The relationship between a person with a disability and their service dog is profound and often life-changing. The journey of training and partnering with a service dog may be filled with joy and pride, as well as questions and concerns.
Experience You Can Trust
At Your Service owner Sharon Wachsler is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in helping people with disabilities or their family members train their own service dogs.
We’ve been working with service dogs since 1998. This makes At Your Service uniquely qualified to help you reach your goals. We have experience with the human side of the equation, too, including psychiatric and mental health disabilities, physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, and cognitive or social-relational challenges. We see each person and dog as unique and help them reach their potential as a team.
We can help…
- Get your dog to the next level — and beyond! — in manners, obedience, or service tasks
- Get your dog trained for public access and assess your dog’s readiness with a Public Access Test
- Answer your questions about legal, financial, and lifestyle issues with service dog training
- Suggest equipment options that will work best for you and your dog, including adaptive equipment options for people with physical disabilities
- Adapt training methods and gear to your situation, even if you are on bedrest or homebound; we are creative, flexible, and have a can-do attitude for people who want to train their own service dog
- Provide information about which service dog option is right for you: owner-training or a program? And we can help you figure out what to look for with either option
- Choose the right type of dog to train for your situation: Which breed, size, temperament? Puppy or adult? From rescue or a breeder?
- Give you the best tools to raise your puppy right from the start
- Assess a dog you are considering adopting as a future service dog
Do you want answers to your service dog questions? Contact us today!
You’re unique! We offer you unique solutions.
Nothing we do is “cookie cutter.” Each training session and consult is tailored to your unique situation. We treat you as an individual, working with you and your family to find solutions that fit your lifestyle, your disabilities and strengths, and your goals.
Sharon helps people in situations like these:
- After a spinal cord injury, Brendan added a puppy to his family that he hoped would become his service dog. But raising the puppy has been much harder than expected! Problems with housebreaking and how to train from a wheelchair have been challenging. After meeting with Sharon, Brendan was able to get his puppy housebroken and to train her to walk next to his wheelchair.
- When Angela adopted her dog from the shelter, she was just looking for a companion. Over time, Angela discovered that her dog’s presence reduced the impact of her fibromyalgia and PTSD. Not knowing how to move beyond basic obedience and manners to turn her pet into a service dog, Angela contacted At Your Service. Now Angela and her dog are working together better than ever.
- Clyde is training his Golden Retriever Josie as a service dog. Josie’s training is going well at home, but due to autism, Clyde is having trouble doing public access training. He contacted At Your Service. Now Sharon takes Josie into the community three times a week to train Josie on how to behave in stores, restaurants, and medical buildings.
- Maya and Jad’s teenage daughter is developmentally disabled. They are wondering whether to get a dog to train to assist her, and if so, whether to train the dog themselves or to work with a program. They contacted Sharon and got more clarity on their options.
Realize your dream of greater freedom, independence, safety, and joy with a canine assistant! Contact us today to set up your Service Dog Consult.
A Variety of Training Options to Fit Your Situation
At Your Service offers several types of service dog training packages:
- Service Dog Consults — Get answers to all your questions: What’s the process for training my dog to assist me? Which tasks should I teach? How do I train for public access? What’s the best way to pick a service dog candidate? What costs or equipment are involved? What’s the difference between an emotional support animal and a service dog? Learn about Service Dog Consults.
- Pre-Adoption Consulting and Prospect Search Support — Are you considering getting a dog as a pet, emotional support animal, or service dog? Wondering whether to get a puppy or adult, adopt from rescue or work with a breeder, what breed to get? Are you uncertain about whether you’ll be able to take care of a dog and want to get a sense of the pros and cons? Looking for help choosing the most likely service dog candidate? At a Pre-Adoption Consult, we can answer your questions and provide information and resources to help you make the best choices for you and your lifestyle. Afterwards, you’ll receive up to two months of phone and email follow-up to help you find just the right dog. Learn more about Pre-Adoption Consults and Dog Search Support.
- Service Dog Day School — Perfect for doing public access training, for raising puppies to be “bomb proof” (even-tempered, relaxed, confident), or for training an adult dog in manners, obedience, or assistance skills for owners who don’t have a lot of time to devote to training. With Doggy Day School, we come to your home several times a week and train your dog for you, as well as teaching you how to maintain your SDiT’s good behavior. Day School is a great choice for future service dogs who need a very high level of training and for challenging “project” dogs who have complicated behavior problems and need intensive behavior modification. Learn more about Service Dog Day School.
- Public Access Super-Socialization Package — Socialization is critical for all puppies, but particularly important for future service dogs, therapy dogs, or for puppies that come from breeds that tend to be suspicious, such as many working, herding, and guarding breeds. Make sure your puppy is socialized right! We come to your home and take your puppy on field trips to help her learn that the world is a wonderful place where she will be welcomed as a well-behaved adult. Limited to puppies under 18 weeks of age. Learn more about our Puppy Training.
- Service Dog Owner-Training Lessons — Traditional-style in-home lessons. We meet with you and coach you in training your dog, providing problem-solving, information, and training for people training their own service dogs. Lessons may cover anything from behavior modification for reactivity, resource guarding, or handling issues to training for obedience, manners, or assistance skills. Learn more about Dog Training lessons.
- Board-and-Train (Service Dog Academy) — Open only to service dogs and service-dogs-in-training. Your dog will live in the trainer’s home, receiving one-on-one intensive training in manners, public access, and task training. A long-term, efficient training option for complete tip-to-trail training. Our unique Service Dog Academy option involves periods with the trainer, rotated with periods with you at home, either on weekends or for longer rotations, depending on your location. Learn more about Service Dog Academy B&T.
- Group Classes — We are currently offering group classes in Orange, MA, for both pets and service-dogs-in-training. Group classes are an affordable way to get training support from an experienced service dog trainer. For puppies that are future SDiTs, we recommend Puppy Kindergarten or Family Dog Manners & Obedience. For dogs that already have a training foundation and some reliable behaviors, we offer more advanced classes, such as Service Dog Foundations I and II. Learn more about group classes.
- Pet Professional Service Dog Consulting — Are you a trainer or other pet professional with questions about how to choose or train assistance tasks, public access training, or service dog laws, terminology, or standards? I am available for both private consulting with you (or your client), or for workshops, seminars, or public speaking on service dog topics. Learn more about pet professional service dog consultations or presentations.
- We offer the full range of services (consulting, owner lessons, day school, and group classes) to clients training service dogs in these and other nearby towns: Wendell, New Salem, Orange, Athol, Erving, Montague, Turners Falls, Deerfield, Greenfield, Shutesbury, Leverett, Sunderland, Northfield, Petersham, South Deerfield, Warwick, north Amherst, and parts of Pelham, Belchertown, and Hadley.
- For those in Western Mass., or the North Quabbin region who want to train a service dog but are a little farther away, we also provide in-home consults and owner lessons and may also provide day school, depending on the location.
- For those outside our service area, including people in the Boston area, other New England towns, etc., we offer both part-time and full-time board-and-train through Service Dog Academy. We also provide in-person consultations and lessons at one of the training facilities where we rent space. These include Mount Tully Kennels in Orange and Animal Alliances in Northampton.
- Finally, we offer service dog consultation by telephone for anyone in the United States or who is outside our service area and unable to travel.
Use the form below to book your service dog training lessons today!