At CVSDU we have 3 levels of of certification. The first level is an initial assessment of the dog.
Level 2 requires Basic Obedience and assessment of the dogs response to situations and specific stimuli.
Level 3 is considered fully certified for public access.
Level I – Initial assessment for service dog training. In the initial assessment we look for:
Soft to Medium Character
Age 1.5 – 3 Years
Good physical health
When this criteria is met then we move on to a 7-10 day Training Assessment. During this time we see how well the dog response to some obedience training and put the dog through everything he will need to be able to do as a service dog. Any type of aggression results in disqualification. The things we look at are:
Reaction to friendly people and small children
Reaction to other animals
Reaction to crowds of people
Reaction to being groomed
Reaction to everyday distractions
Reaction to being isolated (separation anxiety)
Riding in a vehicle (car sickness)
When the above criteria are met then the dog goes into obedience training for 2-3 weeks with one of our certified trainers or an 8 week program with a veteran handler. The requirements for basic obedience are as follows:
Heeling on a loose leash
Left and right turns
Sit from heel
Sit stay (1 minute)
Down Stay (3 Minutes)
Sit from down
Stand for examination
Sit from stand
Recall (Come command) 20 feet.
Finish (Returning to heel position)
Focus (Watch command) and
Free ( Release command) Fun and play
Once the dog is at the above standard, he is then paired with a qualified applicant. Then the training of the veteran begins with the dog. The Veteran is required to be able to perform all the obedience exercises with the dog and show proficiency in their leash handling skills with all commands and hand signals. Once the dog and handler are certified level 1 they receive a training vest for doing supervised public access training.
Level II – Advanced Obedience and Service dog training.
In this level we do advance level obedience with the team and train the dog to meet the needs of the handler. As every team is different the dogs training will vary depending on the handlers requirements. i.e. response to high anxiety or panic attacks. Take the handler out of high stress situations. Response to flashbacks. Response to nightmares. Mobility related training to help a veteran that is physically disabled. etc…
The dog is now vested as well and the team is taken out on assisted public access excursions with a certified trainer or a level III certified Veteran team.
The advanced obedience includes:
Off leash work. All the basic obedience exercises done with only hand signals and commands as well as:
Sit in motion (sit the dog from heel without stopping)
Down In motion (down the dog from heel without stopping)
Stand in motion (stand the dog from heel without stopping)
Remote Down (down the dog from a distance using hand signal and command)
Remote Sit (sit the dog from a distance using hand signal and command)
Drop on recall (down the dog from full run using hand signal and command)
Long sit stay 3 minutes handler out of sight
Long down stay 5 minutes handler out of sight
Aversion to fallen food
Cover command (to sit stay facing the opposite direction of the handler to watch their 6)
Provide perimeter in crowds
Level III – Fully certified team – now ready for unsupervised public access.
At this level the dog and handler must be able to do what is required in level I and II and also is assessed in public. to meet the following criteria:
Walking on a loose leash with only a flat collar
Accepting a friendly stranger (sit quietly while handler talks to a person)
Accepting praise from a friendly stranger (sit stay quietly while being petted by a person)
Accepts being groomed or handled by a stranger
Walking through a crowd of people
No reaction to other animals (a passing dog)
No reaction to everyday distractions (buses, trucks, strollers, children playing etc..)
Supervised isolation. Leaving the dog with a friendly stranger
Rides quietly in a vehicle with no stress or sickness
Accepts being crated
Non destructive when left in the house alone
Accepts toys or food being removed
and most importantly, He is required to perform at least 3 actions in service to the handler that they cannot do for themselves. i.e. calm the handler from high anxiety or panic attacks. Open a door. Remind handler to take meds, remove the handler from high stress situations. etc…
When a dog team reaches level III certification they can now work with some of the newer members to help them with the training of their dog and that’s what we’re all about.
Veterans Helping Veterans.