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Service Dog Training School FAQ

How much does it cost?

Anthem knows the struggle of cost for training service dogs. Our goal is to make it as affordable as possible. Every 6 week course is $180. Every human-dog team wishing to enter the program must fill out a questionnaire and be evaluated and approved for a class. The non-refundable evaluation fee is $25 which, If approved, will go towards the cost of the class. 

What kind of service dogs will you train?

The tasks we teach will qualify dogs for Mobility, Psychiatric, and medical response* service dogs. We can also trouble-shoot with you for specific tasks needed in areas such as:

Seizure response

Cardiac response

Hearing alert

Diabetic alert

Allergen detection

Pediatric service dog

The skills will not be for guide dogs.

*Detection and Response are very different!

What breed of dog?

A breed that can perform the tasks needed to mitigate your disability. If you do not have a dog yet but plan on getting one, we would be happy to consult with you about the best breed for the job needed. See the Pre-Class Assessment section for more information on dog selection.

Where and when will classes be held?

Beginner, Intermediate, and Task classes will be held at Top Dog Ranch at 121st and Lynn Lane in Broken Arrow. We offer day time, evening, and weekend classes. All class types are formulated as six 1-hour sessions spread over 6 weeks. Advanced and Public Outings classes will be held in public settings set by the instructor. This could be a grocery store, retail store, restaurant, park, event, etc. 

Who is teaching this class?

Trainer Alaina Pekary of Anthem Service Dogs who is one of our expert trainers and has been with Anthem since 2019. She trained our first graduate, Benson. Canine Enrichment Certified (Dognostics), Graduate Certificate of Animal Assisted Therapy (Harcum College).

Trainer Kate Friedl, founder of Anthem Service Dogs

What are class expectations?

Only 4 dogs per class due to space and to ensure quality of content and attention. There will be a lot of informational handouts such as service dog laws, do's and don'ts, etiquette, how to train, how not to train, etc. No more than 2 adults per dog. No more than 1 dog per adult. Specific training gear and treats will be recommended but not provided.

What type of training application do you use?

We closely follow the Association of Professional Dog Trainers guidelines. Our philosophy starts with LIMA (Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive) which was developed through years of studies concluding dogs process information the same as humans just with different bodies and different language communication. Training dogs based on their autonomic nervous system status can mean the difference of success and failure.

We do not use the following tools/techniques while training any behavior or during behavior modification: choke collar, prong collar, shock collar (including “stim-collar” and “e-collar”), bonker, shaker-can, citronella spray, water spray, leash-pop/leash-correction (with any type of collar/harness), yelling, or any other technique designed to cause fear, pain, or startle in the dog. 

We do use the following: using the dog's "free will of choice" or force free, stress-deficient environment or challenges, reward based learning, teaches self-calming techniques to dogs and handlers, monitors body language for signs of stress, meets dog's psychological needs, operant training, safety first training, body language and communication. 

What can you guarantee?

In the service dog world there are no guarantees. On average, 20% of dogs that go into service dog training will pass. This is due to things like genetic abnormalities or development issues, injury, reactivity, breed not suited for work, etc. What we can guarantee is the training application and content provided will be from very experienced trainers. Service dog training is a discipline that may or may not be suited for you. It takes as much time and dedication as having a human toddler. Please do as much research as you can before committing yourself and a dog to the work ahead.

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