To better serve our clients, we offer a combined package of a Pre-Adoption Consult and materials, followed by three months and five hours of Dog Search Support.
A Pre-Adoption Consult helps you get clarity and direction about where, how, or whether to add a dog to your family. This is especially helpful and important if you want to train your dog as a service dog or are looking for an emotional support animal.
If you are considering getting a dog to train as a service dog, the most important time to invest your time, money, and patience is before you get your dog. Choosing the right dog is one of the most important factors for success in a service dog. There is always an element of luck, but you can significantly increase your chance of success by working with a trainer experienced with both service dogs and candidate selection. A Pre-Adoption Consult is the best way to start the process.
Pre-Adoption Consults offer the help and support you’re looking for. We can answer any of these questions…
- Is now the right time for a dog? Changes in family composition (births or deaths), health challenges or work schedule, or the needs of current pets can all affect timing.
- What type of dog is right for me? Coat, energy level, temperament, snuggliness, drooliness, goofiness – there are a lot of factors to weigh. We can help you sort it out.
- Where should I get my dog – purebred rescue, a shelter, or a breeder? How do I know which breeders are reputable? How do I interpret the rescue’s pet descriptions?
- Special considerations for disabled owners: Can I exercise a dog with pain and fatigue? What’s the best way to navigate emotional, sensory, or social challenges with my dog? Should I be looking for a service dog candidate, pet dog, or emotional support animal?
- Preparation for the first-time owner: Help getting ready for building your bond, dealing with housebreaking, training, crating, coming when called, walks, food, and vet care.
- Service dog questions: Should I get a dog trained by a program? Should I get a dog to train, myself? How long will it take before the dog is able to assist me? How should I plan for the process of training a service dog? What should I look for in a service dog candidate?
Pre-Adoption Consults answer your questions about whether and how to get the right dog for you. Every person and situation is unique. Pre-Adoption Consults are unique and individual, too.
We have helped people in situations like these:
- Mary has multiple chemical sensitivity/environmental illness (MCS) but has never owned a dog as an adult and was not sure whether her condition would prevent her from getting a dog. She didn’t know how to navigate issues such as shedding and dander, flea and tick products, and taking the dog to the vet. She also wondered how periodic fatigue would allow her to exercise a dog. Mary set up a telephone Pre-Adoption Consult and got information on these topics and a whole lot more. Her consult gave her the information, resources, and support to refocus her search for the right dog.
- Kaamil and Dagmar have always had cats. Now they are thinking of getting a dog. And they’re also expecting a baby. Will it be possible to integrate a canine into their feline-centric world? They are also wondering whether they should get a puppy or an adult dog, and whether to get the dog before or after they have the baby. They decided to set up a Pre-Adoption Consult to help them plan the right time for their first dog.
- Walker is starting his first year in college. He is finding school much more emotionally challenging than he anticipated and is considering getting a dog. He is wondering whether he can get a dog as an emotional support animal or a service dog, and whether he has the time and money he would need to train a dog. He set up a Pre-Adoption Consult to help him decide what will be best for him and his future furry family member.
What is a Pre-Adoption Consult like?
A consult is a two-hour meeting with a compassionate, nonjudgmental trainer who has experience helping owners learn about dog ownership and specializes in selecting service dog candidates. If you’re within our service area, we’ll meet in your home. If not, we’ll meet by phone. Before the consult, you’ll fill out a survey about lifestyle and preferences to help guide our discussion. At the end of the consult, you’ll have…
- a folder of handouts to refer to
- complete access to our online library of over 80 handouts, and
- two months of Dog Search Support by email and phone, too
After a bad experience trying to get a trained service dog from a program, Kyndyl began looking for a dog to train as his service dog. He met with Sharon for a Pre-Adoption Consult. She helped guide him in what to look for and what to avoid. After steering Kyndyl away from several dogs that would not have worked out as SDiTs, Kyndyl found his puppy, Runa. Runa is now working as Kyndyl’s service dog, greatly enhancing his independence, functioning, and quality of life. Read Kyndyl and Runa’s story.
Service area for pre-adoption consulting
Since pre-adoption consults can be conducted by telephone, and since dog search support is offered by phone and email to everyone, it is likely we can help you!
- We offer the full range of services (consulting, owner lessons, day school, and group classes) to clients in the Pioneer Valley and North Quabbin region.
- For those outside our service area, including people in the Boston area, other New England towns, etc., we can either meet by phone or you can travel to us for an in-person consult at the space we rent at Animal Alliances in Northampton.
- We offer service dog pre-adoption consultation by telephone for anyone in the United States or who is outside our service area and unable to travel.
What’s included in a consult?
A private consult is focused completely on you. From both the written history and our discussion, I will get a very thorough impression of you and your disability and training needs and challenges, as well as any of your current dogs. We’ll address the most important next steps for you in finding a dog to achieve your career goals. A private consult also offers:
- Printed handouts and written recommendations for the specific topics we discuss
- Lifelong access to my client portal with all of my training handouts
- A month of email follow-up with answers to your questions or other materials
- Dog search support (ongoing help with the process of searching for and finding the right dog)
Learn more about Dog Search Support below.
Dog Search Support Service
Are you ready for a dog but overwhelmed by the process of finding the RIGHT dog?
Do you read through the Pet Finder listings with no idea whether THIS dog is a dog you should apply for?
Would you like someone to talk to the rescue groups on your behalf or look at a breeder’s or service dog provider’s website to tell you if it looks reputable or if they see red flags?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, our Dog Search Support may be just the help you are seeking.
At Your Service Dog Training provides guidance, insight, and professional expertise to people like you to increase your chances of getting a dog that fits with your lifestyle, preferences, and dog training goals.
Dog Search Support provides timely and responsive telephone and email assistance, including…
- Viewing, interpreting, or assessing advertisements, listings, videos, websites, or similar media about prospective dogs/puppies, breeders, rescues
- Speaking to breeders, rescues, shelters, breed enthusiasts, veterinarians, allied dog/pet/service animal professionals, or other providers [to assess whether to pursue a behavior assessment or temperament test of the dog/puppy or Provider
- Answering your questions about dog breeds, Providers, training, etc., as it relates to your search
- Offering guidance and support specific to your dog-related goals, lifestyle, preferences, and skills
- Speaking to Providers or advocating on your behalf to Providers
We are also available to temperament test puppies and conduct behavior assessments on adult dogs that you are considering adopting. While this is a separate service, if we already know exactly what you’re looking for in a dog or puppy, we are able to do a more efficient (and therefore economical) job at helping you assess a dog or puppy you’re considering.
The Dog Search Support Service allows you to have a professional trainer “on tap” for up to two months after your Pre-Adoption Consult. This complete package of pre-adoption support — consult, recommendations, search support, and Client Portal library — is just $280. (Additional mileage charges may be added, depending on your location.)
Use the form below to set up your Pre-Adoption Consult & Dog Search Support today.