Much forethought is needed before deciding that this training approach is the best direction to go. An ‘apprentice’ assistance/service dog affects the entire family – and potentially even friends. It is a 24/7 commitment for the life of the dog. Training every day with the dog, a shadow, a mate a friend!
These are very special dogs that are trained to cope with the special requirements of their handler. They cannot be the family dog as they need to answer only to their handler with whom they need to be 24/7.
Not all dogs and breeds suited to this work; ideally it needs to be from a genetic line of dogs specifically trained for this work. Whilst we do our best to consider most breeds, sometimes the breed selected or dog at home may not be suitable for the job in which case, applicants will be advised. It requires the best possible nutrition you can afford, has to be with you 24/7 to underpin the bond and enforce the dog’s intuitive reaction, it needs twice annual vet check-up and more. The dog needs to go through a suitability and aptitude test.
Applications must be accompanied by a very recent (less than 30 days old) supporting letter from a medical professional (like a psychiatrist, psychologist, specialist) describing the applicant’s medical condition, but also the benefits that the professional can see in getting a special dog.
We endeavour to assist as many applicants as we can, but we have limitations even with our great Trainers under our Mentoring programme.
Some applicants may have their own dog which SDT may consider accepting into the programme provided we believe the dog is suitable for the task at hand, has the right social skills and perceived ‘public acceptance’. Our special dogs need to be ‘bomb proof’ in any situation and therefore these are ‘special dogs’. Owners of all existing dogs will have to go through an in-depth questionnaire, accompanied by relevant video clips in MP4 format, please. The material will be reviewed and the outcome discussed with you.
Please read Considerations before applying for a Service/Assistance dog before submitting any application.
We do not actively find dogs for handlers, but we can make recommendations about the breed selection of a ‘special dog’– but the commitment is taken on by the client; SDT would merely advise on dog selection and purchase. We work closely with a select number of breeders who breed puppies especially for this very special work, clean and healthy blood lines, and proven records. Details are available to contact them directly (see fact sheet section).
Will only retain clients if our recommendations and pedagogy are followed. Whilst we do our best to consider most breeds, sometimes the breed you have selected or have at home may not be suitable for this job and we reserve the sole right to advise you of this and will only accept you as a possible client with our recommendations adhered to.
For special needs children with ASD, please review our selection recommendations as we only get one chance, best we make it work!
If you need help, send us an email, we will always reply and if we cannot help you try and make a recommendation for you to consider.