Thursday, January 1, 2009

1. Welcome Everyone!

Are you among the 20% of the Vancouver Island population who has medical or physical disabilities that limits your lifestyle? Would you like to increase your independence, safety and quality of life?

We can help guide you through training your own dog to help you in day to day life situations at home or in public! If your dog has a sound temperament, is in good health, and is the appropriate size/shape for the tasks you need him/her to do, you and s/he may be a candidate for VIAD's owner-trained assistance dog program. Almost every dog can be taught to do at least a few in-home assistance tasks using our training approach-and you’ll end up with a smarter more eager partner.

It's Not Hard to Train Your Own Service Dog
It's not hard to train a dog using our method, but it does take time, dedication and patience. Training involves one hour once or twice guidance sessions with our training facilitators and daily training (up to 45 minutes- ideally over several short sessions) on your own. A caregiver/family member can also train on your behalf.

Together, we identify which tasks will be valuable to you and teach you step by step, the foundation behaviors needed to train them. By the end of our program you will have the skills to teach your dog anything you need him to do, including getting your dog public access certified -if that is what you decide you need!

The first part of our program focusses on helping you train your dog for in-home tasks. After that, we evaluate you as a team to see if the two of you have potential for working in public places such as at work, during your leisure time and on public transportation and can provide suggestions of what public skills your dog needs work on. We provide support in training follow-up behaviors, finding resources, general problem solving etc.
It's FREE!This service is provided free to those who are accepted into our program, no matter your degree of disability. All you need to keep doing is providing for your dog. Most equipment are things you can find around the house. We also have training equipment, a lending library and other resources available for you to borrow. (we now must charge for gas for volunteers who drive to your home for in-person training.)

What Types of Conditions Can we Help you Train Your Dog for?*Arthritis-Mobility Assistance
*Spinal and other Structural Disease-Mobility Assistance
*Deaf/Hard of Hearing Alerting
*Psychiatric Dogs
*Alzheimer's Alerting
*Autism Support
*Medical Alerting
*And Others!

Please apply by filling out the short form on the upper right of this page and tell us a bit about yourself and your dog.

The application will be followed by an in-person (with your dog) meeting if you live in the Nanaimo area or a phone, Skype or Facebook Video Chat meeting if you live elsewhere on the Island.

Keep checking back on our blog as we will be providing you with training tips, videos, web-site links, books, discussions etc to that will help you to begin explore the possibility of training your own service dog.

Not Sure if Training Your Own Dog is for You?
Here is a link that compares and contrasts Owner-Trained vs Professionally Trained Assistance Dogs... Food for thought.
This link gives you an idea of what the lifestyle of a person with a service dog is like.

Want to see what a service dog can do for you? Have a look at these.
Sue Thomas FB Eye is a Canadian-American TV Production based on a real person.

Gizmo the Service Dog at home and in stores.

Henry at home is great at his job too!

To see others, go to and search for "service assistance dogs" to see what else comes up.