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Service and Therapy Dog Training

Braveheart Kennels is the only kennel in Maryland capable of training and certifying your Service Dog.  So what is a Service dog or Therapy Dog?

A service dog is a type of assistance dog, specifically trained to help people who have disabilities including visual or hearing impairment. Desirable character traits include good temperament or psychological make-up, good health including physical structure, and trainability. Service dogs are sometimes trained and bred by service dog organizations. Some dogs are donated by private breeders, and some are selected from shelters. Any breed or mixture of breeds of dog might produce a representative capable of service work, though few dogs have all of the qualities in health, temperament, trainability and physical ability needed. Such a dog may be called a "service dog" or an "assistance dog," depending largely on country. Other common names include "helper dog," "aide dog," and "support dog."

In the United States, the Code of Federal Regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 define a service animal as "any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items."

A psychiatric service dog is a specific type of service dog trained to assist their handler with a psychiatric disability, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or schizophrenia. Although assistance dogs have traditionally helped with people with disabilities such as blindness or more recently deafness or mobility disabilities, there are a wide range of other disabilities that an assistance dog may be able to help with as well, including psychiatric disabilities.

Like all assistance dogs, a psychiatric service dog is individually trained to do work or perform tasks that mitigate their handler's disability. Training to mitigate a psychiatric disability may include providing environmental assessment (in such cases as paranoia or hallucinations), signaling behaviors (such as interrupting repetitive or injurious behaviors), reminding the handler to take medication, retrieving objects, guiding the handler from stressful situations, or acting as a brace if the handler becomes dizzy.

Psychiatric service dogs may be of any breed or size suitable for public work. Some psychiatric service dogs are trained by the person who will become the handler- usually with the help of a professional trainer. Others are trained by assistance or service dog programs. Assistance dog organizations are increasingly recognizing the need for dogs to help individuals with psychiatric disabilities.

A therapy dog is a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, people with learning difficulties, and stressful situations, such as disaster areas.

Therapy dogs come in all sizes and breeds. The most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament. A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, confident, gentle, and at ease in all situations. Therapy dogs must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted and handled, sometimes clumsily. They most also demonstrate the highest level of obedience training

A therapy dog's primary job is to allow unfamiliar people to make physical contact with it and to enjoy that contact. Children in particular enjoy hugging animals; adults usually enjoy simply petting the dog. The dog might need to be lifted onto, or climb onto, an individual's lap or bed and sit or lie comfortably there. Many dogs contribute to the visiting experience by performing small tricks for their audience or by playing carefully structured games.

At Braveheart Kennels we will train your dog for your specific needs.  We will work your dog in every scenario that you might encounter in your daily activities.  We not only work with the dog but we will spend many hours working and educating the owner to be the best handler possible.  Training will include a service dog vest and photo I.D. for your dog as well as a completion certificate.  We will go over in length about the proper way to handle your dog in public situations such as restaurants, airplanes, doctor visits, and grocery stores.  We can work with all breeds of dogs.  If this program might suit you please call for pricing, and additional information.