We offer four distinct programs here at Monkey Tail Ranch. We train service dogs as individual (or family) companions. We train facility dogs that assist autism professionals.We provide therapy through interaction with horses. And we offer a well-deserved respite for families and caregivers with our camp days.
The ultimate goal behind our service dog training program is to develop a successful and lasting relationship between each service dog and its partner. That’s why every dog is custom trained to meet the specific needs of its human companion.
Our process begins by interviewing your family to understand your unique challenges and requirements. We visit your home, get to know your family, and answer all of your questions.
Back at the ranch, our service dogs receive extensive training and socialization as puppies. When we bring your dog home, at between 12 and 24 months of age, they are potty-trained, have house manners, and demonstrate exceptional obedience.
Then your family’s training begins. We train you at home, at school, at work, or wherever you will be taking your dog. We also familiarize you with service dog laws and regulations.
Since Monkey Tail Ranch is a 501(c)3 organization, we can help you raise funds for your service dog. We also stand by both your dog and your family with a lifetime training guarantee.
During your dog’s training, we encourage you to stop by the ranch for our open houses. And if your family would like to join us for a weekend stay, at any time during or long after your dog’s training, you are more than welcome.
If your family is interested in becoming part of our service dog program, we invite you to reach out for a Dog Chat phone consultation. After the Dog Chat, MTR will share the upcoming open house dates for your family attend and if your situation is a good fit, Monkey Tail Ranch will invite you to apply for a service dog. Applications sent in without going through this prerequisite process with not be processed.
We train our facility dogs to live and work with autism service professionals—such as special education teachers as well as autism, occupational, physical, recreational, and speech therapists. Each facility dog and handler team up to help autistic individuals during therapy or school sessions.
Curious to know about the benefits facility dogs provide? Their unconditional love and eagerness to interact increases students’ motivation to participate. Petting, brushing, feeding, and playing with a facility dog provides children with speech difficulties more opportunities to use language. These activities also promote the development of gross and fine motor skills.
Other activities—such as reading aloud to the facility dog, teaching it commands, and using it as part of a reward system—help students improve reading skills, build confidence, and overcoming fears. Studies also reveal that facility dogs reduce the stress hormones in most children with autism. Just having the dog present creates a calming and comforting affect.
In short, both children and staff enjoy their day and laugh more whenever a facility dog is with them.
With 11 scenic acres, 21 horse stalls, a round pen, a full-size riding arena, and between 5 and 10 horses on the property, it only makes sense that we offer a horse therapy program.
Our student-centered program carefully assesses individual needs and matches program participants with our gentle horses. Rather than focusing on problems or symptoms, we look to build positive connections between each student and horse. And we can plan time with the horse that fits the schedule of each child.
The slow, deliberate, rhythmic motion of riding a horse helps students focus on their muscle use, improve balance, build confidence, and find calm. Students seem to communicate and smile more, as well, during their rides.
Activities also include brushing, feeding, mucking, and watching the horses interact with each other. Each session is documented and reviewed to help ensure qualitative, positive experiences that stimulate soothing enjoyment social interaction.
While we mainly focus on the children, we never lose sight of the fact that their families also need time to relax, which is why we offer our Family Respite Program.
This program welcomes our Service Dog families back to the ranch to visit and interact our animals, sit by the campfire, listen to music, and do whatever helps them unwind and recharge. Visit for the day or stay overnight on our safe, fenced ranch staffed by understanding volunteers. Ride a horse. Play with the puppies. Or enjoy a refreshing drink on our peaceful patio.
We also host a variety of day and weekend camps. While the whole family is invited, we pamper the caregivers. We whip up home-cooked meals, provide live music, host an outdoor movie night, and offer field trips in addition to the usual horse rides and puppy play. You can even sleep under the stars. Families who’ve been with us for years share their experiences with those new to the world of autism.
The Family Respite program takes place in a terrific setting enjoyed by a wonderful community of caring people. And all of these opportunities are available free of charge thanks to the kindness and generosity of our donors.