Overview – Service Dog Program


PEACEABLE PAWS SERVICE DOG PROGRAM

Welcome to our service dog training program! This program was created to make service dogs accessible to those who need them but cannot afford to buy a trained dog or pay for expensive service dog training. In this program, we will guide you through the complex and demanding process of training your own service dog. As an added benefit, you’ll have the advantage of training your dog to suit your specific needs.

Our program is open to anyone who is interested, and will benefit any dog owner who admires a service dog’s public manners and advanced skills and wants to accomplish these with his/her own dog. While any dog can take the program, only those who are legitimate service dogs and satisfactorily pass all levels of the program will be eligible to receive a Service Dog Completion certificate. Non-service dogs will receive Graduation Certificates. In addition to successful completion of the program, the dog owner must present a veterinarian’s letter verifying a dog’s soundness and suitability for service dog work, and a physician’s letter recommending a service dog for the client, in order to obtain the final Service Dog Certificate.

The program includes the Puppy Kindergarten/Puppy Service Dog Foundations (highly recommended but not required), the Basic Good Manners/Adult Service Dog Foundations class (required) and five additional phases of classes: Intermediate Manners/Service Dog 1, Advanced Manners/Service Dog 2, Beyond Manners/Service Dog 3, Service Dog 4, and Service Dog 5 classes. Each class builds on the skills learned in the previous class and classes must be taken in order. Detailed information about each class is included below.

It is important to understand that not all dogs are appropriate for service dog work.  A working dog’s life is mentally and physically challenging. A dog’s well-being must be the first priority when considering him/her for service dog work. Good service dog candidates are healthy, physically and mentally sound, calm, friendly, confident and comfortable in a wide variety of situations. Fearful, reactive or aggressive dogs are not appropriate service dog candidates. While minor behavioral issues may be resolved through additional behavior modification, there is no guarantee that a dog’s issues can be resolved sufficiently to enable him/her to become a suitable dog.

SERVICE DOG CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS

  • Graduation from Basic Good Manners/Adult Service Dog Foundations class
  • Graduation from Intermediate Manners/Service Dog 1 class
  • Graduation from Advanced Manners/Service Dog 2 class
  • Graduation from Beyond Manners/Service Dog 3 class
  • Graduation from Service Dog 4 class
  • Graduation from Service Dog 5 class
  • Veterinarian’s letter verifying dog’s soundness
  • Physician or mental health provider’s letter recommending/confirming the client’s need for a service dog
  • Passing Peaceable Paws skills and public access test

COST

There are five class phases in the program. Each class costs $150 (with a $10 discount for dogs who are spayed or neutered, adopted from a shelter or rescue group, or whose owner is military, retired military, senior or disabled – maximum one $10 discount). The cost of the full program from Basic Good Manners/Adult Service Dog Foundations through Service Dog 5 is $900. Puppy Kindergarten/Puppy Service Dog Foundations is an additional $150. Class fees are due and payable when registering for each class.

CLASS DESCRIPTIONS

 

Puppy Kindergarten/Puppy Service Dog Foundations class (highly recommended for future service dogs but not mandatory) includes:

  • Socialization discussion and practice
  • Learning to read body language
  • Off-leash play with other puppies
  • Dealing with common puppy behaviors like chewing, nipping, and housetraining
  • Teaching your puppy to “Bathroom” on cue
  • Proactive handling exercises
  • How to use a clicker or verbal marker
  • Teaching your puppy to automatically sit when approached
  • Building focus through Name & Attention
  • Training basic cues: Sit, Down, Leave It, Trade and Come
  • Teaching polite leash manners

New Puppy Kindergarten/Puppy Service Dog Foundations classes begin Thursdays@7:30 PM on June 6

 

 

Basic Good Manners/Adult Service Dog Foundations class (mandatory entry-level class for service dog program) includes:

  • Learning to read body language
  • How to use a clicker or verbal marker
  • Teaching your dog to “Bathroom” on cue
  • Building focus through Name & Attention
  • Basic good manners cues including: Sit, Down, Stand, Come, Leave It, Trade, Loose Leash Walking, and Wait
  • How to fade the use of treats
  • Training your dog to “Spin & Twirl”
  • Teaching your dog to automatically sit when approached
  • Helping your dog be comfortable being handled, including grabbing his or her by the collar by training “Gotcha!”
  • Keeping your dog occupied and engaged with “Find It”
  • Training “Touch” (a universally useful cue and a basic service dog behavior that is used to train your dog to push with his/her nose)
  • Using “Settle” to calm your dog

Basic Good Manners/Adult Service Dog Foundations graduation requirements:

  • Attend at least four out of six classes
  • Enter the training center politely
  • Name and Attention with distractions
  • Sit and Down on verbal cue
  • Loose leash walking

Additional requirements to register for Intermediate Manners/Service Dog 1:

  • Sit when approached
  • Leave It with treat exposed
  • Settle

New Basic Good Manners/Adult Service Dog Foundations classes begin Thursdays@6:00 PM on June 6

 

Intermediate Manners/Service Dog 1 class includes:

Prerequisite: Graduation from Basic Good Manners/Adult Service Dog Foundations.

  • Building on the behaviors learned in Basic Good Manners/Adult Service Dog Foundations
  • Socialization discussion and activities
  • Exercises to build impulse control
  • Adding “Say Hello” to Polite Greetings to cue release
  • Leave It next steps and proofing (working with increasingly challenging situations and distractions)
  • Learning to calmly walk past other dogs
  • Calling your dog from distractions
  • Transitioning “Touch” to targeting a mark
  • How and when to use desensitization and counter-conditioning
  • Husbandry (e.g. grooming, appearance, health, etc.)
  • Training Heel and Stay
  • Teaching “Go to Place”
  • Increasing duration in “Settle” position

Graduation requirements to qualify for Advanced Good Manners/Service Dog 2:

  • Attend at least four out of six classes
  • Leave It with various objects on the floor
  • Dogs sits and makes eye contact with handler when approached
  • Heel combined with Sit
  • Walking calmly past another dog
  • Stay for 1 minute

New Intermediate Manners/Service Dog 1 classes begin on Wednesdays in July 2019 (on website soon)

Advanced Manners/Service Dog 2 class includes:

Prerequisite: Graduation from Intermediate Manners/Service Dog 1.

  • Continuing the behaviors learned in Basic Good Manners/Adult Service Dog Foundations and Intermediate Good Manners/Adult Service Dog 1
  • Leave It, Go to Place, Heel, and Wait next steps
  • Increasing duration, distance and distractions during Stay
  • Discuss the proper etiquette and safety while riding in vehicles
  • Learning how to use Shaping to train behaviors
  • Training advanced Heeling and walking on the opposite side (“Side”)
  • Ignoring offered attention during polite greetings
  • Beginning service public access behaviors: Under (Down/Stay under table or chair)
  • Training chin rest (behavior to calm a person, also useful for husbandry procedures)
  • Teaching to move backward
  • Training Stand-Stay
  • Learning how to generalize (maintaining behaviors in various situations/locations) and proof (working with distractions) cued behaviors

Graduation requirements to qualify for Beyond Manners/Service Dog 3:

  • Attend at least four out of six classes
  • Down/Stay for two minutes (handler with dog)
  • Stay while handler walks in circle around dog, as well as when people walk by (handler with dog)
  • Automatically sit and focus on handler when approached by enthusiastic person
  • Leave It with food on table or floor
  • Heel combined with Sit and Down
  • Under without luring

New Advanced Manners/Service Dog 2 classes begin Wednesdays@7:30 on May 15 and on Wednesdays in July 2019

Beyond Manners/Service Dog 3 class includes:

Prerequisite: Graduation from Advanced Manners/Service Dog 2.

  • Continuing the behaviors learned in Basic Good Manners/Adult Service Dog Foundations, Intermediate Manners/Adult Service Dog 1 & Advanced Manners/Service Dog 2
  • Increasingly challenging Polite Greetings, including ignoring offered treats
  • Learning to target with paws
  • Continued work on Leave It, Stay, and Heel
  • Building duration, distance and distractions for Go to Place and Under
  • Incorporating sits and downs in Side position
  • Maintaining focus while working in proximity to other dogs
  • Cueing sit and down from a distance
  • Introducing tasks specific to handler’s needs

Graduation requirements to qualify for Service Dog 4:

  • Attend at least four out of six classes
  • Down/Stay while handler moves ten feet away and chats with someone
  • Stay with major distractions
  • Under for three minutes
  • Heel with major distractions
  • Side combined with Sit and Down
  • Automatically sit and focus on handler when approached, as well as ignore offered attention or treats

New Beyond Manners/Service Dog 3 classes begin Tuesdays@7:30 in July 2019 (on website soon)

Service Dog 4 class includes:

Prerequisite: Graduation from Beyond Manners/Service Dog 3 class.

  • Continuing the behaviors learned in Basic Good Manners/Adult Service Dog Foundations, Intermediate Manners/Adult Service Dog 1, Advanced Manners/Service Dog 2, and Beyond Manners/Service Dog 3
  • Increasing duration, distance and distractions for Go to Place, Under and Stay
  • Working on handler-specific tasks
  • Public outings to work on Stay, Heel, Leave It, Polite Greetings/Say Hello, etc.

Graduation requirements to qualify for Service Dog 5:

  • Attend at least four out of six classes
  • Down/Stay for three minutes while handler moves fifteen feet away
  • Under for five minutes
  • To be determined, according to handler-specific needs/tasks

Service Dog 5 class includes:

Prerequisite: Graduation from Service Dog 4 class.

  • Public outings to work on all manners cues and continue proofing Stay, Heel, Leave It, Polite Greetings/Say Hello, etc.
  • Finishing handler-specific task training
  • Other behaviors to be determined

Graduation requirements to apply for Service Dog Certificate:

  • Attend at least four out of six classes.
  • Passing Peaceable Paws skills and public access test
  • To be determined, according to handler-specific needs/tasks