Frequently asked questions
What will I be learning?
The tentative course breakdown is as follows:
These “no dog” lessons will cover dog behavior, general health, service dog and public access laws, how to evaluate service dog candidates and additional important topics.
Dog evaluations, basic dog handling.
Basic Obedience, household manners, and advanced obedience in preparation for public socialization.
Identifying negative emotions that the dogs will be responding to and assisting with later on.
Addressing fear and other obstacles with your dog.
Introducing individual, specialized training.
Main focus on specialized skill training – alerting and response skills customized to meet your specific needs.
More specialized skill training. Overview of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Testing.
Review, individualized help
ADI and CGC Testing
What if I miss a class?
Your instructor will be available for 30 minutes prior to class each week to review the previous session and help those who missed previously.
What is the difference between Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals (ESA) and Therapy Dogs?
Service dog is
trained to perform a task or do a job, that the owner can’t do on their own due to a physical, intellectual, or emotional impairment.
ESA or Therapy dog is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefits to a person or persons. These animals do not have to be trained for their role.
People often confuse them and don't realize that Service dogs are trained to help a person with mental illness perform specific behaviors, such as, but not limited to; reminding a person to take medication, alerting if help is needed, waking up a person having a nightmare or interrupting a panic attack or other harmful behaviours.
ESA or Therapy dog is not task-trained to perform any of those type of essential function behaviors and thus do not have the same legal protections as Service dogs that are allowed in just about any and every public space.
Where do you recommend students obtain dogs for training?
SSD recommends you allow me to be part of the process of choosing a suitable dog for the program using rescued and unwanted dogs. I will help you carefully select from dog pounds and shelters in the St. John's and surrounding areas.
Also please consider reading
"Unicorn Wanted! A practical Guide to Service Dog Selection" it's a Practical Guide to Service Dog Selection to address the overwhelming need for reliable information to find the right dog! Most dogs selected by individuals who want to train their own dogs just aren’t appropriate for the work.
Myself or someone in my home has pet allergies. Is it possible to get a low-shedding, low-allergy service dog?
One of the benefits of working with SSD is the desire to match a dog to the needs of you and your household as well as possible. In response to the growing need for non-shedding dogs, we will look at finding standard poodles and labradoodles for families that request them. Depending upon availability, there may be an additional fee for a non-shedding dog, as they can be more difficult to obtain. If you desire a non-shedding dog, please let me know during your assessment interview.
Will Signal Service Dogs accept a dog I already own for Co-Train?
SSD may evaluate your own dog for training. However, in most cases, your dog will not be suitable for service work. Please do NOT go out and select a dog or puppy with the idea that it will become your service dog. (Please also see answer for question 3 below)
What is recommended age of dog for Co-Train program?
I recommend all dogs be at least 10 months of age at the time Co-Train classes begin.
Ideally dogs 18-24 months are best because at this age they are mature enough for service dog work, but young enough to have a long working life expectancy.
I have other pets; dog, cat, rabbit, moose - Is that okay?
So long as other pets are not aggressive toward the service dog, it is fine. Having young puppies in the home when a service dog enters is difficult for all involved, so we discourage acquiring a puppy before or during the training of a service dog.