Service Dog Program

A Service Dog is a task-trained canine with jobs that benefit an individual with visible or invisible disabilities and other daily living challenges. No matter how big or little they are, where they come from, or what breed they are, Service Dogs are carefully selected, well socialized, sound, focused working dogs. 
(Source: Canadian Foundation for Animal-Assisted Support Service)

Sweet Charity Service Dog training, a two-year program, includes the selection of an appropriate puppy, initial socialization and basic obedience provided in the home of our trainers. Specific task development to meet the needs of the individual and public access training can lead to Service Dog certification. Ongoing support and annual recertification for three consecutive years completes the program.

Who Qualifies?

Families supported by a service agency or medical team working with the child/youth, related to challenges such as impulse control, social anxiety, limited social skills, poor self-regulation, inappropriate behaviour and attachment issues may qualify. A letter from a doctor stating the need for a Service Dog to mitigate the individual’s challenges is required.

The candidate must be between that ages of 8 and 25 years and live within 100 km of Barrie, our training area. 

How To Apply

We recognize the increasing needs for Service Dogs. However, due to the restrictions of Covid-19, our application process is “on hold” presently. Please contact programs@sweetcharity if you wish to discuss the program with one of our volunteers.

Choosing A Puppy

A puppy that is assessed by the trainers and chosen along with the family to meet the individual’s needs is prefered. Consideration may be given to a pet dog. In this case, trainers would need to assess the viability of training this dog as a Service Dog. This pet dog must have passed an advanced level for obedience and show no signs of aggression, fear, or inappropriate barking.

Training

Although difficult to state the length of training, international standards suggest a two-year training period prior to assessing for Service Dog certification. The most significant training pertains to the mastering of the specific tasks. 

During the training period, while the dog is in the individual’s home, the family maintains a training log provided by the trainer. This helps identify the training process and the bonding with the individual.

Initial obedience training will be coordinated with our Canine Ambassador Program.

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Funding Sources

Federal law allows you to deduct expenses for buying, training, and maintaining a service dog. Please follow this link for more information about service dog funding: Consumer Reports Medical Deductions 

Stories From Noah and Carson - Our First Trained Service Dog Teams