Assistance Dog Foundations Program

Do you have a little bundle of potential in your home?

Not every dog will enjoy being a service dog or facility therapy dog, or has the right temperament for the work. But studies show that certain key aspects are vital to helping raise a dog to its potential.

A dog who was not socialized to the public in puppyhood, or who has a poor bond or adversarial relationship with their handler, will not be successful as a service dog or therapy dog.

Guide Dog and Assistance Dog schools begin training at 8 weeks of age. They have found repeatedly that a strong beginning makes a vital foundation for any potential service dog. The dogs are assessed in adulthood, and then begin their advanced training.

If you are thinking that you’d like your puppy to become a service dog some day – whether it is a psychiatric assistance dog, hearing dog, mobility support dog, guide dog, diabetic/seizure/hallucination alert dog, or a facility therapy dog, the necessary foundations are all the same.

Before any dog can start training to become an assistance dog, they must first be:

  • Socialized to public environments such as stores and malls
  • Comfortable around crowds, children, other dogs, and noisy environments
  • Closely bonded to their handler
  • Eager to work for their special person

Our Foundations Program is designed to meet those needs. We will help you socialize your dog, bond with your dog, and show you how to motivate your dog to love working for you.

You and your pup will learn lots of fun tricks and skills along the way, and if you do your homework, your puppy can even achieve a Novice Trick Dog Title along the way.

This program is 3 months long.

This program is NOT an advanced obedience course.

This program focuses on the building the dog-owner bond, teaching the puppy fun and useful skills, and socializing the dog to public access – all vital building blocks that must be in place BEFORE advanced obedience can begin.

This program is intended for:

  • People with disabilities, living in Lower Mainland BC, who are thinking of turning their dog into a service dog
  • People who work in therapeutic settings and wish their dog to assist them in their work.
  • Puppies under six months of age
  • Adult or teenage dogs who are complete beginners to obedience or trick training
  • Adult or teenage dogs who are new to your family

This program is NOT a good fit for:

  • People who do not consider themselves disabled due to mental or physical difficulties, or who do not work with disabled people.
  • Dogs over six months with fear or aggression challenges,

This program includes:

  • An in-training cape (loaned to you for the duration of the program)
  • Any recommended supplies including clickers, leashes, and toys.
  • An online classroom with group check-ins on a weekly basis
  • Education on dog psychology, and the science of learning.
  • Education on canine body language and communication.
  • Education on the human-canine bond.
  • Dog handling skills development.
  • Discussion of public access rights, laws, and etiquette.
  • Private and group in person sessions, including field trips to stores and other public places.
  • A community of other clients like you who are also training their own dog.
  • A socialization check list to complete.
  • A novice trick dog title which is recognized by the CKC and AKC. Tricks include:
    • Retrieving
    • Pressing buttons
    • Alerting you to important information
    • Following a touch target
    • Performing basic obedience commands with verbal or hand signal cues.
    • Fun stuff like this:

Do you feel this program might be a good fit for you?

You can apply here!

Have questions? Contact Us.