“We never found an animal we could not train.”
– Bob Bailey, First Training Director US Navy Marine Mammal Program
Service dogs are unique and respected members of the pet community. They enrich the everyday lives of people with medical conditions and disabilities. The term “service dog” has come to include all types of “support” dogs. However, there are distinct differences in the types of support they give their human companions.
What is a Service Dog?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
“A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability”.
The ADA does not specify breed requirements for service or support dogs.
All Shapes and Sizes
Long hair, short hair, purebred, mixes, and hybrids. Service and support dogs come in all shapes and sizes. It is not the breed that makes a good service pet, its all about the training. So, what does it take to become a service or support dog? The Canine Good Citizen program is a great first step before introducing your pet to more specialized training.
Canine Good Citizen
The Canine Good Citizen program, or CGC, was established by the American Kennel Club in 1989 and is recognized as “the gold standard of behavior for dogs in our communities”.
Because there is a rising need for service and support dogs, we joined the effort to provide CGC classes at our Dulles and Springfield locations. Our Canine Training Specialists can work with your pet to prepare them for CGC testing and certification. We offer small group classes and private lessons for all our training programs. They can even complete their training while boarding with us.
Olde Towne Pet Resort has a long history of supporting organizations that raise, train and place service dogs in their forever homes.
One of the local groups we’ve worked with is SemperK9, a non-profit organization in Prince William County, VA, that rescues sheltered dogs and trains them as service pets for disabled veterans at no cost to them.
We have also worked with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization based in Upstate New York, that breeds and trains guide dogs for the visually impaired.
We are proud to welcome service dogs from all backgrounds. And we will continue to support organizations that further the cause of service and support dogs.