OUR PREP SCHOOL REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

I don’t live in San Diego but I’m willing to drive to San Diego for training—is that ok?

Unlike the more traditional two-week team training, our structure for transitioning a fully trained service dog to a new partner involves a 4-to-5 month time period in which the student must be available to meet with the trainer three times a week. With Southern California traffic such as it is, this would be too great a burden on the potential partner.

DO I QUALIFY FOR A PAWSITIVE TEAMS SERVICE DOG?

Applicants must live in San Diego County and have a mobility limiting disability. Pawsitive Teams does not train and place dogs for seizure response, hearing alert, psychiatric disabilities, autism, or developmental disabilities.

Is it OK to apply to Pawsitive Teams for a service dog and other organizations at the same time?

Because we are a very small program and generally only place 2-3 dogs each year, we encourage all interested persons to apply to other service dog organizations. The best place to start is to check out Assistance Dogs International as they have links to all their member organizations.

How long does it take to get a service dog?

Placement decisions are made specifically to match personalities, skills, needs, and lifestyles of both the dog and the human partner. Therefore, we don’t have an official “wait list” in order of application dates.

Is there a charge for your service dogs?

Each service dog applicant will be required to pay a $50 non-refundable Application Fee. Once a potential match has been identified, the applicant will be expected to contribute towards a portion of the cost of preparing the dog during the two years it is in the training program. The placement fee is $2,000—Pawsitive Teams will provide help and guidance if assistance is needed to complete this requirement. No person will be denied the opportunity to be considered as an applicant because of limited financial ability. Applicants and graduates are not required to participate in fundraising or public relations activities to support PT.

Will Pawsitive Teams certify my own dog for service work?

Our structure does not enable us to work with dogs not owned by Pawsitive Teams and cannot certify dogs not trained by Pawsitive Teams-certified trainers.

I don’t live in San Diego but I am willing to drive to San Diego for training—is this ok?

It is important that all students live in San Diego County because of our extended 4-5 month Transition Training which includes weekly training sessions in the student’s home and periodic training outings to places the student frequents such as doctor’s appointments, work, and school.

Once I have my service dog, will you continue to help me if I need it?

Because we only place service dogs with partners who live in San Diego County, we will continue follow-up support throughout the working life of the team.

What breeds do you use?

We generally work with Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and crosses of the two breeds.

Do I have to pay for expenses for my service dog once certified?

Yes, you are fully responsible for financial upkeep of the dog, including, but not limited to, dog food and veterinary care. Costs such as annual vaccinations, additional veterinary needs, dog food, and dog toys may run upwards of $1,000 per year.

Will I own the dog after certification?

Pawsitive Teams will maintain ownership for the first year after certification. If, at the end of this probationary year, the team passes the Public Access Certification Test, the dog has maintained required weight, is being used effectively, and has a balanced life, then ownership will be turned over to the graduate. However, even after this time, the team will be required to pass a bi-annual Public Access Certification Test to maintain certification under the Pawsitive Teams name.

What can I expect from my service dog?

Receiving a service dog is both an honor and a responsibility. While you come to depend on your dog for help and companionship, your dog will depend on you for food, shelter, medical care, and proper exercise. A service dog may help you live more independently in your home and in public. While the abilities of your dog will amaze you, you must remember that the service dog is an animal and will exhibit dog-like behaviors such as shedding.

Why is it important to have my dog certified as a therapy dog?

It is important to have liability insurance protection whenever you take your dog into a setting in which the dog may not be familiar. Make sure that the certifying program includes insurance for you while on an official therapy visit with your dog.

Do I have to take a therapy dog class in order to get my dog certified as a therapy dog?

No, you are not always required to take a class prior to certification. Check with the organization or hospital to find out their specific policy. Some facilities will include in-service training while others will not.

Can I take my therapy dog into a restaurant or other stores?

Therapy dogs are not considered service dogs, therefore they are not covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Here’s the link to the Service Animals FAQ section on the ADA website. Therapy dogs do not have public access rights for any place where pet dogs are not allowed.

Will my dog be a certified therapy dog after completing your Prep School?

Completion of this class does not include certification as a therapy dog or a therapy dog team. This is a Prep Class designed to get you ready for certification and to give you additional information about the various programs in the San Diego area that do certify for therapy dog volunteering.

Can I fly with my therapy dog in the cabin?

Therapy dogs do not have public access rights for any place where pet dogs are not allowed. However, some airlines will allow small dogs to fly in the cabin if they fit in a carrier at the traveler’s feet. Look on the individual airlines’ websites for their specific policies.

Can I take my therapy dog to work with me?

While some employers will allow a staff member to bring a therapy dog into the work setting, none of the organizations that certify therapy dogs will allow this environment to be included under their certification. This is mostly due to insurance and liability concerns. Therefore, anyone who wants to use a therapy dog while working will need to make sure he/she has adequate personal insurance and that the employer is aware that the therapy dog certification does not extend to the work environment.

Do all therapy dog certifications include liability insurance coverage?

No, not all organizations that certify therapy dogs will include liability insurance with their certification. Check this out thoroughly before going through the process as insurance is very important for your protection.

What is a facility dog?

A facility dog is more than a therapy dog and must be held to higher standards as the handler is doing double duty. In addition to having to focus on the dog’s needs and behavior, the handler must also put the clients first. Sometimes these responsibilities can collide. The certified handler of the dog is the only person allowed to handle the dog in the workplace.

What is a facility dog?

A facility dog is more than a therapy dog and must be held to higher standards as the handler is doing double duty. In addition to having to focus on the dog’s needs and behavior, the handler must also put the clients first. Sometimes these responsibilities can collide. The certified handler of the dog is the only person allowed to handle the dog in the workplace.

Do facility dogs have public access rights?

Facility dogs are not allowed in public places where pet dogs are not allowed, according to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

How much obedience training should a facility dog have?

A facility dog must have a higher level of obedience as there will be emergency situations where you will need to rely on the dog holding a specific command (such as a down/stay) for an extended time while chaos might be going on with staff or clients. You should make sure the dog has passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test and should have attended a number of basic and advanced obedience classes (or extended private training). There is a huge liability involved with having a facility dog in your workplace.

Do I need additional insurance if I bring my facility dog to work with me?

Whenever a dog is asked to interact with unfamiliar people, there is a huge liability for both the owner and handler of the dog. That liability extends to the facility. Lawsuits don’t discriminate. Before you bring the dog to work and allow it to interact with clients, you need to make sure you have written permission from the facility and have secured additional liability insurance on your own.

If I get my dog certified with a therapy dog organization, will their insurance cover me if I take my dog to work with me?

None of the therapy dog organizations (i.e. Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Therapy Dogs International, Love On A Leash, or Pet Partners) will allow you to use their certification while using the dog in your workplace. This always boils down to liability. While these organizations provide liability coverage for therapy dogs, there is too great a risk if you were to have your therapy dog in your individual work environment.