We are now exclusively focusing on service dogs and related services. We offer private training and consulting in Western Massachusetts and throughout the US by Zoom, as well as specialty group classes for service and therapy dogs.
- Service dog training — helping owners to train their dogs as service dogs
- Pre-adoption consulting & search support — finding the right dog as a future service dog or emotional support animal
- Training for ESAs or pet handlers with disabilities
- Consulting and continuing education on service dog issues for professional pet trainers
We also have group classes for therapy and service dogs.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we now offer online lessons, classes, and consultations via video chat (Zoom). Online lessons are real-time, hands-on coaching sessions with your trainer. Learn more about online training services.
Pet Dog Services
We NO LONGER OFFER PET DOG TRAINING except in these cases:
- the owner has a disability that requires adaptive approaches
- the dog is being trained as an ESA and requires some emotional support task training
Puppy Training — The most important time to make sure your future therapy or service dog is learning the right things is during those critical first four months of life. We’ll help you raise your puppy to be the best dog he can be! Choose from traditional lessons or enroll your pup in Day School: we come to your home and train your puppy in basic manners, handling, and socialization. Start your puppy off on the right paw! Find out about Puppy Training. (Puppy classes, consults, and private lessons are available online.)
Day School — Our most efficient option, day school means your dog gets trained (and pottied) while you’re out, and you come home to a better-mannered dog! Day School is particularly effective for getting puppies off to a fast start with terrific manners because future service dogs and SDiT candidates need to be trained to a very high level. With day school, a trainer comes to your home several times a week and train your dog one-on-one while you’re at work (or while you watch, if you prefer). Once a week or so, your trainer will coach you in how to maintain your pet’s good behavior. Learn about Day School.
Owner Lessons (also available online) — In-home lessons teach you the most effective way to train your dog. You’ll get patient, gentle coaching to learn how to get the behaviors you want quickly, efficiently, and happily! Whether it’s walking nicely on leash, going to their crate when told, accompanying you to work as a therapy dog, or learning a reliable retrieve, your dog will learn best from you with our instruction. Learn about Owner Lessons.
Joelle says, “Thank you so much for your lessons! Hazel has come so far; her progress has beyond exceeded my expectations. I’m really proud of her. I cannot thank you enough.” Read about Joelle and Hazel.
Service Dog Training
We specialize in service dog training, particularly mobility assistance dogs and psychiatric service dogs. Service dog offerings include:
- Service Dog Consultations (also available online) — Answering questions such as, “Is my dog a good candidate for a service dog career?” “How can I solve a behavior problem in my SDiT?” “How do I get my dog’s training to the next level?” Learn more about Service Dog Consultations.
- Pre-Adoption Consults & Dog Search Support (also available online) — Clients who consult with us before choosing a dog are much more likely to meet their training goals than if they choose a dog themselves. Are you considering getting a dog but have questions? We will answer your questions, provide information and support — including with sorting through rescue and breeder listings — and help you move forward with confidence. Consults address questions such as: What age, breed, size, or whether to look at shelters, rescues, or breeders? What is the best option for your disability and lifestyle? What is the best route to obtaining a service dog for your situation — owner-training or a program-trained dog? What traits are most important in a candidate dog? What is the process of training a service dog and how should you prepare? After the consult, Dog Search Support provides phone and email help with searching for and screening potential dogs, trainers, breeders, etc. We can also communicate with rescue coordinators on your behalf or help “interpret” Pet Finder listings. Learn more about Pre-Adoption Consults & Dog Search Support.
- Temperament Tests and Suitability Assessments — When you’ve located a dog or litter of puppies you think might include your future service or emotional support dog, we can assess the dog or temperament test the litter of puppies to help you determine if they are likely to be a good match for you and your career goals. Learn more about Temperament Tests and Suitability Assessments.
- Service Dog Day School — Day training for service dogs. We train your dog for you — in your home or in your community for public access training. Day school often gets the best results for our service dog teams. Learn more about Service Dog Day School.
- Service Dog Owner Lessons (also available online) — Private lessons for you and your SDiT in your home, in public access settings, or at our rented training space. Providing problem-solving and training support for people training their own SDiT. Learn about Owner Lessons.
- Group Classes (also available online) — We offer specialty intermediate and advanced-level group classes in the Pioneer Valley geared to service dog teams. Group classes are an affordable way to get skilled, positive training instruction. Classes include Therapy & Service Dog Skills, Public Access I, Public Access II, and occasional specialty workshops. Learn about group classes.
- Board and Train — We offer Service Dog Academy, an intensive training program for service dog candidates on the East Coast that pass our screening process. We offer part-time B&T (Monday through Friday, home for the weekend) as well as full-time board-and-train for dogs that live outside the region. Learn about Service Dog Academy Board & Train.
- More information on what we offer to those training a service dog.
Service area for service dog training
- Online services are available to anyone with high-speed internet or cell service. Online services include all consultations, as well as group classes and private training.
- We offer all SDiT services, including day school, to those in Pioneer Valley towns within 30 minutes of Hadley or Northampton, including Amherst, Deerfield, Easthampton, Florence, Granby, Hadley, Holyoke, Leeds, Leverett, Northampton, South Hadley, Shutesbury, South Deerfield, Sunderland, and Williamsburg, etc. If you don’t see your town listed, use the contact form below to see if we cover your area.
- We also offer in-home lessons and consulting to those a little further away, including Springfield to the south and Greenfield to the North.
- For those in other parts of the Northeast (including the Boston, Worcester, Brattleboro, Keene, Hartford, or Albany areas), we offer in-person consultations at a rented training space in Northampton. We also can offer full-time or part-time board-and-train through our Service Dog Academy program for suitable candidates that are able to travel here to periodically pick up, drop off, and do transition lessons with their dog.
- Pre-Adoption Consulting is available by telephone for anyone in the United States.
Train the Trainer
If you are a professional trainer or are interested in learning what goes into becoming a pet or service dog trainer, we can help:
- Pet Professional Service Dog Consulting is for professional pet dog trainers anywhere in the United States who would like mentoring or consulting on service dog issues, including for current or future service dog clients. Consulting is done primarily by phone, with additional materials via email and through our Client Portal online
- Our Internship Program is for local people who would like to learn about becoming a trainer. The internship is available to college students as an independent study (which your school may set up as a credit course) or for adults who simply wish to expand their knowledge about dog training
Looking for something you don’t see listed above? Read our FAQ (frequently asked questions) about At Your Service Dog Training or contact us with the form below.