Owner Self Trainer Program:
The MSSD Owner/Self-Training course is designed to teach clients to train their own dogs to be their service dog. Training your own service dog is an in-depth process requiring discipline, but can be immensely rewarding.
MSSD requires that Owner/Self-Trainer teams work with MSSD for a minimum of 6 months, and that the dog be trained to perform a minimum of 3 tasks to offset the owner’s disability.
Application, Interview and Assessment:
Individuals must have their dog assessed by MSSD in order to determine suitability for service dog work. After acceptance into the Owner/Self-Training program, you may have private and group sessions.
Private sessions are one-on-one training sessions with an MSSD trainer. Classes focus on Public Access, Scent Training, or Task Work. At the conclusion of the course of training, the ADI Public Access test will be administered to the client/dog team. If public access is not achieved with the first try, subsequent training will be recommended.
Group Sessions are set up for individuals work on Public Access, Scent Training or Task Work and proofing. Groups will learn about the ADA Law and State Laws as they pertain to service dogs. We cover basic care of dogs including grooming, nutrition, basic dog psychology, and canine development. At the conclusion of the course of training, the ADI Public Access test will be administered to the client/dog team. If public access is not achieved with the first try, subsequent training will be recommended.
Individuals are required to attend a minimum of 1 training session per week and turn in weekly training logs. If you have more than 2 unexcused absences then you may be removed from the program.
The OST program may not be for everyone! This is a grueling process with many highs and lows. It requires dedication and hard work. Although there are no guarantees with service dogs, this program can be very rewarding!
To keep your certification and handling skills current, you will be required to pass the ADI Public Access Test on an annual basis. New photo identification cards will be issued each year.
Service Dog Program
MSSD places dogs with veterans, military members, and first responders requiring individual and family support for disabilities including mobility impairments, seizure disorders, diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders. From puppy selection through training and matching with a client, our focus is on the mental, physical and emotional well-being of the dogs in our care. They complete one of the most demanding fields of dog training to serve clients who have disabilities. Throughout our training and placement process, we at MSSD emphasize building a deep bond and strong relationship between a dog and their handler. We do this by including the handler in their service dog’s training. The profound relationship developed helps bind the human handler and service dog into a partnership that will withstand the challenges of their journey together.
This program is similar to the Owner/Self Trainer program except MSSD provides a carefully selected dog to become your partner. This, like our other programs, requires patience, dedication and determination!
If you are interested in the service dog program, download and fill out the application above. Contact email@example.com once it’s complete to set up and interview.
Therapy Dog Training
Midnight Sun Service Dogs also has a wonderful Therapy Dog Program. A therapy dog is a dog that is trained to bring comfort to others. Our teams visit many locations, providing comfort and a smile to as many people as possible.
Pawsitive Reading – Dogs don’t judge, they don’t rush, and they don’t correct. The Pawsitive Reading program focuses on giving kids confidence in their reading skills and encouraging them to keep reading.
Our therapy teams visit schools and libraries providing an opportunity for kids to read to a dog who will do nothing but listen, and a handler who will only offer positive feedback.
If you are interested in bringing the Pawsitive Reading program to your school or library, or hosting a Pawsitive Reading Day at your business, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hospital Visits – Our therapy teams visit various hospitals around the state. Patients we visit enjoy the social interactions with the teams, are comforted by the dogs’ presence, and enjoy the proven health benefits of the physical contact.
Assisted Living/Retirement Homes – Our therapy teams visit various assisted living homes, retirement homes, and residential homes around Alaska. Residents are able to visit with our teams, pet and talk to the dogs, and even do some basic training!
North Star Residential Treatment – Our therapy dog teams go to North Star three times per week to work with the children. The children are able to gain confidence and self esteem through these interactions. They learn basic handling skills, and enjoy training the dogs.
We have many other venues that our therapy teams visit! If you are interested in this very rewarding experience, and would like to train your dog to do therapy work, please download and fill out the application above. Once you have your application complete call 907-250-7252 to request an in-person interview and assessment of your dog.
The cost of this program and certification is $150.