Assistance Dog Program

Assistance Dog Program

Here at Pawsitive Squad CIC, we offer a comprehensive assistance dog program to support disabled under 25-year-olds and families with multiple disabled family members including a young disabled person. 

 

To be eligible for our program, the young person must benefit from 3 assistive tasks and must meet 3 of the following criteria (unless you need to train your dog as a medical alert dog for a life-threatening condition):

  • Be unable to go shopping & attend vital medical appointments without support from a carer (including parent carer), this can be due to physical and psychological (e.g., anxiety) reasons (over 16’s only).
  • Be unable to dress and undress themselves (over 10’s only).
  • Be unable to cross a road WITHOUT reliably stopping at the curb, looking both ways and deciding when it is and is not safe to cross. (over 12 years old).
  • Be nonverbal or have less than 20 words (over 36 months old).
  • Use AAC as their primary form of communication or have no clear method of communication (over 36months old).
  • At least fortnightly display behaviour which poses a risk to the health and safety of the young person (e.g., self-harm, running away and not returning within 1 hour).
  • Be unable to access education without 1-2-1 support for at least 10 hours per week (including support required during break & lunchtimes) if in full-time education in a mainstream setting.
  • Attend a specialist provision for education.
  • Require 1-2-1 support in 6th form school, college, or university.
  • Be part of an ‘access to work’ or ‘access to education' program (over 16’s only).
  • Be unable to travel outside of the house without either two carers to the young person OR without using a wheelchair or specialist pram (over 4 years old)
  • Have a diagnosis of moderate, severe, or profound learning disabilities.
  • Have received hospital inpatient care for mental health difficulties within the last 5 years.
  • Have a medical condition that causes medical events which risk your safety (eg fainting) on at least a weekly basis.
  • Have a medical condition that causes medical events which are potentially life-threatening (e.g., hypo, anaphylaxis, generalised seizure) on average at least once every 6 weeks.
  • Have a diagnosis of epilepsy that has not been controlled with at least 3 medication trials.
  • Be a full-time wheelchair user when outside of the home.
  • Require a hoist (or carrying) to transfer between a chair, bed and floor.
  • Have limited mobility at least one upper limb.
  • Be unable to pick up items off the floor without assistance or additional equipment.
  • Be unable to sit independently (over 18 months old)
  • Be unable to stand independently (over 28 months old)
  • Be unable to walk more than 20metres without physical assistance and/or rest (over 4 years old)
  • Have a diagnosis of a degenerative condition.
  • Have a personal emergency care and resuscitation plan.
  • Require regular complex medical care provided by a specially trained adult or registered nurse (includes – providing oxygen at varying rates (excluding set rate given at night-time and set rate during the day), dialysis (home or hospital-based), parenteral or enteral nutrition or stoma care).
  • Have a diagnosis of stage 3 or stage 4 cancer.
  • Have multiple disabilities which fit into 3 or more the following classifications overall:

 > Physical

 > Psychiatric/ mental health

 > Learning/ intellectual/ developmental

 > Neurological/neurodiversity

 

Please note: ALL clients will need to travel to Derby or Nottingham at least 4 times during training for assessments, then annually for reassessment - no exceptions. 

 

As a comprehensive program, not only do we provide your task training, we also offer working skills classes that teach obedience, handling skills and public access skills all of which are vital for assistance dog partnerships. An example of the behaviours we teach includes: teaching the dog to wipe their feet and shake on command to dry off, walk to heel and on the away side on a loose lead, middle, walk behind, dual handling, wait, automatic leave, boundary training, watch me, emergency stop, recall, break (stop the behaviour you were asked to do last, e.g. if you ask your dog to go to bed, 'break' means they can now get off their bed), toileting on command, self-settle and much more. 

 

How is the training provided?

We usually offer weekly face to face and online small group classes and 3-hour intensive workshops, however, due to the covid pandemic, all services are currently online. Alongside our live practical training classes, clients also have a virtual learning zone (moodle) to cover all the canine theory they need to know as an assistance dog partnership. This includes welfare, training techniques, managing problem behaviours, dealing with access issues and unwanted public attention and more. Alongside the virtual learning modules to be completed by the young person or adult who takes primary responsibility for handling the assistance dog in public, the virtual learning zone contains various online activities for clients aged 4+ to complete with a range available to meet most ages and abilities. We do not expect young people with moderate to profound learning or intellectual disabilities to complete any of the virtual learning materials. However, the responsible handler for their dog will still be required to. 

 

What's on offer in the assistance dog program?

For the monthly membership fee of £45 per month, you receive:

  • 3 hours of practical classes per calendar month – either in the form of 4x 45-minute live teams/zoom session, 4x face to face 45-minute classes or a 3-hour face to face intensive workshop (you choose each month which classes you want and can mix and match - e.g. do 2 working skills sessions and 2 physical assistance sessions one month, then a 3-hour workshop the next month etc.).
  • ALL group* assessments included your face-to-face, virtual and written assessments (*there will be a one-off top-up fee if you decide to do live assessments individually).
  • A one to one 15 minute catch up every 3 months.
  • One virtual canine-assisted activity session per month
  • One sibling activity session for any siblings or other children in the household per month
  • Virtual learning Moodle
  • Weekly parent chat & activity sessions
  • Weekly live Q&A sessions
  • 2 virtual parties per year including yearly award ceremony with trophy & certificate**.
  • Annual 1-page report (can be used for EHCP, DLA, PIP application etc.) upon request ***

All for only £45 per calendar month until your dog passes their gold assistance dog award.

 

What's on offer once my dog is a fully trained assistance dog (passed their gold award)?

For the monthly subscription fee of £12.50 per calendar month, fully trained partnerships receive:

  • 45 minutes of practical classes per calendar month – either online or face to face, you can choose from any task class, working skill class or the dedicated 'gold level + top-up class.'
  • Annual reassessment 
  • A one to one 15 minute catch up every 4 months.
  • One virtual canine-assisted activity session per month
  • One sibling activity session for any siblings or other children in the household
  • Virtual learning Moodle including access to a continued development course 
  • Weekly parent chat & activity sessions
  • Weekly live Q&A sessions
  • 2 virtual parties per year including yearly award ceremony with trophy & certificate**.
  • Annual 1-page report (can be used for EHCP, DLA, PIP application etc.) upon request ***

 

 

For children and young people with certain health conditions, we have a special circumstances pathway through the assistance dog program. To be eligible for this, the young person must meet at least one of the following:

1) Have a degenerative condition which means their physical or cognitive abilities are expected to significantly deteriorate in the next 2 years.
2) Be receiving palliative or hospice care.
3) Have a condition which causes life-threatening medical events on a regular or semi-regular basis requiring significant medical intervention to sustain life.
4) Have a health condition which is considered to be significantly life-limiting (medical prediction of up to 10 more years.)
5) Have a condition that requires now or will require shortly at least weekly hospital medical treatment/monitoring (e.g. dialysis, chemotherapy, weekly blood tests excludes physio, OT, SALT etc) on a long term basis.

6) Have a stage 4 cancer diagnosis.

 

For more information on the special circumstances pathway to assistance dog training, including how to apply, please click here.

 

Before applying to join our assistance dog program, unless you're applying through the special circumstances pathway, you must complete the pre-application 8-week course. For more information or to book onto the pre-application course, please click here.