Here is a list of common questions we get asked:
Do you certify service dogs when they are ready?
We have students take the BC Service Dog Assessment test. By having someone else test the human and dogs we train, we ensure that there is no bias about if the dog meets the provincial standard or not. The test is completely independent of our program. We do practice tests to identify where the dog might need extra support, then work on weak areas. When we think the team is ready, we refer them to the provincial government test.
How much does it cost to fully train a service dog?
That question is like asking "How long is a piece of string?" It depends on what you are using it for. In the case of a service dog, it depends on what you are starting with. Even starting with a puppy we can't give you a quote until we know more about you, your disabilities, what your current dog training skills are, how much support you will need etc. Some people need a lot of web cam or in-person support, others just need help occasionally. If you estimate that it will cost you about $3000-$6000 dollars over 2.5 to 3 years for a puppy to certification, you would be in the right ball park, assuming you will need quite a few in-person sessions.
When starting with an adult dog, the process will be shorter but again, we need to know what is the dog's background, what behaviors and concepts does the dog already know, what behavior issues does the dog have that need to be worked on, will the dog be trained by the handler or a professional trainer, how able the handler is, how often the handler is able to train, where the training is done etc. Each program is customized for the team involved. We also know that the handler's needs may change in just a few months so must be flexible to that.
How can I make payment?
Canadians can pay through e-transfer or Paypal. SDTI will send out an invoice once we have discussed the process and costs.
How far will the trainer travel to train me or my dog?
Ladysmith to North Nanaimo. Extra travel fees will apply more than 10 minutes from our office near Colliery Dam Park in Nanaimo.
How far will the trainer travel to evaluate a litter or a dog I am considering adopting?
Chemainus to Qualicum Beach. Extra travel fees will apply more than 10 minutes from our office.
What are the trainer's qualifications for the job?
Donna Hill has a 4 year Zoology degree specializing in animal behavior & ecology. So she knows the science & psychology behind behavior and learning! She also has a two year teaching degree and loves helping people learn! Creating the "Aha" moments where her students make the connections for bigger understanding is what keeps her motivated. She has been teaching families to teach their dogs since 2006 when she started teaching workshops on the biology of exercise in dogs-specifically bicycling with dogs. In 2008, she began teaching people how to teach their dogs using hands-off approaches, encouraging the dogs to do the thinking. This opened up the ability to teach people with disabilities to teach their own dogs how to help them at home. Donna is a professional member of PACTA BC, and has signed a code of ethics for humans and their dogs. She is also a supporting member of IAABC, who supports the use of science-based humane teaching approaches. She has a board based of dog experience from volunteering in kennels, SPCA's, fosters rescue dogs etc. From age 9 to 12 years old, she helped raise 3 litters of puppies and at 8 years of age taught her basset hound to pull the toboggan she was on. Donna has an excellent reputation for both teaching people and their dogs. Just ask around! or check out her testimonials page!