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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service dog as “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.” Disabilities include mental or physical impairments that affect an individual’s ability to perform one or more major life activities (walking, seeing, etc.). Service dogs are trained to guide and assist such individuals so that they can lead happier, healthier lives.
Because service dogs play such a key role in the life of disabled individuals, they are protected by the law. Places of residence, employment, and commercial facilities cannot discriminate against disabled individuals with service animals. If you are wondering how to get a service dog, you can either purchase a fully trained dog or purchase a service puppy and train it.
Is A Service Dog The Same As A Therapy Dog?
Many types of working dogs increase the quality of life for their handlers. The three main categories of working dogs are service animal, therapy animal, and emotional support animal. Each category covers different areas of support and different levels of protection under the law.
As mentioned above, service animals assist individuals with disabilities. Depending on the person’s needs, the service animal learns how to perform certain tasks. Guide dogs, for example, help blind individuals safely navigate their environment. Seizure response dogs respond to their handlers when the individual is having a seizure. Service animals are highly trained and specialized, and they are also offered the most protection under the law compared to therapy or emotional support animals.
Dogs are not the only kinds of service animals - miniature horses, pigs, and monkeys are often trained to support individuals with disabilities!
Therapy dogs provide comfort and improve the mental well-being of individuals in hospitals, hospice care, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, and more. These dogs must have a friendly, calm demeanor and be comfortable when handled by strangers. Therapy dogs are not trained to perform specific tasks, but they must be obedient and well-mannered. Therapy animals are permitted in some areas where pets are not, but they have fewer protections than service animals. All therapy dogs must be certified before they can offer their services to the community.
Emotional Support Animal
Emotional support dogs relieve loneliness, anxiety, depression, and other symptoms of mental health disorders. They provide comfort to their handlers, but they are not trained to perform specific tasks. Most emotional support animals are sensitive to the emotional changes of their handler and will stay close by at all times. Emotional support animals are not protected by the ADA, but residential buildings must permit emotional support animals.
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.
Empowering OwnersWe empower owners to train so their dog knows who to obey at all times.
PersonalizedWe deal with problem behaviors on a personal basis.
Environment SpecificWe train wherever issues tend to arise (i.e. jogging, park, home).
SupportiveWe support owners in the off-hours (when training is "not in session").
InvolvedWe work with all members of the household.
Simplified & CustomizedWe plan training around the owner's schedule and require only 15 min/day follow-up practice.
Continued TrainingAdditional programs / group sessions offered after in-home training.
Lifetime InvestmentWe follow up & are invested in the owner's success long-term.
Satisfaction RatingsOur high client satisfaction rating sets us apart from competitors.
A learning process that occurs when two stimuli are repeatedly paired; a response that is at first elicited by the second stimulus and is eventually elicited by the first stimulus alone.
Proud Sponsor of The Malinois Foundation
At Dog Training Elite, 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 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.
How Do I Get A Service Dog?
If you are wondering how to get a service dog, there are a couple of different approaches. Some service dogs are purchased outright, fully trained. Or a compatible dog is selected and trained from an early age. Training a dog from the start is the best option, especially for those with specialized needs.
Training a dog to perform service responsibilities must start from day one. Only certain breeds are suited to service work, and breeders put a lot of time into raising puppies to be service animals. Once you have purchased a service puppy, additional training is necessary to prepare your puppy for life as a service dog. This is a complicated process that involves various steps. Dog Training Elite of your local area makes getting a service dog easier with our service training program.
Our talented trainers select puppies prepared for a life of service from well-respected breeders. These puppies are fully obedience trained by the age of six months and carefully monitored for behavior and temperament. Once we adopt these puppies, they undergo extensive socialization and additional training to ensure they are well-suited for service and therapy needs. When we place the puppies with families or individuals, specialized service training will take place alongside the new handler.
This program is ideal for handlers who want to take part in the developmental years and extensive training of their service puppy.
Get Your Service Dog Today
From physically assisting disabled individuals to reducing the symptoms of mental illness, service dogs are incredible companions. If you want to get a service dog, please contact us for more information!