Service Dogs

 

Service Dog Program: Call for More Details & Individual Prices

 
 
Your dog will be trained to the individual needs of the client's disabilities. This will involve several more months of training beyond our 16 Week Foundational Puppy Training Program. Most service dogs are 8-10 months when they leave Phase I of our program. They will be registered through the United States Service Dog Registry. They will be fully equipped for service.
 
If you are needing a trained service dog, you will need to submit your online application. Once that has been approved, we will set up a phone conference with Carol our Head Trainer to determine if we can meet your specific need.  
 
Our primary focus is:
  • PTSD Dogs
  • Emotional Support/Comfort Dogs
  • Diabetic Alert Dogs
  • Epilepsy Alert Dogs
  • Austism Support Dogs
  • Basic Service Dogs trained specifically to assist the needs of our special needs clients, primarily children.

Our SERVICE DOG PROGRAM has three Phases:

Phase I - Initial Consult with Trainer to determine qualification. Once accepted, we will match you with a puppy and they will begin The 16 week Foundational Puppy Program. This is generally for puppies 2-6 months of age and takes approximately 4 months to complete. This is a prerequisite to begin Phase II.

Phase II - This is generally for puppies 6 -10 months of age and takes approximately 4 month to complete. This is a prerequisite to begin Phase III. During this phase we maintain training/socialization, maturing=typically done with client or at our Puppy University in Daphne, Al.

Phase III - This is generally for puppies 10 -14 months of age and takes approximately 4 months to complete. During this phase of training the puppy will be required to come back to Doodle School and will stay with the trainer in their home until Phase III training is completed. 

 For more information about our Doodle Prep School or Service Dog program, Please Contact our Prep School Coordinator at info@smeraglia.com  

 

Our SERVICE DOG PROGRAM has three Phases:

Phase I - Initial Consult with Trainer to determine qualification. Once accepted, we will match you with a puppy and they will begin The 16 week Foundational Puppy Program. This is generally for puppies 2-6 months of age and takes approximately 4 months to complete. This is a prerequisite to begin Phase II.

Phase II - This is generally for puppies 6 -10 months of age and takes approximately 4 month to complete. This is a prerequisite to begin Phase III. During this phase we maintain training/socialization, maturing=typically done with client or at our Puppy University in Daphne, Al.

Phase III - This is generally for puppies 10 -14 months of age and takes approximately 4 months to complete. During this phase of training the puppy will be required to come back to Doodle School and will stay with the trainer in their home until Phase III training is completed. 

 For more information about our Doodle Prep School or Service Dog program, Please Contact our Prep School Coordinator at info@smeraglia.com  
 
Service Dog Training Plan:

At each phase we need to meet both the training objectives and the developmental/age requirements:

  • 7wks:  Temp Test done to screen for candidate

  • PHASE 1 ( puppy raising/foundation training)=Typically done with trainers

  • Initial Consult with Trainer to determine qualification. Once accepted, we will match you with a puppy and they will begin The 16 week Foundational Puppy Program. This is generally for puppies 2-6 months of age and takes approximately 4 months to complete. This is a prerequisite to begin Phase II.
    • Vaccinations completed to state regulations

    • preliminary health screenings completed

    • microchipped

    • spayed/neutered

    • Socialization

      • initially in home environments (until good and vaccinations to safe point)

      • 2nd in calmer/easy environments

      • 3rd in dog allowed environments in general

    • checked for behavioral disqualifiers

      • aggressiveness, fearfulness

      • lack of desire for work

    • preliminary obedience training completed

      • without removing later needed behaviors

      • normal basic obedience commands

      • manners good

      • house behavior good

      • crate trained

      • potty trained

      • foundation commands for later service behaviors

  • Phase 2 (maintain training/socialization, maturing)=typically done with client or at our Puppy University in Daphne, Al.

    • This phase is all about waiting. Be careful not to push beyond current capabilities.  It is better to take longer than to push and create a problem.

    • We are waiting for physical and emotional maturity.  We are also wanting for as much foundation training to be completed as possible  during this time.

    • During Phase 1, the training reached a point that we are no longer really working on new behaviors.  We are only practicing and adding difficulty to the behaviors already done.  

    • This is also the age to socialize as much as possible and introduce to as much as possible that will be needed later.

      • cars and riding in cars

      • different surface to walk on

      • varying weather conditions for potty

      • stairs, elevators, escalators

      • etc.

 

  • Phase 3 (Service Training)= typically done with trainers. During this phase we work towards the following goals. 

Training Standards

These are intended to be minimum standards for all assistance dog programs. All programs are encouraged to work at levels above the minimums.

  1. The service dog must respond to commands (basic obedience and skilled tasks) from the client 90% of the time on the first ask in all public and home environments.

  2. The service dog should demonstrate basic obedience skills by responding to voice and/or hand signals for sitting, staying in place, lying down, walking in a controlled position near the client and coming to the client when called.

  3. The service dog must meet all of the standards as laid out in the minimum standards for Assistance Dogs in Public and should be equally well behaved in the home.

  4. The service dog must be trained to perform at least 3 tasks to mitigate the client’s disability or one alert behavior.

  5. The client must be provided with enough instruction to be able to meet the ADI Minimum Standards for Assistance Dogs in Public. The client must be able to demonstrate:

  • That their dog can perform at least 3 tasks.

  • Knowledge of acceptable training techniques.

  • An understanding of canine care and health.

  • The ability to maintain training, problem solve, and continue to train/add new skills (as required) with their service dog.

  • Knowledge of local access laws and appropriate public behavior.

  • The assistance dog program must document monthly follow ups with clients for the first 6 months following placement. Personal contact will be done by qualified staff or program volunteer within 12 months of graduation and annually thereafter.

  • Identification of the service dog will be accomplished with the laminated ID card with a photo(s) and names of the dog and partner. In public the dog must wear a cape, harness, backpack, or other similar piece of equipment or clothing with a logo that is clear and easy to read and identifiable as assistance dogs.

  • The program staff must demonstrate knowledge of the client’s disabilities in relation to the services they provide. The program shall make available to staff and volunteers educational material on different disabilities.

  • The client must abide by the ADI Minimum Standards of Assistance Dog Partners.

  • Prior to placement every service dog must meet the ADI Standards and Ethics Regarding Dogs, be spayed/neutered and have current vaccination certificates as determined by their veterinarian and applicable laws and be microchipped. It is the program’s responsibility to inform the client of any special health or maintenance care requirements for each dog. 

Service/Assistant Dogs in Public

There are guidelines on the public appropriateness, behavior and training expected of a dog working in public places.

These are intended to be minimum standards for all assistance dog programs. All programs are encouraged to work at levels above the minimums.

1. Public appropriateness

  • Dog is clean, well-groomed and does not have an offensive odor.

  • Dog does not urinate or defecate in inappropriate locations.

2. Behavior

  • Dog does not solicit attention, visit or annoy any member of the general public.

  • Dog does not disrupt the normal course of business.

  • Dog does not vocalize unnecessarily, i.e. barking, growling or whining.

  • Dog shows no aggression towards people or other animals.

  • Dog does not solicit or steal food or other items from the general public.

3. Training

  • Dog is specifically trained to perform 3 or more tasks to mitigate aspects of the client’s disability.

  • Dog works calmly and quietly on harness, leash or other tether.

  • Dog is able to perform its tasks in public.

  • Dog must be able to lie quietly beside the handler without blocking aisles, doorways, etc.

  • Dog is trained to urinate and defecate on command.

  • Dog stays within 24″ of its handler at all times unless the nature of a trained task requires it to be working at a greater distance.

 


 

SAMPLE TEST

PURPOSE: The purpose of this Public Access Test is to ensure that dogs who have public access are stable, well-behaved, and unobtrusive to the public. It is to ensure that the client has control over the dog and the team is not a public hazard. This test is NOT intended as a substitute for the skill/task test that should be given by the program. It is to be used in addition to those skill/task tests. It is expected that the test will be adhered to as closely as possible. If modifications are necessary, they should be noted in the space provided at the end of the test.

DISMISSAL: Any dog that displays any aggressive behavior (growling, biting, raising hackles, showing teeth, etc.) will be eliminated from the test. Any dog that eliminates in a building or shows uncontrollable behavior will be eliminated from the test.

BOTTOM LINE: The bottom line of this test is that the dog demonstrates that he/she is safe to be in public and that the person demonstrates that he/she has control of the dog at all times.

TESTING EQUIPMENT: All testing shall be done with equipment appropriate to the needs and abilities of the team. All dogs shall be on-lead at all times except in the vehicle at which time it is optional.

This test is to take place in a public setting such as a mall where there are a lot of people and natural distractions. The individual will handle the dog and can use any reasonable/humane equipment necessary to ensure his/her control over the dog.

The evaluator will explain the test thoroughly before the actual testing, during which he/she will follow discreetly to observe when not directly interacting with the individual on a test related matter. The only things an evaluator needs are a clip board, an assistant, another dog, a plate with food, and access to a shopping cart.

COMMANDS: Commands may be given to the dog In either hand signals or verbal signals or both.

  1. CONTROLLED UNLOAD OUT OF VEHICLE: After a suitable place has been found, the individual will unload the dog and any necessary equipment (wheelchair, walker, crutches, etc.) out of the vehicle. The dog must wait until released before coming out of the vehicle. Once outside, it must wait quietly unless otherwise instructed by the Individual. The dog may not run around, be off lead, or ignore commands given by the individual. Once the team is out of the vehicle and settled, the assistant should walk past with another dog. they should walk within six (6) feet of the team. The Assistance Dog must remain calm and under control, not pulling or trying to get to the other dog.

  2. The emphasis on this is that the Assistance Dog remain unobtrusive and is unloaded in the safest manner possible for everyone.

  3. APPROACHING THE BUILDING: After unloading, the team must maneuver through the parking lot to approach the building. The dog must stay in a relative heel position and may not forge ahead or lag behind. The dog must not display a fear of cars or traffic noises and must display a relaxed attitude. When the individual stops for any reason, the dog must stop also.

  4. CONTROLLED ENTRY THROUGH A DOORWAY: Once at the doors of the building, the individual may enter however he/she chooses to negotiate the entry safely. Upon entering the building; however, the dog may not wander off or solicit attention from the public. The dog should wait quietly until the team is fully inside then should calmly walk beside the individual. The dog must not pull or strain against the lead or try to push its way past the individual but must wait patiently while entry is completed.

  5. HEELING THROUGH THE BUILDING: Once inside the building, the individual and the dog must walk through the area in a controlled manner. The dog should always be within touching distance where applicable or no greater than a foot away from the individual. The dog should not solicit public attention or strain against the lead (except in cases where the dog may be pulling the individual’s wheelchair). The dog must readily adjust to speed changes, turn corners promptly, and travel through a crowded area without interacting with the public. In tight quarters, the dog must be able to get out of the way of obstacles and not destroy merchandise by knocking it over or by playing with it.

  6. SIX FOOT RECALL ON LEAD: A large, open area should be found for the six foot recall. Once found, the individual will perform a six foot recall with the dog remaining on lead. The individual will sit the dog, leave it, travel six feet, then turn and call the dog to him/her. The dog should respond promptly and not stop to solicit attention from the public or ignore the command. The dog should come close enough to the individual to be readily touched. For Guide Dogs, they must actually touch the person to indicate location. The recall should be smooth and deliberate without the dog trudging to the individual or taking any detours along the way.

  7. SITS ON COMMAND: The team will be asked to demonstrate the Individual’s ability to have the dog sit three different times. The dog must respond promptly each time with no more than two commands. There should not be any extraordinary gestures on the part of the people approaching the dog. Normal, reasonable behavior on the part of the people is expected.

  8. The first sit will be next to a plate of food placed upon the ground. The dog must not attempt to eat or sniff the food. The individual may correct the dog verbally or physically away from the food, but then the dog must maintain a sit while ignoring the food. The dog should not be taunted or teased with the food. This situation should be made as realistic as possible.

  9. The second sit will be executed, and the assistant with a shopping cart will approach within three feet of the dog and continue on past. The dog should maintain the sit and not show any fear of the shopping cart. If the dog starts to move, the individual may correct the dog to maintain the sit.

  10. The last sit will be a sit with a stay as a person walks up behind the team, talks to the person and then pets the dog. The dog must hold position. The dog may not break the stay to solicit attention. The individual may repeat the stay command along with reasonable physical corrections.

  11. DOWNS ON COMMAND: The down exercises will be performed in the same sequence as the sits with the same basic stipulations. The first down will be at a table where food will be dropped on the floor. The dog should not break the down to go for the food or sniff at the food. The individual may give verbal and physical corrections to maintain the down. There should not be any extraordinary gestures on the part of the people approaching the dog. Normal, reasonable behavior from the people is expected.

  12. The second down will be executed, and then an adult and child should approach the dog. The dog should maintain the down and not solicit attention. If the child pets the dog, the dog must behave appropriately and not break the stay. The individual may give verbal and physical corrections if the dog begins to break the stay.

  13. NOISE DISTRACTION: The team will be heeling along and the tester will drop a clipboard to the ground behind the team. The dog may acknowledge the noise, but may not in any way show aggression or fear. A normal startle reaction Is fine–the dog may jump and or turn–but the dog should quickly recover and continue along on the heel. The dog should not become aggressive, begin shaking, etc.

  14. RESTAURANT: The team and tester should enter a restaurant and be seated at a table. The dog should go under the table or, if size prevents that, stay close by the individual. The dog must sit or lie down and may move a bit for comfort during the meal, but should not be up and down a lot or need a lot of correction or reminding. This would be a logical place to do the food drop during a down. (See #7)

  15. OFF LEAD: Sometime during the test, where appropriate, the person will be instructed to drop the leash while moving so it is apparent to the dog. The individual must show the ability to maintain control of the dog and get the leash back in its appropriate position. this exercise will vary greatly depending on the person’s disabilities. The main concern is that the dog be aware that the leash is dropped and that the person Is able to maintain control of the dog and get the leash back into proper position.

  16. CONTROLLED UNIT: The team will leave the building in a similar manner to entering, with safety and control being of prime importance. The team will proceed across the parking lot and back to the vehicle. The dog must be in appropriate heel position and not display any fear of vehicle or traffic sounds.

  17. CONTROLLED LOAD into VEHICLE: The individual will load the dog into the vehicle, with either entering first. The dog must not wander around the parking lot but must wait patiently for instructions. Emphasis is on safety and control.

 

Scoring Factors of the Public Access Certification Test

A= Always

M= Most of the time (more than half of time)

S= Some of the time (half or less of the time)

N= Never

  1. CONTROLLED UNLOAD OUT OF VEHICLE Dog did not try to leave vehicle until given release command.

  2. __YES* __NO The dog waited in the vehicle until released.*

  3. ___YES ___NO The dog waited outside the vehicle under control.

  4. ___YES ___NO The dog remained under control while another dog was walked past.

  5. APPROACHING THE BUILDING Relative heel position, not straining or forging.

  6. __A __M __S __N The dog stayed in relative heel position.

  7. ___YES* __NO The dog was calm around traffic.*

  8. __A __M __S __N The dog stopped when the individual came to a halt.

  9. CONTROLLED ENTRY THROUGH A DOORWAY

  10. ___YES* __NO The dog waited quietly at the door until commanded to enter.*

  11. ___YES* __NO The dog waited on the inside until able to return to heel position.*

  12. HEELING THROUGH THE BUILDING

  13. __A __M __S __N The dog was within the prescribed distance of the individual.

  14. __A __M __S __N The dog ignored the public, remaining focused on the individual.

  15. __A __M __S __N The dog readily adjusted to speed changes.

  16. __A __M __S __N The dog readily turned corners–did not have to be tugged or jerked to change direction.

  17. __A __M __S __N The dog readily maneuvered through tight quarters.

  18. SIX FOOT RECALL ON LEAD

  19. ___YES* __NO The dog responded readily to the recall command–did not stray away, seek attention from others, or trudge slowly.*

  20. ___YES* __NO The dog remained under control and focused on the individual.*

  21. ___YES* __NO The dog came within the prescribed distance of the individual.*

  22. ___YES* __NO The dog came directly to the individual.*

  23. SITS ON COMMAND

  24. __A __M __S __N The dog responded promptly to the command to sit.

  25. ___YES* __NO The dog remained under control around food–not trying to get food and not needing repeated corrections.*

  26. ___YES* __NO The dog remained composed while the shopping cart passed–did not shy away, show signs of fear, etc. shopping cart should be pushed normally and reasonable, not dramatically.*

  27. ___YES* __NO The dog maintained a sit-stay while being petted by a stranger.*

  28. DOWNS ON COMMAND

  29. __A __M __S __N The dog responded promptly to the command to down.

  30. ___YES* __NO The dog remained under control around the food–not trying to get food and not needing repeated corrections.*

  31. ___YES ___NO The dog remained in control while the child approached–child should not taunt dog or be overly dramatic.

  32. NOISE DISTRACTIONS If the dog jumps, turns, or shows a quick startle type reaction, that is fine. The dog should not show fear, aggression, or continue to be affected by the noise.

  33. ___YES* __NO The dog remained composed during the noise distraction.*

  34. RESTAURANT

  35. ___YES* __NO The dog is unobtrusive and out of the way of patrons and employees as much as possible.*

  36. ___YES* __NO The dog maintained proper behavior, ignoring food and being quiet.*

  37. OFF LEAD

  38. ___YES* __NO When told to drop the leash, the team maintained control and the individual got the leash back in position.*

  39. DOG TAKEN BY ANOTHER PERSON To show that the dog can be handled by another person without aggression or excessive stress or whining, someone else will take the dog’s leash and passively hold the dog (not giving any commands) while the dog’s partner moves 20′ away.

  40. ___YES ___NO Another person can take the dog’s leash and the dog’s partner can move away without aggression or undue stress on the part of the dog.

  41. CONTROLLED EXIT

  42. __A __M __S __N The dog stayed in relative heel position.

  43. ___YES* __NO The dog was calm around traffic.*

  44. __A __M __S __N The dog stopped when the individual came to a halt.

  45. CONTROLLED LOAD INTO VEHICLE

  46. ___YES ___NO The dog waited until commanded to enter the vehicle.

  47. ___YES ___NO The dog readily entered the vehicle upon command.

  48. TEAM RELATIONSHIP

  49. __A __M __S __N When the dog did well, the person praised the dog.

  50. __A __M __S __N The dog is relaxed, confident, and friendly.

  51. __A __M __S __N The person kept the dog under control.

Scoring:

The team must score all ‘Always’ or’ Most of the time’ responses on the A-M-S-N parts of the test.

The team must score at least 80% “yes” answers on the “yes” “no” portion of the test

All questions marked by an asterisk must be answered by a “YES” response.

Were there any unique situations that made any portion of this test not applicable?