaviors on a personal basis.

Environment Specific

We train wherever issues tend to arise (i.e. jogging, park, home).

Supportive

We support owners in the off-hours (when training is "not in session").

Involved

We work with all members of the household.

Simplified & Customized

We plan training around the owner's schedule and require only 15 min/day follow-up practice.

Continued Training

Additional programs / group sessions offered after in-home training.

Lifetime Investment

We follow up & are invested in the owner's success long-term.

Satisfaction Ratings

Our high client satisfaction rating sets us apart from competitors.

See Our Pricing

We help your dog become a valued companion and beloved member of the family. Read what our customers have to say and then give us a call!

Fantastic program! Very systematic, sensible and clear. My dog and I found it easy to commit to the 15-20 minutes of practice a day and the results are life changing! THANKS Paul!
— Carol Straus
Posted November 29th 2022
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Paul is absolutely wonderful! Empowering me as the owner to be an important part of the process. My family and I are very happy with the results! Thank you Paul And DTE!
— joesph williams
Posted November 17th 2022
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I'm so grateful for Paul and DTE. The progress my dog has done in these last couple of months has been amazing. I'm looking forward to my dog's service dog training after completing her obedience training. She's been great to me so far and has helped me through tough times, but I know Paul with DTE can make sure she's doing the best she can and help me better than she is now.
— Natalia Segarra
Posted November 9th 2022
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I definitely recommend Dog Training Elite! Paul is very friendly, patient and informative. He sets you and your pup up for success with hands-on instruction as well as giving you a better understanding of how dogs think. I'm looking forward to seeing my pup's progress continue!
— Christina Marie
Posted October 25th 2022
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Paul has been great with my German Shepherd! He doesn't pull on a leash and is well behaved in public.
— Becky Carmean
Posted October 6th 2022
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Paul with DTE was absolutely wonderful to work with! We all feel lucky to have found him and incredibly pleased with our investment in our fur babies. You most certainly CAN teach an old dog new tricks! Patience and consistency are virtues you will need through this endeavor, but the satisfaction and pride you'll feel both for your own perseverance, as well as your pups, is so worth all of the time and hard work!! We're looking forward to group sessions and are excited to see what new adventures we'll enjoy as a family. Buster, Mae, and Goose fell "in love" and "in line" when Paul entered our home and we'll be forever grateful for his knowledge and expertise. Many people are quick to judge when discussing e-collars but we truly feel that if they took the time to go through even one training session with Paul, their perception WILL be shifted, especially after witnessing the power of redirection and repetition first hand. Dogs love structure and they love pleasing their humans, so if you're in need of some excellent training with the option to gain a lifetime friend, give Paul with DTE a call! ~M&M
— Megan O'Leary
Posted July 9th 2022
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We were at the end of our rope with our dog and were extremely frustrated with his misbehavior. Dog Training Elite changed our life and our relationship with our dog. Thank you for helping us save our dog!!!
— Christie Pitsinger
Posted June 24th 2022
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I highly recommend Dog Training Elite! From their training methods to the care and respect they show towards the dogs and owners, you can’t go wrong!
— Cassie Frank
Posted June 16th 2022
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I had just about lost hope for my overly excited but super loving pup. We had tried other training methods to no avail, but meeting Paul Hearn was a game changer! In just six weeks she went from excessive barking, bolting out doors, jumping, etc to super chill and well behaved. We appreciate you so much, Paul!
— Jen Ferguson
Posted June 13th 2022
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We got Paul to help us with our two year old lab so she would come and stay when we needed. He helped teach her a new command every visit so she could understand and we could understand what to do so she would be better behaved.
— Jon Dossie
Posted June 12th 2022
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Paul will undoubtedly take amazing care of your dog. Don’t hesitate to call him if you are in need. He’s a great guy and a great trainer!
— Nadia Summo
Posted June 3rd 2022
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I 100% recommend Dog training elite Richmond Paul has done wonders with my once rowdy German shepherd tremendous results in just a little bit of time! I really look forward to continue to use them for dog training! If you are looking for a dog trainer look no further!💗
— Shelby Taylor
Posted May 25th 2022
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Paul is a great guy! He is professional, punctual and committed to delivering results. Paul is very family forward with excellent customer service skills. He is passionate about giving back to the community and driving quality results. Highly recommend if you are looking to improve your relationship with your furry friend!
— Kyle Christie
Posted May 12th 2022
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Paul and Elite training has been a great help with my two year old westie. Being able to work in my own home on a one to one basis is a real plus. His explanations are easily understood by the dog and owner!
— Robert Fischer
Posted May 10th 2022
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Good training starts with understanding how dogs think and how to integrate their needs into a schedule. Consistency is key. We appreciated having help in our own home to make sure we got off on the right foot with our puppy. Service was professional and friendly!
— Fronkie L'Heureux
Posted May 9th 2022
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I’ve known Paul for 15+ years and know him to be an outstanding and honest person. I’m so happy for his new career. He’ll be great!
— Jacquelyn Canaday
Posted April 5th 2022
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Paul is absolutely amazing. Very professional, answered our questions, reasonably priced. Highly recommend.
— Kathleen Dooley-Wolfe
Posted March 31st 2022
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Proud Sponsor of The Malinois Foundation

At Dog Training Elite Richmond, we believe that Service Dogs save lives. It is our mission to make these life-saving companions available to our Veterans, First Responders, Women Survivors, and Children with Medical Needs. Whether it be for PTSD, Mobility Support, or Special Needs, Dog Training Elite Richmond work's with the Malinois Foundation to heal and empower these individuals with a specialized service animal, a partner in life, and a new best friend.

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Proud local partner with Chesterfield Gives Back Charity

Chesterfield Gives Back was established to provide a means for our community to give thanks to those who serve us, our First Responders. Dog Training Elite Richmond partners with Chesterfield Gives Back to accomplished this by taking charitable donations and funding events, such as the First Responder Appreciation Day, that are free to First Responders and their families. In addition, we facilitate many other means of recognition and thanks for those who serve our community and those in need."

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Dog Training Elite Richmond - AKC STar Puppy Instructor
Dog Training Elite Richmond - Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
Dog Training Elite Richmond - AKC Community Canine
Dog Training Elite Richmond - PRTA Pro
Dog Training Elite Richmond - IACP Member
Dog Training Elite Richmond - AKC Member