Service Dogs

ABOUT OUR TRAINING

Topdog Training Autism Assistance Dog Program focuses on improving the quality of life for families of children living with Autism.

Our highly skilled Autism Assistance Dogs offer families three key advantages – safety, comfort and inclusion. This is achieved by providing a fully trained dog and providing training and support to the parents and child.

SAFETY

The child’s safety is enhanced on outings by being connected to the dog through a belt around the child’s waist. The child is able to roam freely, but should they attempt to bolt, the dog will be trained to sit or lie down and act as an anchor. This gives the parent time to intervene and deal with the situation. The parent has physical control of the dog by a lead and collar when using this system. The dog will be trained to stop at kerbs and stairs and responds to a parent’s vocal commands.

COMFORT

An Autism Assistance Dog may ease frustration and anxiety by providing a calming sensory input. The dog may also provide interruption from repetitive behaviours, as well as companionship and fun for the child and social and emotional support for the parent.

INCLUSION

An Autism Assistance Dog can help the child participate in social, leisure and education activities, as well as easing the stress associated with interacting with others. Outings with the entire family may become less stressful, and the dog may also encourage social interaction between the child and his or her siblings or peers.

OTHER BENEFITS

Families living with Autism Assistance Dogs have reported the following benefits:

  • Improved participation in social and leisure activities for the family
  • Improved quality and quantity of sleep as the child may wake less with the dog sleeping in his/her room
  • Positive changes in the child’s behaviour
  • Comfort for the child
  • Full legal public access, including restaurants and shops

ELIGIBILITY

Our dogs are trained to benefit children who:

  • Demonstrate the most challenging and severe behaviours
  • Are aged between 4 and 12 years old
  • Have a confirmed diagnosis of Autism

PARENTIAL TRAINING.

Parents are required to come to 3 half day training sessions on the 3 week period leading up to the collection of their dog. The training will consist of obedience training/handling both with and without distractions. We will also go to public places i.e. shopping centres parks etc to ensure you have full control of your service dog. Your child will not be required during this training phase.

There will be a handlers test on the 3rd visit here which you must pass before we can release your service dog to you.

On the 7th day you are home with your new service dog one of our trainers will come to your house and watch how you interact with your dog. Any problems you may be experiencing will be adjusted then for you. We will also accompany you your child and your service dog to the shops etc checking as we go that all is well.

WAITING LIST

The demand for Autism Assistance Dogs (AAD) is high and dog availability is limited. Topdog Training must assess all applicants and match the dogs’ personalities to the needs of each child. For this reason, the first child on our list may not be suitable for the next dog to graduate.

Adult Dogs

We can usually source and train an older dog ( 1 to 3 years old ) in 2 to 4 months, which means we can place a trained service dog with you in this time. Click here

Puppy Programme.

If you would prefer to enter our puppy programme Click here

Train Your Own Dog

If you already have a dog and would like him/her assessed for suitability then CLICK HERE

APPLY

If you feel that your family and child fulfil the criteria listed in the above Information

and would like to apply, please phone us on 042 9374532