We know that starting the journey to get a service dog can be overwhelming! Here is a step by step guide of exactly what to expect with DDG.
Chat with our service dog representative
To start the process, we need an initial conversation to learn a little more about you and what type of service dog you are looking for.
Our service dog representative, Destiny, is happy to chat with you! She is available via phone or email. For your convenience a call can be scheduled with her directly
Submit an Application
The application will be sent to you via email after you speak with our representative. No application fee required!
The first page of our application has a checklist of what needs to be submitted in order to be accepted. The list includes a doctor's note, photos of where the dog will be living, a daily agenda, and reference letters, just to name a few of the required items.
Not all individuals/families have the means to pay for a service dog up front. That is where fundraising comes in! In order to receive a service dog as soon as possible, we highly encourage our clients to fundraise in order to provide the funds required for training.
In hopes to make service dogs more attainable, we do not require full funding up front. We require an initial deposit, and the remaining balance is due when the dog is ready to graduate. That is about 12-16 months down the line.
We also offer financial assistance for those who need it most. Our financial assistance form can be found here. Please note that this does not cover the entire cost of training. (Although that is the goal, one day!)
Our customer agreement outlines the exact tasks we will be training. It is our promise to you that you'll be receiving a full trained service dog at the end of the process.
Submit a deposit
Once we have both the completed application and customer agreement it is time to move forward with the deposit.
The matching process begins! During the matching process we are extensively reviewing your application as a team to better determine which dog is the right fit for you. We are looking at the individual's needs, personality, and lifestyle to make the perfect match.
The breeds we work with are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Labradoodles. Even though we select the dog for the handler, we can certainly accommodate by selecting a breed of their choice, out of the three that we work with.
Yes, you do get to name your match!
Once you have been matched with a puppy, that puppy is reserved for you. It will stay with it's puppy raising family until they are about 10 months of age. While with their foster family, they will be working on their basic skills such as sit, down, stay etc. They will also be starting the very early stages of their public access training.
Once the dog returns to DDG for full time training, they will live with us on-site and receive 6-8 hours of training every single day. During this time we solidify the basic commands, and add on the service tasks.
The Transfer Process
The transfer process is one week of full time handler training. This is where a trainer spends 5-7 days, 6-7 hours a day with the handler to show the handler how to be a successful service dog team.
A portion of the transfer process is done here at DDG, and the majority of it is done off-site at places such as the grocery store, mall, and a local barn with farm animals so we can put the service dog and handler in real-life scenarios and show them how to properly handle their new companion.
A service dog trainer will be demonstrating everything the service dog has been taught, but most importantly showing the handler how to keep up with the training post graduation. The last day we hold a graduation ceremony, and the dog receives their service dog diploma.
Although most transfers take place at our facility, we can also send a trainer directly to the handler if their disability makes traveling difficult.