Often we find that the dog training community is very disjointed and competitive. We are trying to change that mindset in the service dog world. Service dog programs and trainers all have a common goal: to assist people through skillfully trained dogs. Each program and trainer is different in their training methods, program format, and the demographics they serve. This means that everyone has their speciality, and the type of client they work best with.
By networking with each other, we are able to help fill in the gaps that our programs aren't built to handle. This can include support through service dog breeding programs, referring clients to programs better suited to their disability needs, and sending service dogs in training with other service dog and therapy dog programs when a specific dog doesn't fit our own program model (example: a mobility service dog program with a training dog that doesn't enjoy object retrieval may be able to place that dog as a psychiatric service dog through another program). Networking also has the added benefit of increasing program coverage to a wider audience, which can help with fundraising, finding puppy raisers, and receiving donations.
Connecting with other programs and trainers is an amazing way to learn from each other! We strongly believe that every person and program has something to offer and teach us. Want to connect with us? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ivy and Ireland are black Labradors that will be joining the training program of New Life K9s in San Luis Obispo, CA. We look forward to following along in their journeys to be service dogs for Veterans and First Responders.
Igor is a black Labrador that will be joining the training program of Illini Service Dogs in Champaign, IL. We look forward to following along in his journey to be a mobility assistance dog.
Zora the Newfie/Lab cross will be joining the training program of Angel Paws Assistance Dogs in San Diego, California. We look forward to following along in her training journey.
Hermie will be joining the training program of Summit Assistance Dogs in Washington. Their program specializes in training mobility service dogs, so they are excited to have a puppy that will be very large for mobility work. Hermie is from our breeding program and is a Newfoundland/Labrador cross. We look forward to following along in her training journey.
K9s 4 Mobility is thrilled to accept Journey in to their service dog program. Journey is a Lab/Newfoundland cross from our breeding program. The litter was specifically bred for extra large size and steady temperament with a mobility assistance job in mind. We are thrilled that Journey will be joining them.
While in Indianapolis, we met with the team at ICAN to talk about program structure, training styles, breeding program plans, and ways we can support each other. We then sat in on their volunteer puppy raiser class.
4 Paws for Ability is a large service dog program that specializes in placing service dogs with children with disabilities all across the country. We were especially excited to talk with them about their use of Newfoundland mixes in service work since we recently started doing that as well. The amazing staff gave us a tour and talked with us about their training and breeding program.
M.D. Dogs in Lexington, Kentucky specializes in training and placing Diabetic Alert Service Dogs. They also create content to help owners train their own medical detection dogs. I met with their founder, Libby, to talk about the process of scent training medical detection dogs and using English Cocker Spaniels in her service dog program.
Meeko the lab/Newfoundland mix from our breeding program is off to Partners with Paws Service Dogs in Fredonia, Wisconsin. This program trains psychiatric, medical response, Autism, and mobility service dogs as well as facility therapy dogs. We look forward to seeing what Meeko becomes.
MidAmerica Service Dogs' Foundation trains mobility service dogs in the Chicago area. We met with some of their board members and then sat in on their training class where recipients learned how to handle their service dogs.
Illini Service Dogs is a unique campus-based service dog program that trains mobility service dogs at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana campus. Students work together to raise and train these amazing dogs, and place them with recipients free of charge.
We brainstormed how we can work together, learn from each other, and ultimately help out our communities more effectively.
Paws Giving Independence in Peoria, Illinois uses both rescue dogs and purpose-bred pups to be trained as mobility and psychiatric assistance dogs. Their trainers and volunteers met with us for lunch and then invited us to their evening puppy raiser training class. One of our service dogs in training got to participate in the wonderful training session with these dedicated volunteers.
Paws with a Cause is one of the first programs in the United States to train service dogs and hearing dogs. They graciously shared their wealth of knowledge about the service dog industry, and how their program has evolved over the years. We toured their facility which included their training rooms, breeding and puppy facility, and even where all of their equipment is made. At the end we got a demonstration on some of the service dog tasks that their dogs are trained to perform.
Partners with Paws Service Dogs in Grafton, Wisconsin is a newer program that places skilled mobility, Autism, psychiatric and medical alert/response service dogs as well as facility therapy dogs in the Southern Wisconsin region. We got to meet with their trainers and brainstorm ways we can help each other out in the future while training our dogs side by side.
OccuPaws board member Kassel met with us for lunch to chat about program ideas and the assistance dog industry as a whole. Guide Dogs are trained very differently than service dogs, so it was fun to meet with OccuPaws Guide Dog Association at their puppy raiser meeting to see those differences in action. We also gave a demonstration to their puppy raisers on what mobility/psychiatric/medical response service dogs are task trained to help people with.
Retrieving Freedom places service dogs with children with Autism and Veterans needing mobility and psychiatric support. We got to tour their facility, learn about their breeding program, and how their program has evolved over time to better serve their clients.
Patriot K9s of Wisconsin specializes in training psychiatric and mobility service dogs for Veterans. Their unique training and placement model is designed to cater to successful learning for individuals with traumatic brain injuries.
We hope to send some of our service dog candidate pups to these programs in the future.
Puppy Jake Foundation is a service dog program in Des Moines, Iowa that trains psychiatric and mobility assistance service dogs for Veterans. They graciously welcomed us to visit, take a tour, and chat with their staff about their program and mission.
After that, they let our dogs do some training at their facility.
Freedom Service Dogs is a service dog program in Englewood, Colorado placing fully trained service dogs for individuals with Autism, PTSD, and mobility challenges all across the country. Beck is a yellow Labrador with many generations of service dog lines. He is an easy-going guy with good focus. We are so grateful to Freedom Service Dogs for letting us use him in this pairing with Bitsy.
Bitsy is an amazing dog that loves to work and is very tuned into her people. She is a wonderful mom and this is going to be her second litter.
Paws Assisting Veterans (PAVE) places fully trained service dogs with Veterans free of charge. We met with one of their trainers on their property and had so much fun chatting about how we can work together moving forward.
Then we headed to Seattle to meet Atlas Assistance Dogs founder, Jennifer. Atlas helps owners train their own service dogs and also has a training program for anyone wanting to get into service dog training as a career.
In Medford, Oregon our head trainer met up with Southern Oregon Dog Training at the Rogue Valley Mall to do a joint training outing. This company helps owners train their pets and service dog prospects.
We continued further North in Oregon and sat in on two puppy raiser classes at Joys of Living Assistance Dogs. They place fully trained service dogs, and it was a pleasure seeing how much work and attention is put into each one of their training dogs.
Paws as Loving Support is a nonprofit located in Sonoma County that works to train skilled service dogs for children. The program is also very dedicated to supporting Sonoma County after so many devastating fires have affected the area. We met with two of their trainers over lunch and had a wonderful time brainstorming how we can support each other and work together in the future.
While on our Northern California Road Trip, we hosted a free service dog meet up for program service dogs and puppy raisers to get practice focusing around other working dogs. Big thanks to NICST, Dogs 4 Diabetics, First Response K9s, and Canine Companions for Independence for joining our group! We had a lot of fun at the Sun Valley Mall in Concord.
NICST trains Diabetic alert dogs, and psychiatric service dogs for First Responders. They are based in Concord, California and we drove up to the Bay Area to participated in their Hero Walk fundraiser. It was so lovely to see the service dog community come out and support this program so much!
New Life K9s is a local program to us that trains psychiatric and mobility assistance service dogs for Veterans and First Responders. We met with them to learn about their prison pups program at the California Men's Colony and then visited them at their Farmer's market booth.
Silver State Service Dogs is a program in Las Vegas, NV that trains and places psychiatric and mobility assistance service dogs. We met up at one of the local casinos to train Everest and their dog, Jinx, side by side and talk about our programs.
K9s 4 Mobility is a service dog program in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The staff gave us a tour of their facility and then service dog Heidi demonstrated how their dogs can help with laundry, pick up dropped objects, open and close doors and cabinets, and much more. This program is going to get one of our Lab/Newfie puppies from our next litter.
Canine Partners of the Rockies is an ADI Accredited mobility assistance dog program that also places facility therapy dogs. All of their dogs are placed with applicants in Colorado. Their facility is located in Aurora, Colorado.
Two of their trainers met up with me to do a combined public training session in Home Depot.
Victory Service Dogs is a program aimed at assisting Veterans in training their own service dogs. Located in Colorado Springs, CO this program holds weekly training classes at their facility and also does group outings in public settings.
This program uses the training process as part of each Veteran's healing journey.
International Hearing Dog Inc. gave us a tour of their facility, had us participate in one of their puppy raiser meetings, and then gave us a demonstration on the tasks that their hearing assistance dogs help individuals with hearing impairments.
We learned a lot in our time with them since the training of hearing dogs is very different from the training of other types of service dogs.
We spent two days with Assistance Dogs of the West! The first day we got a tour of their facility, meeting with staff trainers, volunteers and puppy raisers. We also got to join on their rail trail walk with their dogs. Day two we met up with their staff to do a joint training session with the dogs at the local mall.
Assistance Dogs of the West prides themselves on top quality fully trained assistance dogs using only positive reinforcement methods. They also assist local owners wanting to train their own service dogs. We look forward to working with them more in the future
Angel Paws Assistance Dogs is a newer service dog program that trains and places custom service dogs for a variety of disability needs. They are a small program located in San Diego, CA.
We had a great time meeting up with the founder of the program and doing a combined training session at the North County Mall in Escondido.
Canine Support Teams is a nonprofit service dog program in Murrieta, CA that places fully trained service dogs with Veterans and also helps owners train their own service dogs.
Next Step Service Dogs is a nonprofit ADI Accredited service dog program located in Escondido, CA placing service dogs with Veterans and First Responders. They also assist in owners training their own service dogs.
We had the privilege of touring with each facility and meeting with staff to better understand their bigger visions for the future, and how we can assist each other in those efforts.
Topaz Assistance Dogs in Naples, Florida places Autism, Seizure Alert, Diabetic Alert, and Mobility Assistance service dogs. We are very excited for KC & Rickey to continue their training journey with this program.
Louise brought lots of smiles while networking with the first responders of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties at the Ventura First Responder Mental Health Conference. The conference allowed us to understand how to better serve first responders in our community as part of First Responder Therapy Dogs.
Autism Service Dogs of America is located in Portland, Oregon. Our founder began her service dog training journey with ASDA 19 years ago and reconnected with staff at the program. Kelly spent a day training Aspen, one of their service dogs in training, alongside two of our program service dogs.
First Responder Therapy Dogs aims to make quality therapy dogs available to all first responders throughout the USA free of charge. An average of 20% of first responders will end up with PTSD from their job, and we are excited to be a part of a program aiming to reduce that!
Gabby is headed to the National Institute of Canine Services and Training in Concord, California to be part of their First Response K9 service dog training program. She will one day be a service dog for a First Responder in need.
Gem and Grit are Golden Newfie puppies from our service dog breeding program. They headed to Ocala, Florida to join the Patriot Service Dogs prison program and one day become a service dogs for Veterans.
Guide Dogs of America's breeding program sent us Finnegan, Falcon and Florence! These amazing Lab/Golden crosses are doing wonderful in our service dog training program with their puppy raisers.
Lovebug is a Golden Retriever puppy from our service dog breeding program. He has joined Alaska Assistance Dogs in Wasilla, AK to be trained as a psychiatric service dog.
Bubba was a service dog in training with Cornerstone Companions Service Dogs until he was a year old. When they ran out of available puppy raisers they sent Bubba to us. Bubba has since been placed as a facility therapy dog at Mat Su Day School in Alaska helping students with behavioral needs.
Our friends at Cornerstone Companions Service Dogs came up for a three-day visit with their dogs to do a multi-day combined training session! Having our dogs practice training around other service dogs that they didn't know was so valuable, and everyone involved got to learn from each other.
Nalu was a service dog in training with Alaska Assistance Dogs until he was 10 months old. When it was determined that he didn't fit their program, he was sent to us. Nalu has now been placed as a facility therapy dog at Houston High School in Alaska, a school devastated by earthquake damage a few years earlier.