Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Autism Service Dog Training

I have researched service dogs  a fair amount the past few years and especially the last few months. The cost to train a service dog for a child with autism that has the needs like Trenton is a very pricey investment. The cost is as high as 20,000. The cheapest place that I found was as low as 15,000. Trenton's needs fall in the 17,000 range.

Now, some children don't need a dog to be trained in as many areas as the average autism service dog. For instance, a child with high functioning autism can receive a service dog cheaper because the dog won't have to be trained in as many areas. There are many types of service dogs for all the various disabilities. However, a dog for a child with autism like Trenton tends to be the most expensive type of service dogs and it is simply because of all the intense training and all the different areas the dog needs to be trained in.

Service dogs are usually required to accompany their human everywhere they go: to the store, the supermarket, the doctor’s office, to work or to school,  and sporting events. Whether in a crowd, exposed to loud and sudden noises or when food is all over the floor, when people are clapping or when quiet and calm is required, no matter where they are and what is going on, service dogs have to be able to perform and respond to the person they’re assisting.

 Since Trenton is not able to communicate, the dog will be trained to work with not just Trenton but myself as well. Service dogs typically know between 20 and 60 different behaviors, depending on their particular specialty. A service dog for a person with autism goes through the most hours of training of any service dog for any disability.
The behaviors the autism service dogs know can be classified into two main groups: 1/ the behaviors required for public access, like leash walking, sit, down and other basic skills and 2/ the specialized skills, such as eloping during the day, sleep issues, getting help for Trenton since he isn't able to communicate if that ever arises, being able to search for him if he ever escapes, etc. Each one of the behaviors, whether necessary to ensure appropriate behavior out in public or to specialize the dog to specific tasks, will require hours of methodic repetition with the trainer. To make things even more difficult, in order to reach the level of reliability required, each one of the behaviors also has to be practiced in a wide variety of settings and with different levels of distractions.
Again, it depends on the need of the child who is getting the service dog as to the type of training the dog needs.

Therefore, a service dog for a person with autism similar to Trenton requires a lot of different task to be trained in which leads to a more expensive dog. If the dog only needed to be trained in one or two areas then the cost is cheaper.

Here is the link to the place where I am getting Trenton's dog from.

I enjoyed talking and interviewing the various places for a dog for Trenton. All the information I received was very similar from each place. Many of the places require the child and parent to travel and go through an intense training period with them the last few weeks of the dogs training. Needless to say, having Trenton away from his home and familiar environment that long isn't possible. Therefore, it was crucial to find a place that came to us and trained with us in our home toward the end of the dogs training. 

Like I have mentioned before, I am excited for this next chapter in our life and excited to share it with all of you!
I can't begin to thank each and every one of you that has donated to Trenton's service dog. This would not have been possible without your support. Thank you so much! This has a potential to be a life changing step for us and I couldn't be more excited and more grateful!!!
God always provides and he keeps on providing for us! It is all about faith and hope!

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