SERVICE DOG TRAINING

WHAT IS A SERVICE DOG?

A Service Dog is a dog specifically trained to help their owner with their disability. There are many different types of Service Dogs like psychiatric, mobility, medical alert and response, hearing alert dogs, autism support dogs and allergen detection. Here at Heeling Souls we specialize in Psychiatric Service Dogs for people with disabilities such as: anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, PTSD and more. We can also train tasks for autism, light mobility and medical response. Our Service Dogs can be trained to do tasks such as: deep pressure therapy, crowd control, guide to an exit, find a family member, retrieve medication and water, medical alert and response, behaviour interruptions, turning lights on and off, opening and shutting doors and more. 

A Service Dog handler stands with their Service Dog standing tucked under a desk.
A Service Dog handler and their Service Dog wait to be served at a fast-food restaurant.

EVALUATING A CURRENT DOG

If you already have a existing service dog or pet dog you think would be a good candidate for service work we can conduct an evaluation to determine if your dog is suited for service work. If your dog passes we can start training. It is important to keep in mind that evaluations are consistently happening and that not all dogs will make it to graduation if the dog is not fully suited to be a Service Dog. If your dog doesn't pass the evaluation we can talk about other options like having your dog as an at home Service Dog or getting a puppy to train.

PICKING A PUPPY

If you don't already have a dog we can help you find an appropriate breeder and test the litter. We can be with you every step of the way from socializing to training and more. Picking the right puppy is super important. You want your puppy to be able to pass all testing and have the best chance of success. When testing a litter we conduct the Volhard puppy test on all the puppies to find the best prospect for you.

A Service Dog sits beside their handler in a store
A Service Dog is laying down in a tucked position under the handler's legs in a store.

AT HOME SERVICE DOGS

Service Dogs are trained to go everywhere with their handler with very few exceptions. Since the dog will be in public it must be very highly trained and some dogs are just not suited for public access. These dogs can still be trained to help with your disability at home. We call them at home Service Dogs, they still task and help you and are able to accompany you to pet friendly places only.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW 
Our program consists of 4 phases each building off the last, after completing phase 4 you get to take your graduation test. Upon completion of your graduation test you receive your certificate of completion; this is NOT a certification. In Ontario there's no certification for Service Dogs you can find more information on this in our FAQ. Our program is typically complete over 6 months to 2 years, on average it takes a Service Dog 2 years from start to finish. This time frame can vary depending on how often you're able to train and your dog's abilities when you start. If you have a dog that already knows advanced obedience and public access and only needs task training it won't take you as long as if you were to start with a puppy.