How can an Autism Service Dog help my child?
With every placement we have seen wonderful unexpected results that come from the bond that develops between the child and their dog. We hypothesize that because both the child and the dog are often times non-verbal, they are able to clearly communicate with each other through other channels. This bond is what allows us to see results such as decreased stimming, lowered anxiety levels, less sensitivity to stimulus, comfort in public situations, better sleeping, and social interactions with peers that would not have happened without a Service Dog. Children with Service Dogs often obtain a sense of pride they would not have had.
Parents of children on the autism spectrum have all felt the disapproving eye on them when your very normal looking child has an extraordinary meltdown in public. The blue vest of a service dog helps tell the judgmental public that there is more going on than just a misbehaving child. The Service Dog Vest helps identify that this is a family that is meeting a challenge head on.
What’s the difference between an assistance dog, service dog and companion dog?
People are all very familiar with Guide Dogs, who help the visually impaired maneuver through their daily life as their constant companion.
In order to qualify as an Assistance Dog, the canine must be trained to perform specific tasks to help mitigate an individual’s disability. Assistance dogs include hearing alert dogs, seizure alert dogs, and diabetes alert dogs.
Service dogs are trained to aid a person by performing specific tasks such as retrieving keys, opening doors, or assisting their person with dressing. Our dogs are trained as service dogs as defined by the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act which governs the use of service dogs to assist people. The ADA also outlines where dogs can be taken and under what circumstances the presence of a dog solely for comfort or protection does not qualify it to be a service animal.
What should I look for in my Service Dog Organization?
We feel the most important thing to look for in a service dog organization is their ability to deliver a dog that can perform consistently and reliably to meet your needs. The ability to understand the amazing potential of dogs, as well as their limitations, can only come through years of experience training many dogs. There are many service dog organizations created by well-meaning parents of autistic children who have little or no experience training dogs.
We have combined our years of experience in special education with our years of dog training. Beyond Service Dogs, our founders have worked in a variety of dog training disciplines including Search & Rescue, Human Remains Detection, and aggression rehabilitation.
We feel that a successful placement begins with a close relationship with your family. We think this begins with a visit to your home to understand your needs and to ensure all your questions are answered.
Will your dogs keep my child safe from bolting, escaping and eloping?
Autism Service Dogs can help keep your child safer, but should never be relied upon as a reliable safety barrier. These dogs absolutely cannot be relied upon to keep your child safe. Beware of organizations that promise safety as a primary benefit of their dogs.
How much do service dogs cost?
Service dog costs vary throughout the industry based on the level of training you need, the experience of the trainers, and the business acumen of the organization.
Monkey Tail Ranch Service Dogs cost $17,000 dollars. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are able to subsidize $5,000 for each dog. The Monkey Tail Ranch and the family partner to fundraise the remaining $12,000.
Please note that while contributions may be given to The Monkey Tail Ranch on behalf of a particular child, those funds do NOT constitute a purchase.
How do you match the dog with the human?
We have a comprehensive interview process and questionnaire so we can get to know exactly what your needs are. Often times, we can suggest services or tasks that you may not have thought of. This is based on our long history as trainers. We look at things from the dog’s perspective — can we get a dog to reliably perform the tasks you need it to. While we have experience working with dozens of breeds, we most often use Labrador Retrievers from a specific breeder where we have seen multiple generations of dogs. This allows us to be very familiar with the strengths of each litter, and do our best to match a dog in personality that will best fit with your goal of a service dog.
Can I see my dog while they are being trained by you?
We offer playdates at our ranch in Hollister so you can see your puppy grow. These playdates are generally available up until about a month before they go home.
What happens to the dogs that don’t make it as service dogs?
Service dogs are amazing animals, and require a very unique set of skills. Only a few puppies from each litter end up having all the special traits we need to be a service dog. However, the rest of these puppies will fit in just fine as a family dog. For those pups who won’t become part of our Service Dog training program, we simply shift them into our fully trained family dog program. This allows us to keep our Service Dog prices reasonable. But more importantly, we have the luxury of never having to force a dog to fit into a situation where it may not succeed.
We have a good dog already, can you train it to be a Service Dog?
The short answer, is probably not. The qualities we look for in our service dogs make us jokingly refer to them as rare as a unicorn. However, we can evaluate your dog to determine if he/she has the unique characteristics to meet your needs.
What happens when you deliver our Service Dog to us?
We deliver your Service Dog as soon as we feel he is ready to be a reliable partner. This is typically when the dog is ten months to a year old. We come to your home to ease the transition process for both your family and your new Service Dog. The training focuses entirely on training you and your family to properly handle your new dog, and to teach you what your dog has learned during their time with us. We practice basic obedience, teach you how to problem-solve, and work on public access. We work with your school, and your aides if appropriate. We bring the dog to your home because we want to see any issues manifest themselves in the environment the dog is living so we can quickly solve them.
What’s a lifetime training guarantee?
We only partner with families that are committed to the dog for life, and thus, we are committed to the dog and family for life. All of our dogs have been trained with consistent methodology, and because we were the ones who personally raised and trained the dogs, we can often times fix problems quickly. As long as we feel we are working as partners to correct any behavioral issues that may arise, we will keep working with you, free of charge, until we solve the problem. We are passionate that when we deliver the dog to your family, that is just the start of our relationship. We encourage our families to have follow up lessons, phone consultations, and allow us to continue the training for the rest of the dog’s life.
Do you train dogs for other disabilities/special needs?
Although we specializes in autism Service Dogs and dogs to help with anxiety disorders, we have experience training service dogs for many different disabilities and special needs. Just give us a call and we can discuss your needs. If we are not the right organization for you, we will refer you to one that may be a better fit for your needs.