My guess is, if you are here, you are looking for more information on service dogs and asking yourself if a service dog is right for you. Maybe you have been researching for months, or years, or maybe you just began your search today.
Either way, there is a lot of information out there, and much of it is very confusing.
Don't worry, you are in the right place! Let me explain to you how we created our Service Dog Training Program. It all begins with how I got into professional dog training...
I trained my first service dog myself, with help from VHS tapes and dog training books, (because yes, it was a while ago). There were no dog trainers in my area. I finally found one in the next state over, so we drove to talk to her about service dog training, what all my dog would need, and our next steps.
But she couldn't help me.
All she told me was to teach my dog to put her head in my lap (can you believe that?). A 4-hour drive there, with our dog and baby in the car, to be told that.
By the time we moved to Florida, my dog was already working as my service dog, but I tried to find a service dog trainer, again, to make sure we hadn't missed anything.
And again, I could not find anyone who could guide us or help us.
You don't have to go through that.
What if I told you we have a way to get you and your dog where you need to go faster, with more success and less frustration?
That there are things you can teach a pet dog that you should never teach a service dog?
And that there are things a service dog is taught that you should never teach a pet dog?
That most trainers who "help" owner/trainers do them a disservice because they do not know these things.
They don't understand the daily life of having and relying on your service dog just to make it through your day.
But we do.
You see, it is different working with a dog for a few hours, or even a few weeks, versus actually understanding what it is like to really need a service dog.
We know what training needs to be done first, before anything else.
We know when you can start bringing your service puppy or service dog in training out with you.
We know what evaluations your dog needs to become a service dog in training. And later, a service dog.
We know how to teach service dog skills and tasks so they are easy to understand and doable.
And best of all, we know how to teach you these things. This will be the only Service Dog Training Program you will ever need.
You see, service dog handlers usually have 2 options:
(1) go with a program. This means waiting 3 to 5 years, or more - if you can even get on the list - and pay up to $30,000-60,000 for your service dog. Or
(2) owner-train. This means not knowing if your dog has service dog potential, how to get started, in what order you train, or what - exactly - to do.
But guess what...
Our Service Dog Training Program offers a 3rd option - professional guidance and support in all aspects relating to the training of your service dog, so you do not make mistakes.
With our Service Dog Training Program, you can jump forward your training by months and years, giving you the lifeline to independence you need.
We work exclusively with owner-trainers, from helping you choose a puppy, to basic and advanced training, public access training, service dog skills, service dog tasks, evaluations, and more.
Let me take you back to when I was owner/training my very first service dog again.
I always had people approach and ask me questions about their dogs training and behavior. In fact, my dog training career was born when other people started referring clients to me. And when people found out that I had a service dog? Wow.
We saw the huge need for owner/trainers to have access to professional training.
And the owner/trainers would come to our group classes, or personal training, or boot camp.
But it wasn't enough.
It takes around 2 years to fully train a service dog, so while we worked with the owner/trainer and the service dog in training for a month or so, they were on their own for the rest of the time. Of course, we were available when they contacted us with questions, but it still wasn't enough.
It is hard to stay motivated, and easy to let something slide. And it is easy to put off contacting us with any questions until "tomorrow" (which never comes).
Since we have been helping owner/trainers train their service dogs for over a decade, we asked ourselves, what exactly do owner/trainers need to get a top notch service dog? And we put that together into a program!
Ready to find out more?
I started taking my chocolate lab to Victoria at Dream Dogz since he was 4 months old and it has been the best decision. It is never too young to start training.
They are so knowledgeable and patient. He is the best behaving dog I have ever had and it is all thanks to them.
I don’t know what I would’ve done without Victoria and Rich.
I didn’t listen to my seizure dog Max one evening, had a grand mal on a tile floor and crushed half my face in. They took Max last minute, are giving him a refresher boot camp while I get my face rebuilt.
They are amazing with animals and have been a gift from God.
Jake was always overly adrenalized when I took him to the barn or out anywhere for that matter. Now with Dream Dogz, Jake calmly stayed in a down in an aisle way surrounded by horses out in the pasture, focused on coming when I called him and was able to change up his here command with a few downs in the middle.
I had an obedient dog before Dream Dogz, but only when there was no distractions. I did not know how to handle him out in the real world. Now I have a Dream Dog wherever we go. Thank you Victoria and Rich!
Everyone there is great. Big improvement with my dog, and we will be doing more training.
The instructors have a special gift for working with the dogs and owners.
Before I contacted Dream Dogz, I was having issues with my dog focusing and holding certain commands. I felt defeated! It was so discouraging and it constantly brought me down.
In my search for a program, I had looked for hours upon hours. When I found Dream Dogz, and saw their work and experience, I had confidence this would be what could help me.
I knew Dream Dogz could help me on the night before I had actually called and signed up. While I was researching, I was looking on Victoria’s YouTube channel, and I just started crying because I saw how hard she worked to fix the problems the dogs had.
Now that we have trained with Dream Dogz, life is great! I train every other day (since my body has a hard time with everyday) with my dog. He is on track to possibly attend school with me in the first few months of 2018. We are preparing for our CGC, then more training until the public access test which we hope to take in early 2018.
I have a pitbull who, though very well behaved, needed some fine tuning before he could be a working dog in the public.
I have not got him back from his 4 weeks board & train yet but at the half way meet up I saw so many amazing changes in my Valentine. He was willingly calm and walked right at my heel, he followed commands, and he reacted so well to the slightest correction.
My dog is ready to be out in the public and work with children, all because of the very capable trainers at Dream Dogz.
My favorite part is that he stays in a living room as a part of the family during the whole training. Even at the half way point I notice such an amazing difference in my already well behaved dog. He loves all of the other trainers so much!!!
We are currently going through Service Dog training with our 9 month old GSD, and let me say that it has been nothing but wonderful progress.
My fiance and I are very pleased with how well structured the program is and how quick Zion (our GSD) has responded to the training, of course with constant daily effort on our part. We tend to travel a lot to Orlando so it is SUPER convenient that Dream Dogz provides a flexible schedule in their program.
Zion is halfway through his "60 Day to Your Dream Dog" training and closing up on his 5 week boarding. The trainers are amazing, helpful, and have guided us so much with Zion's training. So far everything has been phenomenal and will definitely be back in a few months to update on Zion's development.
Viviana is nothing short of a miracle worker!
She’s a wonderful trainer and an amazing, genuine, kind, patient human being! Thank you for everything you did for my boy!
Both my dog and I look forward to attending class.
He really perks up when we turn down the road and is very anxious to get inside. After all of this time of dog ownership and training and working dogs, I still am amazed with the new ideas and things to try in both the regular class and the special workshops.
My 7 month old SDIT was board trained for 4 weeks for scent training and obedience/public access so that he will one day be a diabetic alert dog for me.
Though I live in Atlanta, I chose Dream Dogz because when I first contacted Victoria it was evident that she was on same page as me as to the plan for training. I also felt that she had a sincere interest in helping my dog prepare for SD work.
I had taken him to a beginner group class locally, before he went to Dream Dogz, so he had a basic foundation and I found that when he returned home he was much tighter and focused on his obedience training.
Most importantly, after board training, he had the scent down to detect low blood sugar and was able to give a live alert within a few days of coming home. I feel that Dream Dogz provided me and my dog with the needed knowledge and tools to continue our scent training and be a successful team. My dog also began e-collar training with them and his recall has greatly improved in just a weeks time. I was able to keep up with his progress through FB and Instagram and Victoria responded to all of my texts very quickly. It is nice knowing that I have her continued support, as well. I highly recommend Dream Dogz!
We contacted Dream Dogz because we had what we thought was a simple issue with a newly adopted rescue. My daughter adopted a husky mix that was told by the rescue would be a good service dog candidate. His initial seemingly passive behavior in the beginning and that he knew some basic commands led her to adopt him. The rescue knew she lived on a third floor, however they didn’t test the dog on stairs, or bother to prep him as you’d figure a good rescue would do when considering pairs or placing an animal to a forever home, they dropped the dog to my daughter, he was terrified of stairways. Their staff couldn’t get him up but my daughter and I got him up ok but the training to go down was slow going, it was getting frustrating, and near end of day, so we decided it was time and that maybe Dream Dogz could help.
They responded to our inquiry immediately, came over to help within 10 minutes, which is amazing service within itself. Most importantly though, they immediately identified serious problem in the dogs temperament, mainly aggression that he (and the rescue group) was hiding from us his first few days with us (we had him 4 days).
I’ve raised large dogs, mostly rescues themselves for over 30 years and never had such a terrifying experience, sure some have issues, most rescues have baggage, but in our experience, nothing to this level. Thankfully the dogs we have rescued and raised in the past were what you see what you get dogs, so we were so taken back and in disbelief that my daughters dog had turned out exactly opposite of what he had first appeared! When we first assessed this dog to pick, you’d never have thought he had an ounce of aggression, he spent most of the day snoozing, he appeared to be a relaxed well mannered dog.
Dream Dogz let us know that its not uncommon for dogs to show their true colors a few days or up to a week or two being in a new home. We were heartbroken, thinking we had found such a good dog only to see the full level of aggression come out, and realized immediately we’d have to return the husky mix and find a passive and more suitable dog.
What impressed me the most about Dream Dogz, although we only paid for an hour ‘stairs” appt, they spent well over two hours with us at no extra charge as they stayed explaining to us our options if we had tried to keep the dog, they were even willing to credit back the charge payment since my daughter after seeing the aggression was going to return the dog, they stayed and comforted both my daughter and I, they even tried to speak to directly to the rescue, who refused to speak to them and my daughter and I, this “rescue” only sending text messages while trying to outright deny the dogs aggression to which we all had just witnessed. The rescue showed no concern or regard for my daughter’s safety or that of community, they basically didn’t want to take any responsibility for not disclosing the dogs past behavior problems.
Anyway, I can’t thank Dream Dogz enough, they went to answer what we all thought to be a fairly simple call, that turned into something much much worse than we ever expected, they handled themselves professionally, and went above and beyond their duties, they went the extra mile, gave their time to us, and most definitely saved my daughter or anyone else for that matter from getting seriously injured. The dog was quickly returned despite the objections of the “rescue.”
Dream Dogz also went above and beyond by offering to assist my daughter in the future with finding/ screening a suitable dog to help her. There aren’t many places that go the extra mile like that. I don’t know of many that would have stayed and walked us thru such an unexpected and horrible situation and do all that they did to help at no extra charge! It’s not about the buck for them, they truly care!!
Words just aren’t enough to thank you for saving my daughter’s well being, thank you for all that you did~we most highly and definitely recommend.
Before I found Dream Dogz, my dog was not listening to me at all. I felt helpless, like it would never happen. What set Dream Dogz apart was their approach, how they communicated why these techniques were used and why and how they worked.
I realized that Dream Dogz was actually working to solve my problem when I watched videos of the change in other dogs during their training, then got to watch the daily progress that our dog made. Now, life is happier and less stressful. I am so proud when people tell me how good she is!
When I first came to Dream Dogz, I knew I needed help training my own service dog but did not know how to do it. My puppy pulled a lot and nothing I was doing was working. Dream Dogz used a variety of techniques to see what worked best for my puppy.
I knew Aedan was getting it after I was in an automobile accident. He walked very slowly with my and my walker. He was brilliant! Aedan has made a world of difference in my life! I don’t know what I would do without him.
I took my Chihuahua/Spaniel to Dream Dogz to be trained as a service dog and they were wonderful.
I remember feeling anxious in the beginning, but when my dog went to Rich without a problem I felt at ease. They treated her so well and she learned so much and so did I.
Now Heart is a part of their family and whenever I go out of town and I decide not to take her, Dream Dogz is her second home with Auntie Victoria and Uncle Rich.
I know they will treat Heart as if she was one of their own. I’m glad I found Dream Dogz and of you use them, I promise you will not regret it!
Dream Dogz is absolutely amazing, I cannot say enough good things about them.
I brought my dog to them for their board and train program after another trainer said that she couldn't train my dog. Simply put, I was devastated. However, Victoria and Richard reassured me that they could work with my dog and make her into my dream dog.
Within a week, they had crate trained her--something that I NEVER expected to be possible. My husband and I had tried with very little results to crate train our dog, but it resulted in a lot of broken crates and sleepless nights.
Additionally, they really improved her basic obedience skills. Seriously, I was amazed by the progress she made with them in such little time.
One of the things that I loved about working with them is that they constantly gave me updates on her progress.
I got a lot of videos of them working with her and pictures of her playing with other dogs and relaxing in her crate.
My friends have all been amazed by the progress that Rosie has made and I eagerly recommend to them Dream Dogz.
Victoria and her team are seriously the best.
We have used Dream Dogz with two of our dogs and live in Ocala FL.
Our first is a black German Shepherd who had pretty serious anxiety issues. She had become destructive with furniture or anything else she could get her teeth around. We found Dream Dogz while they were still located in Gainesville a few years ago and put her in a 4 week program. We could not have been any more delighted with the training our dog got. She came home so much calmer, happier and content.
We were given the information up front about the e-collar and walked through how it would be used and what for. Used correctly, which you're trained to do, it's simply a form of communication with your dog.
A few years later I went back to Victoria and Rich to train my service dog. Winters training is PHENOMENAL, she was with her trainer for 5 weeks, her training covered all the basics of service dog training so when I brought her home and continued the training Winter did great.
It has been 6 months since I worked with Dream Dogz, I have been invited several times to public outing for continued training and a 4 once a week meeting for training.
I can call them whenever I want for advice.
As a service animal Winter conducts herself perfectly.
I get so many compliments on how well my dog is trained. People don't even know she's there most of the time.
I could not be happier because it was an investment to meet a great need and my need what met.
I couldn't have done it without Victoria, Rich and Viviana.
I would recommend them to anyone.
But would add that this is your dog and you know them better than anyone do not hesitate to communicate what your dog needs while they are with Dream Dogz. Your dog is safe in their care.
We took our Border Collie to Dream Dogz for obedience and proper socialization and he earned his Canine Good Citizen title.
He is my son’s medical alert dog, so it was very important for him to have this foundation to his training. We enjoyed the training and the activities along with the new friends we met!
My service dog puppy was so mouthy! It was overwhelming at times.
I came to Dream Dogz because they have experience with service dogs, and my dog responded beautifully. He is now a full service dog!