Can my dog be a service dog?
According to the Americans With Disabilities Act, a person must require a service dog due to a disability. No matter how much training a dog has, it is not a service dog if the handler doesn't have a disability.
Being a service dog is challenging and requires the right temperament. If you think your dog might be a good service animal candidate, we can evaluate his or her suitability for public access behavior as well as the task training you'll need to mitigate your disability. Our service dog evaluation fee is $50, which can be applied to our service dog training program.
Jill and Connie are experienced professionals who will ensure your dog can assist you by performing the tasks you need, has good manners in any environment, and is trained public access behaviors that are specific to service dogs. They'll also build your dog's confidence, independent thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Positive reinforcement training encourages a dog to make choices including performing tasks based on environmental cues and "willfully disobeying," which is when a service dog chooses to ignore a cue if performing the behavior will endanger the handler. Alternate training methods may discourage independent thinking if a dog was punished for offering behavior that wasn't cued.
How does your program work?
Our service dog training program is divided into four levels. Puppy Service Dog (for puppies up to 16 weeks old), Service Dog Foundations, Task Training, and Team Work with the Handler. While we offer an approximate timeline for your dog to graduate each level, your dog won't move on until he or she can demonstrate all skills for that level. Every dog is an individual, so there's no additional charge if your dog needs more time to meet a level's skill requirements.
Each level is paid for separately, so payments are made for each level as your dog progresses through the program. You can choose to pay in full or take advantage of one of our financing options. We charge for one level at a time so we can monitor your dog's progress and you can assess how we're doing throughout the process. You're free to withdraw your dog from the program at the conclusion of any level if you're not satisfied with our training.
You will receive both daily and weekly reports often with video so you can watch your dog's progression.
R+K9s service dog program follow a day training format. You'll drop your dog off at our Winchester facility on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Saturdays are reserved for field trips when we practice your dog's skills in public. Our schedule:
Have you trained service dogs before?
Why yes we have! Jill has an extensive background in running the America’s Vetdogs service dog training prison puppy program at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, MD. She has designed a service program which covers all necessary skills for all dogs from puppies to adults. Both Connie and Jill also continually monitor your dog's progress throughout the program for any temperament issues that might arise.
How do I get started?
Call 540-532-1300 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an evaluation for your dog. The evaluation is a great time to ask questions and discuss tasks needed.