What is a facility dog?
The facility dog must respond to commands (basic obedience and skilled tasks) from the facilitator 95% of the time on the first ask in all public and home environments.
- The facility dog should demonstrate basic obedience skills by responding to voice and/or hand signals for sitting, staying in place, lying down, walking in a controlled position near the facilitator and coming to the facilitator when called.
- The facility dog must meet all of the standards as laid out in the minimum standards for Service Dogs in Public and should be equally well behaved in the home.
- The facility dog must be partnered with a working professional facilitator and skilled at maintaining a calm manner and good social behavior in a variety of environments. They must also be accustomed to interacting with different types of people including those with physical and/or developmental disabilities.
- The facilitator must be provided with enough instruction to be able to meet the MSSD Minimum Standards for Service Dogs in Public. The facilitator must be able to demonstrate:
- That their dog can remain calm and display good social behavior while interacting with a variety of people in different environments.
- Knowledge of acceptable training techniques.
- An understanding of canine care and health.
- The ability to maintain training, problem solve, and continue to train/add new skills (as required) with their facility dog.
- An understanding of how to use the dog in canine assisted interventions.
- Knowledge of local access laws and appropriate public behavior.
- MSSD must document monthly follow ups with facilitators for the first 6 months following placement. Personal contact will be done by qualified staff or program volunteer within 12 months of graduation and annually thereafter.
- Identification of the facility dog will be accomplished with the laminated ID card with a photo(s) and names of the dog and partner. In public the dog must wear a cape, harness, backpack, or other similar piece of equipment or clothing with a logo that is clear and easy to read and identifiable a Service Dog.
- The program staff must demonstrate knowledge of the clients’ needs in the facility in relation to the services they provide. The program shall make available to staff and volunteers educational material on the needs of the clients in the facility.
- The facilitator must abide by the MSSD Minimum Standards of Service Dog Handlers.
- Prior to placement every facility dog must meet MSSD’s Standards and Ethics Regarding Dogs, be spayed/neutered and have current vaccination certificates as determined by their veterinarian and applicable laws. It is the program’s responsibility to inform the facilitator of any special health or maintenance care requirements for each dog.
- Program Staff and trained professional program volunteers can use program dogs in facilities to participate in canine assisted interventions. These dogs may be dogs in advanced training, breeding dogs (when not in estrous) and younger pups.