The America’s VetDogs assistance dog programs were created so that veterans and active duty service members with disabilities would have the opportunity to live once again with pride and self-reliance. VetDogs serves veterans from all eras who have honorably served our country.
America’s VetDogs and its parent organization, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, are the only two assistance dog schools in the United States accredited by both Assistance Dogs International and the International Guide Dog Federation.
By training and placing guide dogs for individuals who are blind or have low vision; hearing dogs for those who have lost their hearing later in life; service dogs for those with other physical disabilities; facility dogs that work with physical and occupational therapists as part of the rehabilitation process for injured service members in military and VA hospitals, and PTSD service dogs to help veterans mitigate the effects of PTSD in an effort to provide the emotional and physical support they might need; America’s VetDogs helps veterans with disabilities regain their independence.
The hallmark of our programs are the small classes and the individualized instruction each student receives. A meticulous matching program ensures that each person is paired with the assistance dog that best suits that person’s mobility, personality, lifestyle, and physical needs.
SERVICE DOG TRAINING PROGRAM
The America’s VetDogs service dog training program offers a wide variety of training opportunities for incoming handlers to learn how their new service dog will mitigate their disabilities. For a veteran with a serious limb injury, amputation, or traumatic brain injury, a service dog can be trained to help with daily tasks including pulling a wheelchair, retrieving items, bracing while walking and when going up and down stairs, turning lights off and on, opening and closing doors, pushing elevator buttons, pulling clothes and shoes off and on, responding to seizures, detecting sugar changes for diabetics, answering phones, and getting help. Each dog is specifically trained to meet an individual’s needs, and additional tasks can be added by request. During class, students and dog train together and bond to become a team.
Once accepted into the program, veterans receiving hearing dogs attend our ten-day in-residence training program at our Smithtown, NY, campus.
The handler will also learn obedience commands, health and grooming care for their dog, and much more. In addition, the handler must pass the Assistance Dog International (ADI) Public Access Test prior to leaving our facility. The ADI Public Access Test ensures that dogs are stable, well-behaved, and unobtrusive to the public. It is to ensure that the client has control over the dog, and the team is not a public hazard.
After veterans train with a guide, service, or hearing dog from America’s VetDogs, they are eligible for a lifetime of aftercare. Should they require follow-up training, our staff will arrange to work with them on any questions or concerns they might have in a prompt and professional manner, which may include a visit to their home.
To make the students’ stay as comfortable as possible, the on-campus Student Resident Hall offers single rooms with private baths and individual climate control; all rooms have private telephone lines and an Ethernet connection; there is also free Wi-Fi. The Student Union features a spacious dining room, comfortable lobby, snack room, smokers’ room, recreation room with new entertainment center, exercise and grooming room, computer lab (with adaptive technology for student use), and an outdoor patio.