Partner with a Dog
How to Get a Service Dog
A service dog is trained to assist individuals with disabilities so that they are more able to participate in day to day activities. Service dogs can bring a sense of freedom to their partners 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. A person partnered with a service dog has full public access rights as granted by federal law (The Americans With Disabilities Act), which allows them to take their dog into all public facilities. That way, service dogs are never separated from their human partners!
How Does a Service Dog Help?
A service dog can assist individuals with disabilities by:
- Providing balance or support when standing or walking
- Assisting with transfers from a wheelchair to a chair/bed
- Opening doors
- Retrieving things for their person
- Turning lights on/off
- Alerting a person who may have a seizure
- Alerting to cardiac episodes
Service Dogs provide greater independence, joy, fulfillment, confidence, security, and love. Our CPL service dog program is designed to help individuals who have a wide range of disabilities. CPL trains service dogs to assist individuals who have mobility impairments and balance disorders, difficulty using their hands/arms, health related fatigue issues, and people with seizure/cardiac syncope and Type 1 Diabetes disorders. People who have disabilities such as those listed below may benefit from a CPL service dog. If your disability is not listed, however you meet the criteria above and are interested in becoming more independent, you should consider applying for a CPL service dog.
Disabilities That a Service Dog Can Help With:
- Cardiac-related disabilities
- Cerebral Palsy
- Chronic back/neck problems
- Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
- Epilepsy/seizure disorders
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Spina Bifida
- Spinal Cord Injuries
How is a Service Dog Trained?
The Canine Partners for Life service dog program spends two years preparing each dog for its working life. Each CPL service dog spends their first year of training learning basic obedience and being socialized in public. The second year of training is focused on more advanced service skills. It is also during the second year when each CPL dog will be tested to determine whether they have the innate ability to alert to medical conditions. During the last few months of training, each dog’s skills are tailored to meet their future partner’s needs. In order for a CPL dog to go through the full training program, they must be innately physically sound, temperamentally stable, happy working partners. Great care is taken to select only the most appropriate dogs for this level of work, but a few common dog breeds are more likely to carry the characteristics required in a service dog.
Service Dog Breeds at CPL
CPL uses primarily Labrador retrievers in its service dog program.
Labrador Retriever Service Dogs– Labs make great service dogs due to their innate loyalty, trainability and size. Labrador retrievers are also extremely adaptable, meaning they are flexible to many different lifestyles. Their steady temperament prepares them to handle obstacles and crises with a calm demeanor and reliable response.
CPL also utilizes golden retrievers, poodles, and Labradoodles.
Golden Retriever Service Dogs– Golden retrievers are extremely loyal, highly intelligent, and easy to train for a variety of tasks. Their size and stature makes them great at supporting those who need help with balance and walking. Golden retrievers are also great with children and other animals, and are active without being overly energetic.
Poodle Service Dogs– Why do you see so many poodles in dog shows? Aside from their looks, Poodles are highly intelligent and are one of the most trainable, obedient dogs. Their intelligence and love of working and companionship make them one of the top 5 service dog breeds. Beyond all else, Poodles are extremely dependable and adaptable and love being companion dogs with a purpose.
* CPL does occasionally use Standard Poodles in our program, which are generally suitable for placement with individuals with dog allergies. However, the wait for a Poodle will be significantly longer than for other breeds. Requests for non-shedding dogs can only be considered when the applicant or a member of their household has an allergy to dogs that precludes placement with a dog that sheds.
Labradoodle Service Dogs- Although not recognized widely as a service dog breed, Labradoodles are a cross between a standard poodle and a Labrador retriever– 2 of the top breeds with innate characteristics of a reliable assistance companion. Labradoodles can take on the intelligence of a poodle, and the adaptability of a Labrador. Labradoodles make great companion dogs for people of all ages because of their ability to adapt to each individual’s needs and preferences.
CPL dogs come from three sources - our own small breeding program, donated puppies from responsible breeders and occasionally from shelters and rescues.