Training Program Protocol

Lake, the formative months

The Golden Retrievers in the Assistance Dog Training Program have been purchased from reputable, quality breeders within the state of Florida. All dogs have a three-generation pedigree, with every single dog in the lineage passing all health clearances for hips, elbows, eyes, and hearts. All dogs are temperament tested. Our dogs are not aggressive, noise-sensitive, or shy. All of our dogs receive their needed vaccinations, and are on monthly heartworm, tick and flea prevention products.

Genesis Assistance Dogs, Inc. recognizes that it’s very easy to become attached to our wonderful puppies. In order to help our puppies and puppy raisers through the process, our puppies are moved from a person or family approximately every six to eight months. It is our opinion that it is easier on the dog to become used to different people and environments during his training process. Our motto is: “Change is good and normal.”

We believe this assists the dog in being more adaptable to a variety of environments and people. We also believe it is easier for a person or family to know from the beginning that they are part of a team of people who will help develop a puppy for his future as an assistance dog. We encourage raisers to stay in touch with each other and keep detailed logs and journals that will travel with the dog all the way to their final placement with a client.

Puppy Raisers are a key building block to our dogs’ success. Regardless of which age range you have, all Puppy Raisers have training lesson attendance responsibilities which vary by the pup’s needs, group outing requirements and event attendance as well as daily command and task practice.

Oliver's first visit to a nursing home.

Puppies are placed with one of the Genesis families at approximately 8 weeks of age. Our puppies are socialized to a variety of environments, people, other friendly pets, children and persons with disabilities. During this time, the training staff and Pre-School Puppy Raisers will work with their puppy on a variety of tasks such as housebreaking, handling, leash walking, manners and basic commands. Puppies will be consistently evaluated by the Director of Training to monitor their progress. All puppies will wear Genesis “Dog in Training” vests until they become Service Dogs in Florida.

dog-program-3Puppies will be placed with their Elementary Puppy Raiser family at approximately four months of age and will remain with this family until they are approximately a year old. This family will be responsible for maintaining all commands the pup has already learned as well as teaching new ones, socialization, handling, and generalization to public life and achieving the skills to successfully complete the AKC Canine Good Citizen title with their pup.

When puppies are a year old, they will be placed with a Junior Puppy Raiser family to begin their intermediate training and will remain with that family for six months. This family shares all the responsibilities of the prior Puppy Raiser family and has a different set of tasks and goals to teach the pup. They will accomplish completing the AKC Canine Good Citizen title and our Public Access test.

Puppies will be placed with their Advanced Puppy Raiser family to begin advanced training and will remain with this family for approximately six months. This family will be responsible for reinforcing everything the dog has learned with prior families as well as teaching and maintaining new skills that are geared specific skills that will assist their future partners.

Once a puppy has completed its basic, intermediate and advanced training, and has passed all required tests, we will schedule Team Training with the client and their dog. Team Training is designed to ensure the client can handle the dog, perform and reinforce all training and task commands, and learn about Service Dog rights and responsibilities.

Genesis Assistance Dogs, Inc. has an ongoing commitment to our clients and our service dogs in Florida. Our staff is always available for support and assistance to our client and his or her dog. We will help in any way we can and continue to monitor the health, care and well-being of our working assistance dogs. Clients are required to submit log sheets for at least six months after placement. They will receive a monthly check up for the first six months. Our dogs will be evaluated on an annual basis to ensure the team is being successful. We require a letter of health every six months from a certified veterinarian for the life of the dog to ensure all vaccinations, flea, tick and heartworm records are up to date.

Genesis Assistance Dogs, Inc. has a commitment to honesty and integrity. We respect others and their relationships with their dogs. It is a Genesis policy to never threaten to take away a dog from a client or raiser for any reason other than proven neglect, abuse or non-compliance with Genesis’ policies and procedures. Once a client receives their dog, he/she is theirs for the rest of his/her life. If a client chooses not to continue or maintain his/her training, the client will no longer be able to represent our organization.

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