Nationwide Personal Service Dog Training 

Compass Key Service Dog Trainig
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About Us

Our Story


Our original staff members all volunteered together at a non-profit service dog organization. As volunteers working with in-training service dogs in public, they received numerous requests from individuals wanting their own personal dogs trained. An idea began to develop to start a company with various types of dog training. In 2012, Compass Key (formerly PAWS Training Centers) locations began in Wilmington, NC, Southeastern PA, and Seattle, WA. Although they had initially thought the majority of clients would want obedience training, they quickly realized the great need for service dog training for privately owned dogs. There were so many organizations that would breed dogs for service dog placement, but there was such a desire for clients to use their own pet dog they had already bonded with or have the option to select a dog breed for training. They met with many service dog trainers and clients to develop a one-of-a-kind comprehensive service dog training program to meet the needs of each unique client/dog team. In 2018, PAWS Training Centers rebranded with a new name: Compass Key, to better support the mission of providing "Compassionate direction for you and your dog". Our vision continues to spread throughout more locations of the country.

Service Dog Training - Compass Key

Our Training Philosophy


Compass Key trainers use ethical and scientifically-based training methods. We believe that using the least invasive method promotes long-lasting results with your dog’s skills and encourages confidence in every situation. Our goal as trainers is to always listen to the client and the dog, strive to educate ourselves, ask questions of our peers and mentors, and ensure we are using the most positive and productive methods possible. We owe this to ourselves, the dog, the client, and the dog industry as a whole.

The best way to communicate and build a relationship is different with every dog. With a range of dog training backgrounds, degrees, certifications, and specialties, Compass Key trainers know how to design a training plan that teaches the most effective way to communicate with and motivate your dog. We can help you learn and teach your dog desirable behaviors while also building a lasting relationship of mutual happiness. Compass Key encourages and supports continued trainer education to promote gentle, effective, fast, and fun ways to train dogs using the most up-to-date information and sound, scientifically-based methods.

To view our specific training methods statement, please click here: Training Methods

Client Stories

Our clients readily invite us into their lives and their homes. They share their daily dog struggles with us and we embark on our training mission. Because we work with every dog the same way we would work with our very own, we grow bonded with each one. For stories from the homes of our clients click here: Client Stories

Compass Key Store

Interested in purchasing Compass Key apparel?  Feel free to visit our company store here: Compass Key Lands End Business Apparel

Join Our Team

Interested in becoming a service dog trainer with Compass Key?  Click here for more information: Join Our Team


Our Services

Assistance Dogs - psychiatric, mobility, diabetes, medical alert service dogs




Compass Key provides custom training for service dog teams based on individual needs. Our trainers have experience working with children, adults, and families training their own dogs to create successful dog/handler teams. We specialize in a personalized approach that focuses on how your partnership with your service dog will help you overcome the challenges you face in your home and in public. We use positive-reinforcement methods to teach the behaviors that are necessary for dogs working in public settings, and to train the specific tasks you need from the canine partner in your life.

Service dogs increase freedom and independence by providing assistance in everyday life. Service dogs can improve the lives of people with a wide range of disabilities, whether physical, neurological, or psychiatric. We train service dogs to mitigate symptoms of many disabilities such as: autism, anxiety disorders, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, hearing impairment, multiple sclerosis (MS), narcolepsy, post-traumatic stress (PTS or PTSD), severe allergies, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). We also often customize tasks for a specific client’s needs.

To learn more about the process and cost of personal service dog training, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.


The following are examples of the most common disability skills we teach:

Mobility, balance, and retrieval service dogs - Compass Key
Emotial support service dogs - Compass Key


- To people approaching

- As a response to your name or someone trying to get your attention

- For specific sounds, such as alarms, ring tones, sirens, or vehicles backing up

- For specific smells, such as smoke or gas

- Go seek help from someone else when you are having a medical emergency

- Press a medical alert button for designated

emergency contact

- Wake-up alerts


- Apply or receive deep pressure therapeutically

- Cuddle on cue

- Interrupt repetitive movements or compulsive behaviors

- Lead to uncrowded area or place to sit down

- Respond to an anxiety or panic attack

- Interrupt nightmares or night terrors


- Allergens /  triggering odors

- Low blood sugar levels

- The presence or absence of people in a designated area or location


- Get personal items and bring to you, such as keys or cell phones

- Carry items for you

- Deliver payment to store clerk or receive and carry merchandise for you

- Open and close doors, cabinets, drawers or appliances to bring you something from inside

- Bring medication to you at a designated time


- Act as a positional buffer – behind, in front, looking the opposite way, or circling

- Turn on and off lights, including turning on the light for you before you enter a room

- Open and hold doors

- Provide bracing for you to stand up or steady yourself

- Tug or hold clothing, socks and shoes to assist with dressing and undressing

- Pull to assist manual wheelchair propulsion

- Target away from walking out into a street or other dangerous areas

- Offer a signal that allows you to politely excuse yourself from the company of others

Medical Alert Service Dogs - Compass Key
Assistance support service dogs - Compass Key
Detection service dogs - Compass Key

Types of Service Dog Training

Training your Own Dog

Compass Key recognizes that there are many great organizations that provide service dogs to those in need.  Sadly, the number of applicants for those organizations far outnumber the dogs that are ready for placement.  This often creates very long wait times for individuals to receive their service dogs. 


There are many people who have, or are willing to find, a dog that could be trained as a service dog to fill a need with their family. Compass Key creates a customized training plan to teach your privately owned dog all the necessary skills to mitigate your/your loved one's disability. We also help teach the people who benefit from this assistance, so the dogs can be used to their fullest potential.  

To learn more about the process and cost of personal service dog training, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.

Dog Search

Compass Key specializes in training privately owned dogs for service dog work.  Since not all of our clients own a dog with the right temperament and trainability for training, we periodically have dogs available for purchase that have already been taught foundational skills.  For more information, click here: Available Dogs


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a service dog (assistance dog)?

Service dogs (sometimes referred to as assistance dogs) assist people with physical, neurological, or psychological disabilities to perform everyday tasks. They help people overcome limitations caused by the disability and increase their independence and quality of life. They can provide alerts before the handler experiences a medical problem or assist when the problem occurs. They provide a wide range of assistance to address many types of physical limitations. They alert people with hearing impairment to ringing phones and doorbells. They can help people with Post Traumatic Stress, Military Sexual Trauma, or Traumatic Brain Injury to function successfully in public, helping them to feel secure and easing stressful situations. Each service dog/handler team is individually trained to address the unique needs of the handler. The Compass Key Service Dog Training Program is designed to exceed training requirements of service dogs as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you are instead interested in Therapy Dog training, where dogs are trained to visit individuals in different facilities to visit clientele for comfort, please contact us for additional information.

How is having my dog trained through Compass Key different than getting a dog through a non-profit service dog organization?

Clients of Compass Key reap significant benefits that many reputable non-profit service dog organizations do not offer:

  • The most common is that Compass Key is able to train clients' privately-owned dogs, assuming those dogs prove to be good candidates. Most non-profit organizations breed and train their own dogs and do not train their clients' pet dogs.
  • We train dogs for clients of all ages. Sometimes the handler of the dog is not the actual client and, is instead, the client’s parent, guardian, or caretaker. There are no age requirements for handlers, but they must be able to give cues, corrections, and properly handle the dog throughout each phase of the Service Dog Training Program.
  • Our clients are involved in every step of the training process from the beginning to the end, including lessons that we conduct in our clients' homes.
  • There are no wait times with Compass Key. Most non-profit organizations have lengthy waiting lists (sometimes a few years) to receive a dog.
  • Non-profit organizations typically receive a large number of applications, but very few individuals are accepted because there are a limited number of dogs available. We are able to accept many clients after reviewing and completing our Initial Evaluation and Consultation; no applications needed!
  • Your dog’s training will be customized to your needs rather than having generalized disability mitigation training that may not apply to you.

How long does it take?

The length of training is different for every dog and there are many factors that need to be considered (i.e. age of the dog, trainability, cue/skill sets they need to acquire, and level of involvement of the owner/handler). Sometimes training can take more than 1 year to complete depending on these factors.

How much does it cost?

The cost depends on how much training is involved and the length of time the training will take. Payments are scheduled throughout the course of training to help make programs affordable to as many clients’ budgets as possible.

The following are cost estimates for example scenarios. No two clients are the same and no two dogs are the same, so the final price will always vary. These estimates are based off of the average total cost typically paid:

(1) Cost Estimate # 1: Starting training with a new puppy

(2) Cost Estimate # 2: Starting training with an already obedience-trained dog

(3) Cost Estimate # 3: Training a dog for an owner that has limited involvement in training process

(4) Cost Estimate # 4: Training on a budget

(5) Cost Estimate # 5: Training a dog for a long-distance client

(6) Travel Charges

I don't have money for training; do I have other options?

First, check with your health insurance company. Some plans, such as many health savings accounts (HSA), offer assistance with the cost of service dogs. Also, many of our clients fundraise to help with the cost of training prior to starting the training process. We have had clients start online fundraisers or ask different businesses in their community to help with the cost. As much as we would like to help in the training process, if you are unable to pay for training and are unable to fundraise, Compass Key is unable to train you or your dog. An alternative is applying to a non-profit organization that provides service dogs.

Is the cost for training tax deductible?

Likely. Costs associated with the purchase of a dog, training costs, veterinary bills, food (if prescribed by the veterinarian), and other expenses may all be tax deductible! Please consult your tax preparer for additional information.

What is the cost of each training package?

The training consists of phases: (1) basic obedience, (2) advanced obedience, (3) disability skills, (4) public access, (5) physical support skills (optional add-on for adult dogs only), and (6) travel training (optional add-on). At the end of each of these training phases, you and your dog are tested prior to starting the next phase of training. Some dogs may already have the necessary foundational skills to quickly pass through specific phases (i.e. some may be ready to simply take the test for that phase to move to the next phase). The length of each phase and intensity of training will depend on you and your dog. It is very important that you continue working with your dog on a daily basis between their lessons, so they continue to learn from you and progress. Depending on the phase and intensity level, your trainer will recommend which training type will be best for you and your dog. A combination of several training options will likely be utilized to pass through all phases of training. The program types are:

Initial Evaluation and Consultation

The first step of the process is scheduling your Initial Evaluation and Consultation. During this time, we will answer any questions you may have and will explain, step-by-step, our Service Dog Training Program. We will provide you with a digital copy of our Service Dog Training Program book that itemizes every skill and task required in our program. If you already have a dog, we are able to meet them during this time to have a basic evaluation of their overall temperament. If you do not have a dog, we will discuss your preferences and explain available options. We will convey what to expect throughout the course of training and explain all of the requirements needed.

  • Approximately 1.5 - 2 hours: $300 (due upon scheduling).

  • Please note that no training is conducted during this evaluation.

  • If there is a lapse of more than 6 months between the Initial Evaluation and Consultation and when you are ready to begin training, a new Initial Evaluation and Consultation may be required.

  • Travel charges may apply. See the last page of this FAQ for the Travel Charges Worksheet.

  • A virtual (Facetime/Skype) Evaluation and Consultation may be scheduled for those located a distance from us.

  • A hard copy version of our Service Dog Training Program book may be requested and shipped to you for $55

Training Center, Group, or Virtual Lessons

Lessons are conducted at our facility (available at the Southeastern PA and Northern VA branches only), at various public venues (group lessons only), or via Skype/Facetime at the trainer’s discretion (many skills/tasks are recommended to be trained in person). We will be teaching you Service Dog Training Frequently Asked Questions Page 4 of 10 2021-12-28 how to work with your dog in between lessons and will ask for daily practice ("homework") from you!

  • $145 per lesson (due upon scheduling). (1-hour lessons for training center or virtual lessons, 2-hour lessons for group lessons)

  • Purchase 5-lesson package for $700 (non-transferable to other clients or into other programs) (full payment due upon scheduling first lesson).

  • Training center or virtual lessons may be conducted back-to-back if you would prefer multiple-hour lessons.

  • Group lessons are only available to dog/handler teams that have already passed Phase 1: Basic Obedience of the Service Dog Training Program

  • Group lessons are only scheduled periodically. Trainers will invite eligible participants to group lessons based on dog teams that will work best together.

  • Group lessons will have a maximum of 5 dog/handler teams. If 2 dog/handler teams or fewer arrive to the group lesson, the lesson may be shortened to 1 hour.

  • Group lessons are scheduled at various venues. If there are multiple venues during one lesson, travel time is included in the 2-hours.

  • There is no additional charge for multiple dogs of the same household participating in the training center or virtual individual lessons.

Private Lessons

Individual private lessons are conducted in your own home or at a public venue. These lessons are 1 hour each and are customized to fit the needs of you and your dog. We will be teaching you (and any other members of your household) how to work with your dog in between lessons and will ask for daily practice ("homework") from you!

  • $195 per 1-hour lesson (due upon scheduling).

  • Purchase 5-lesson package for $900 (non-transferable to other clients or into other programs) (full payment due upon scheduling first lesson).

  • Lessons may be conducted back-to-back if you would prefer multiple-hour lessons.

  • Travel charges may apply. See the last page of this FAQ for Travel Charges Worksheet.

  • There is no additional charge for multiple dogs of the same household participating in these lessons.

Board & Train

Your dog will come to stay with one of our professional trainers in the trainer's own home. They will be loved and cared for as if they were part of our family. They will be learning new cues and skills throughout their stay while living in a structured environment. A scheduled time will be given for you to drop-off your dog and their luggage to the trainer. Our Board & Train program costs $225 per day with a minimum of a 5-day stay. Below are examples of various typical Board & Train programs.

  • 1 Week-Long Stays (Minimum): (Half-payment is due to schedule training and half-payment is due by the take-home lesson.)

    • 1 week + take-home lesson = $1,575

    • Add a Day = $225

  • 2 Week-Long Stays: (Half-payment is due to schedule training and half-payment is due by the take-home lesson.)

    • 2 weeks + take-home lesson = $3,150

    • Add a Day = $175, Add a Week = $1,575

  • 4 Week-Long Stays or Longer:

    • 4 weeks + take-home lesson = $6,300 (Half-payment is due to schedule training and half-payment is due by the take-home lesson.)

    • Multiple 4 week-long packages include a take-home lesson at the completion of stay. A no charge option (aside from potential travel charges) for clients that use multiple 4-week packages back-to-back is one shortened lesson (either private lesson or virtual lesson) during each 4-week program. (Half-payment of the first 4 weeks is due to schedule training and the remaining half is due by the end of the first 4-week period. Subsequent months: half-payment is due every 2 weeks with the first payment due on the first day of the new period.)

    • Add a Day = $225

    • Add a Week = $1,575

Day Training

Your dog will spend the day working with one of our professional trainers. Drop-off/pick-up times may extend between 6-10 hours for this day training program. During your dog’s stay, the trainer will be working with him/her on overall structure and specific cues/behaviors that you and your trainer discuss and agree to. When you pick-up your dog, the trainer will have an abbreviated training session with you to show you what was worked on throughout the day.

  • $265 /day

  • $50 overnight charge (if scheduled beforehand)

Maintenance Boarding

Your dog will come to stay with one of our professional trainers in the trainer's own home. They will be loved and cared for as if they were part of our family. This is primarily a boarding program; no new training will be conducted. It is meant for clients who are traveling and want their dog to stay in a structured environment while they are away. Your trainer will practice previously taught and refined commands to upkeep their current level of training. This program is not meant to teach refinement of commands, but instead, maintain your dog’s current level without regression.

  • $115/day

Additional Options/Notes on Board & Train, Day Training, and Maintenance Boarding:

  • A special trip to veterinarian, groomer, pick-up of specialty dog food, etc. = $65 plus travel charges and cost of service/item.

  • An additional holiday charge of $65 will be added for training on the following days:

    • New Year’s Eve

    • New Year’s Day

    • Memorial Day

    • Independence Day

    • Veterans Day

    • Thanksgiving Day and the Friday following

    • Christmas Eve

    • Christmas Day and the day following

  • Dog pick-up may be scheduled for an additional $30, plus any applicable travel charges (see Add-Ons below).

  • Travel charges may apply for the take-home lesson. Please see the last page of the FAQ for the Travel Charges Worksheet.

  • If you need to reschedule the time of the take-home lesson, please contact your trainer as soon as possible. If we are unable to reschedule the take-home lesson on the same day due to prior commitments or if for any reason you need your dog to stay another night with our trainer, the additional cost is $250 per night. Payment for any additional nights is due by the take-home lesson.

  • There may be additional in-training dogs staying with your trainer at the same time.

  • If your trainer will be leaving their home for more than a few hours, they will ask a trusted friend or family member check-on your dog while they are away (may include feeding or play time).

Add-Ons for all Training Options:

  • Travel Charges – Please see the last page of this FAQ for the Travel Charges Worksheet.

  • Phone/email/text message interaction between lessons, during Board & Train, or Maintenance Boarding program beyond what is agreed upon = $40/30 minutes.

  • Skype/Facetime interaction between lessons, during Board & Train, or Maintenance Boarding program = $70 for 0 to 30 minutes (minimum); $65 for additional 30-minute slots during same call.

  • Email including a comprehensive overview of lesson notes, feedback, and homework = $15 each.

Do you provide training for Emotional Support Animals (ESA), training if I do not need my dog to accompany me in public, or training for just a few specific disability tasks?

We are happy to help train disability skills even if you decide not to pursue the entire Service Dog Training Program. You would still need to enter into the Service Dog Training Program (with all of the same requirements) and test out of Phase 1: Basic Obedience and Phase 2: Advanced Obedience prior to moving into Phase 3: Disability Skills training. You are not required to complete the full program.

I don't currently own a dog.  Can you help me find one?

Selecting the right dog is crucial to your success as a service dog team. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to have the Initial Evaluation and Consultation with a professional trainer BEFORE you select a dog. In service dog training, the dog’s lineage, health clearances, and breed characteristics play a large role throughout the overall course of training. Because of these other factors selecting one of the most common service dog breeds (Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers) is oftentimes not enough alone. Mixes of Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers (example – Goldendoodles and Labradoodles) have vastly different characteristics as a mix. During the Initial Consultation and Evaluation your trainer will talk through different suggestions in selecting the dog and may have a breeder referral ideal for your needs. Once you have tentatively selected your dog, you may decide to schedule a trainer’s assessment of the dog ($300 + any applicable travel). Prior to the trainer assessing a potential new dog, you first need to have an Initial Evaluation and Consultation with your trainer.

Does my dog have to be a certain age to start training?

We recommend that puppies start training as early as possible to ensure proper puppy development. We train dogs of all ages and start as young as 8 weeks! Older dogs can learn too! Please keep in mind that service/assistance work can be tiring for dogs especially as dogs approach mid-life. We do not recommend starting with a dog older than about 4 years old, depending on the breed. For dogs that will be trained in any type of scent detection work, we recommend that training starts with a dog younger than 1-year-old.

What breeds of dogs do you use?

Although we often use Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers because of the likelihood that they will have the preferred temperament and trainability, we have also trained dogs of many different breeds and sizes that ultimately have become certified service dogs.

I am not located close to any of your trainers.  Is there any other way you can help me?

If you are not close to any of the locations listed on our website and are willing to travel, we are happy to discuss potential training options. We have had successful training programs with clients located internationally that have been willing to travel to work with us and use tools such Skype or Facetime for video conferencing in between in-person sessions. Another option is to utilize an outside trainer to provide a foundation with basic and advanced obedience skills prior to working with Compass Key directly. Once you begin working with Compass Key, one of our trainers will need to test you through Phase 1: Basic Obedience and Phase 2: Advanced Obedience.

Why shouldn't I just buy a vest online that indicates my dog is a service dog?

There are many scam organizations online that people use to purchase vests for imposter service dogs. Anyone can purchase these vests to give the illusion to the public that their pet is actually a service dog. Unlike scam organizations, Compass Key's program ensures that dogs are highly trained and tested so they are able to mitigate the disabilities of their owner, properly trained for all public venues, and have a handler that thoroughly understands how to work with them.

Is my dog guaranteed to become a service dog?

Everyone at Compass Key is committed to being completely honest and forthcoming with all observations to give you a realistic expectation of what will be accomplished during training. We will listen and work with you diligently and take time to answer any questions throughout the training process. We certainly want to see continued success and progress. We also know that there are no absolutes with dog training. How well your dog learns and how much he improves will depend on many factors including his level of socialization, genetic predisposition, and how much time you train with him. Our ultimate goal at Compass Key is to give you the tools to establish clear communication, mutual respect, and the necessary confidence that is crucial between you and your dog. We will show you how to understand your dog, how to teach your dog to understand you, and how to remain consistent in every situation. The trainers at Compass Key believe that building this close relationship with your dog is accomplished through constant, positive interaction thereby creating a healthy foundation on which even the most difficult challenges can be resolved. Participation in our training program does not guarantee certification. If at any time the trainer feels the dog is not well suited for assistance work due to behavior or lack of response with training, the handler will be promptly informed.

What documentation do you require for the program?

To commence training, we require a signed Service Dog Overview Agreement, Emergency Contact Forms completed by your selected contacts, our Medical Necessity Form completed by one of your licensed medical providers, a copy of your dog’s Rabies Certificate (if old enough), documentation of distemper vaccination (i.e. DHPP), documentation of parvo vaccination, and documentation of a negative fecal test within the last six-months. Prior to beginning disability skills training, we also need a completed Veterinarian Health Check Form. In addition to passing all training requirements, to complete the program you must maintain at least a 6-month relationship with Compass Key, and your dog must be at least 1 year old, be mentally and physically mature, and be spayed or neutered.

What is Assistance Dogs International (ADI)?

Assistance Dogs International (ADI) is an internationally recognized accreditor of legitimate service dog organizations. Currently, ADI only recognizes non-profit organizations. Because Compass Key is a for-profit company, we are not eligible to seek recognition or accreditation through ADI. Some government agencies do require that service dogs on premises maintain a certification through an ADI-accredited organization (i.e. military bases, flying internationally, etc.). For these reasons, Compass Key recommends that all clients consider pursuing certification with an ADI-recognized organization. However, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you are not required to be certified by any organization to have your service dog with you in public environments.

Are you affiliated with any organization that is recognized by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and would provide certification for me and my dog?

Compass Key believes that legitimate service dog organizations’ primary mission is to help people with disabilities, while collectively promoting what is best for clients, dogs, and the service dog industry. Communication, interaction, and strong relationships with like-minded service dog organizations result in a mutual benefit to everyone. Assistance Dogs International provides a comprehensive listing of service dog organizations that they recognize as having exemplary standards. If you are seeking a certification from an organization that is recognized by ADI, we recommend contacting your desired organization to determine their process and whether or not they certify privately-owned dogs. Each ADI recognized organization will have different requirements, procedures, and costs for privately owned dogs to pursue certification. Eligibility for certification with any organization is separate from your training with Compass Key, so you will need to contact your preferred organization directly. We have many clients that have passed our Compass Key Service Dog Training Program that have successfully pursued and graduated with an ADI-recognized certification!

Please feel free to contact us if you would like information on the organizations our clients have successfully pursued for ADI certification.

What happens once I complete the Compass Key Service Dog Training Program?

Certification that exceeds all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can be pursued through Compass Key by successfully completing the 4 phases of the Service Dog Training Program. Compass Key requires that you maintain at least a 6-month relationship with us prior to the final test, your dog is at least 1 year old, and fully matured. Your dog must be spayed or neutered to pursue certification with Compass Key. The initial cost of certification is $150 and includes a vest and ID Cards. To maintain your certification with Compass Key, you will need to maintain regular communication and updates with Compass Key and re-test annually (for the price of a regular lesson). We further recommend that you obtain General Liability insurance to ensure proper coverage for you and your dog while in public places. If you decide not to become certified by Compass Key, but still complete the program with all other requirements, we will provide a program completion letter for your use.

I travel via airplane frequently; will my dog be able to go with me?

Phase 6: Travel Training is an optional add-on to our program that includes a trainer going on a round-trip flight with you to teach you and your dog the appropriate procedures. The cost of this training includes the airplane tickets (yours and your trainer’s), plus $125/hour of your trainer’s time. We highly recommend that you take advantage of this program if you intend on flying with your dog. Be sure you have a copy of your letter of medical necessity and your certified handler/dog ID Card from Compass Key anytime you fly.

Once my dog has completed training, are they able to go everywhere with me?

Service dogs are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are able to be with their handler out in public anywhere a civilian is permitted.

What types of service dogs do you train?

We train service dogs for many types of disabilities. This includes individuals with psychiatric or psychological diagnoses, as well as mobility, balance, or other physical and neurological challenges. We also train dogs for medical conditions such as narcolepsy, seizures, traumatic brain injuries, hearing, allergen, and diabetes. We are able to customize training based on need and often work with clients who have rare conditions. We do not train Guide Dogs for the blind.

Sign me up!  How do I start?

The first step is having an evaluation with one of our trainers (see "How does the training work?" above for information and cost of the Initial Evaluation and Consultation). If you would like to schedule the Initial Evaluation and Consultation, please contact us. You do not need to have any documentation for the Initial Evaluation and Consultation and we will begin compiling that information from you once a plan has been determined to begin training. We look forward to meeting with you!

If I have several lessons in a short period of time, will I complete the training program much faster?

Consistent repetition of cues and skills over a period of time is what creates long-lasting behaviors. Quickly jumping from one skill to the next will not have long-lasting results for your dog. Age and maturity are major factorsin the ability to progress through the program and more lessons will not accelerate maturity. We test dogs in various environments and circumstances to ensure they understand the correct response before moving forward with new skills. While we may recommend weekly or bi-weekly lessons, scheduling lump back-to-back lessons is not beneficial for you or your dog. Instead, daily practice is where you will see the most substantial results. It is also important to not over-work your dog, which includes long workdays, too much stress, excessive requests or expectations of their dog’s abilities, considerations of weather, inadequate sleep, exercise, and play/socialization time.