Paying it forward to help Assistance Dogs

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

Since setting up our Online Academy, we've met more and more dog owners who have struggled to apply for an assistance dog, or have failed to get help with training their own dogs.

Waiting lists are full and it's simply not easily accessible,

taking many owners further away from their dream of training their dog to assist them in everyday life. This means owners are left with the challenging, and sometimes impossible task of training a dog themselves!

Having taken care of my own mother through a deadly and debilitating disability, which saw the complete loss of her ability to move independently and communicate, and seeing how much an assistance dog would have benefited her life and given her some much needed freedom and indepenence, we wanted to find a way to give back to the community and help people like her to live life to the fullest. This is my memorial to her.

And so the Online Academy was born. We've spent the last year creating over 350 video tutorials and supporting the training of dog owners worldwide.

With the success of the Academy and the amazing community that has grown around it, we'll now be donating our own income generated from the Online Academy to source puppies from reputable breeders, put training in place through their first year, and match them to suitable families. We'll also be able to offer the occasional gifted stay to owners with puppies who plan to train them to become assistance dogs.

This means that whilst we're working hard to provide content and support for our Academy members, we're then donating our income from this to support Assistance Dogs in training!

This means we'll be donating our time to Assistance Dogs every year, choosing a select number of puppies from reputable breeders, and providing training for them before matching them to families
We ask you to help us to grow our community so that together, we can change lives and in turn, help support even more owners and their dogs

What will you get for becoming a member?

By supporting us, you'll receive top quality online training for you and your dog, which includes:

  • Instant access to over 350 video tutorials, available to watch at a time to suit you

  • Train your dog in your own time and at your own pace, with our personal support

  • Take part in monthly challenges, to keep your training on track

  • Submit videos to earn your Canine Community Awards

  • Submit videos to earn your Trick Dog Titles

  • Watch weekly Live training demos with novice dogs, to show realtime troubleshooting

  • Weekly Live Q&A with Mike, so you can ask questions about your dog's training

  • Post videos of your training sessions for our personal feedback

  • We'll help you to build weekly training plans, so you know which videos suit your dog

  • Share your training wins with our friendly & inclusive community

  • New videos are created all the time, and added FREE! Never pay more for the content we create!

Other ways you can help!

You can sign up and gift your membership to a dog owner in need!

We often have owners who would love to sign up to our training, but can't afford to do so. So your contribution can help to give vital training to those in need.

Training is valuable and helps to keep dogs in their family homes and out of rescue centres. If you'd like to donate your membership, please sign up and then email us direct to let us know:

Who are we helping at the moment?

Meet Punk

He is a Rottweiler puppy who is training to become a Dual Trained Assistance Dog for his owner who suffers with CMT (a degenerative muscle wasting neurological condition), which results in poor balance, lack of feeling in limbs and difficulty with mobility which may eventually require a wheelchair.

In addition to this, he will be an emotional support dog to support his owner with Autism, helping to relieve anxiety.

Punks training is part of our Gifted Residential Stays, funded by our Online Academy memberships.

During Punks 4 week training stay, we taught him some essential tasks such as opening doors, turning on lights, retrieving items, giving space and carrying things. We've also built a high level of obedience training in a variety of busy environments, preparing him for his assessments and access tests when he is old enough

Meet Shoki and Tymeika

Shoki is a French Bulldog Puppy who is going to be an Assistance Dog for his owner Tymeika who is a Triplegic. This means she is wheelchair bound and only has use of one arm.

Shoki will learn tasks to help her in everyday life, including closing doors, fetching items, helping with washing and alerting to medical attention. This essential training will enable Tymeika to have more independence and freedom.

Shoki will be joining us for a Gifted Residential Stay in October.

Meet Hunter and Lisa

Hunter is a Labrador puppy who is going to be an Assistance Dog for his owner Lisa who needs to use a Wheelchair due to Lumbar spine degeneration.

Hunter will learn tasks to help her to retrieve objects, open and close doors, empty the washing machine, turn on lights, putting her purse on a counter and general everyday chores.

He will be joining us for a Gifted Residential Stay in November.

Meet Buddy & Claire

Buddy is a Miniature Poodle who is going to be an Assistance Dog for his owner Claire who suffers from an auto immune disorder, sudden migraine attacks, high blood pressure and anxiety. Buddy has been a member of our Online Academy for the past 12 months, and this has enabled his owner to do much of the training with Buddy herself.

Buddy has passed his Gold Canine Community Award with us (a much more advanced version of the Gold Kennel Club Award), and has mastered many tasks such as retrieving objects, opening and closing doors, deep pressure therapy, crowd control and pulling off socks

We're also providing Buddy with gifted one to one lessons to help him with that final step of training needed to pass his Access Tests so that his owner can feel more confident to go out independently

Meet Elsie & Heather

Elsie is a Pug who is training to become an Assistance Dog for her owner Heather, who has Cerebral Palsy. This means she is wheelchair bound and only has use of one hand. Heather can't pick up anything that she drops, can't open doors without extreme difficulty and can't pull her bed covers back up when they fall down, so teaching Elsie how to do these tasks will be a great help!

Having Elsie trained as an Assistance Dog would enable Heather to be more independent and give her the confidence to go out by herself.

Elsie will be learning tasks such as retrieving items and opening and closing doors, so that her owner can have more independence. We'll be offering gifted one to one lessons to help them to achieve their goals as a team.

Do you need help with training your own Assistance Dog?

Do you have a dog who you are training yourself to become an Assistance Dog?

We recommend signing up to our Online Owner Trained Assistance Dog Programme

Written by Jenny Trigg.

Adolescent Dogs, Director & Head Trainer

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