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creating service dog teams

Volunteer with Service Dog in Training

Service Dog Training


our positive reinforcement training philosophy

At Paragon, we believe in nurturing our dogs' skills through positive reinforcement techniques. From learning to alert to essential sounds like doorbells and alarms, to customizing their training to fit the needs of their future handler, our dogs are continuously supported to maintain their enthusiasm for their work. Positive Reinforcement Training is the foundation for each of our training programs as well as our Puppy Raiser and Puppy Sitter Programs.

Our training programs are structured into five tiers:

  • Extensive Dog Training: We focus on sound and behavior training, aligning with Assistance Dogs International standards to ensure excellence.
  • Comprehensive Handler Training: We provide new clients with the necessary skills to effectively partner with their service dog, recognizing the commitment involved.
  • Intensive Team Training: Teams undergo rigorous training sessions covering public access and sound alert testing.
  • Ongoing Skill Development: We support teams in earning full certification status through continuous training and development.
  • Annual Recertification: Teams engage in virtual sessions to maintain best practices in their work.

candidate selection

We invest a great deal of time and concentrated effort into selecting service dog candidates. Our dogs come from collaborating ADI-accredited service dog programs; breeders; and sometimes rescues, shelters, and individuals.

Our general selection guidelines are as follows:

  • Dogs who are friendly, confident, curious, problem solvers who are eager to work and love to take initiative
  • Dogs who like to investigate new things and are not fearful of new sounds
  • Dogs that are treat motivated and people-oriented
  • Dogs that have a history (if known) of getting along well with: other dogs, adults and children, cats and don’t have a high prey drive for small animals, squirrels, or birds

It really is all about the personality! Overall, dogs that enjoy spending time with people, love learning new things, are curious about the world around them, and have the confidence to learn to be comfortable in public (e.g., seeing sliding doors, shopping carts, riding on trains, hearing unexpected noises) are ideal candidates.

comprehensive training programs

Intentionally designed, advanced training extensively focuses on Public Access and Sound Alert training.

creating the partnership

Our matching process of client and service dog prioritizes compatibility and success, considering various factors to create the best possible matches – including activity level, activity level, lifestyle, and willingness to maintain training. We facilitate the process through online modules and virtual and in-person meetings, ensuring clear communication and understanding. Our thorough selection process ensures the best possible matches for success.

training for success

Client training and support consist of online preparation modules and testing and onsite hands-on training know as Team Training. Team Training focuses on classroom instruction, environmental learning, and culminates in passing certification tests. Graduating as a Certified Service Dog Team marks the beginning of their life-changing journey together.

extended support

Paragon Service Dogs provides ongoing virtual and in-person training and support for the lifetime of the match, ensuring continued best practices and success.