What does a service dog do?
Our dogs are taught to perform such tasks as:
- Opening doors,
- Turning lights on & off,
- Retrieving dropped – or needed – items,
- paying at a counter,
- pulling wheelchairs,
- providing balance,
- and so much more!
Service Dogs provide specific services to their partners; providing physical assistance and performing tasks useful to a person with a physical mobility challenge; bringing companionship, psychological, and social benefits. Even better, through partnership with an service dog, people often experience a joy and confidence due to the increased social interaction and independence. One of PawPADs focus’ is training these service dogs for people with physical mobility disabilities.
Over an approximately two year period, our young service dogs in-training pass high standards of health, behavior, obedience and skill training in order to become a PawPADs certified service dog.
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Basic Service Dog placement criteria
In order to achieve the highest rate of success for clients and assistance dogs, PawPADs has established the following criteria for applicant acceptance:
- PawPADs does not train Emotional Support Dogs (ESD) or Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSD) to work specifically with psychological or emotional challenges (bipolar, anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, depression, etc). Absent an accompanying physical disability, it is not our focus.
- We ask most recipients to contribute $5,000 toward their service dog.
- PawPADs has a limited number of scholarships allowing us to place Service Dogs with veterans – with service connected physical disabilities – without cost to the veteran. Ask us about it!
- We place our dogs with those living within 200 miles of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.
- Applicant must be at least 13 years old and have adequate support from family members and aides. Children under 13 years of age may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- You must be able to meet the emotional, physical, and financial needs of the service dog and must offer a stable home environment. This includes providing the dog with appropriate exercise and grooming.
- Preference is for a home environment that has a safe, fenced enclosure area attached to the home to exercise the dog off lead.
- Ideally, the service dog will be the only dog living in the home but that will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Currently, Diabetic Alert Dogs are placed as the ONLY dog in the home.
- You must be mature enough and possess sufficient cognitive functioning to actively participate in the training and learning process required during team training.
- You must also be capable of managing the dog once you are living together.
- Your medical situation should allow you to work with the dog for several years.
- You must be actively pursuing the goal of independent living and seek to improve the quality of life through the partnership with a service dog.
- You must be able to attend a two-week Partner Training Camp (PTC), to receive proper instruction on how to care for and work with your dog. (You will be responsible for living expenses – travel, accommodation, food, etc. during this time).
You must complete an intensive certification process, which includes a written final, an oral exam, and multiple dog handling tests.
- Following service dog placement, you must complete monthly written evaluations on your dog’s behavior and as needed, participate in training lessons and evaluations given in your home. After 6 months, your partnership will be re-evaluated and, if appropriate, full ownership will be transferred to you.