Expert Service Dog Training for Life-Changing Results

Testimonials

On every page of our website, you’ll see clients sharing their appreciation of our skill, caring, and expertise in transforming their lives with their dogs. 

Here are more in-depth stories from our clients – including some video interviews – about what it’s like to work with us. You’ll notice a common theme: that we go the extra mile and tailor training to each team – accounting for disability, geography, and budget – to get the best results.

This is why veterinarians and pet trainers refer their patients and clients to us. And why our clients say they’ve enjoyed the best and most complete service dog training experience with us.

Whether you’re a professional trainer looking for guidance with a service dog case, an aspiring or newer trainer looking for mentoring, a disabled person training your third service dog for yourself, or a first-time dog owner training a service dog for your child, you’ll find that we’re experts at making training work for each person and dog.

Training a Psychiatric Service Dog for Severe Anxiety

“I love the online training classes.Sometimes I’m just not feeling well enough to drive or go in public. The Client Portal is so helpful. I feel very proud. He’s definitely made a very negative part of my life super positive.” – Allison Rhinelander

Solid behavioral background, extensive training experience (Dr. Mowcomber, Veterinarian)

Our office has utilized Sharon for the past few years and we have been very impressed with her level of professionalism as well as how pleased our clients have been with her services. She has a solid behavioral background as well as extensive training experience. She communicates well with both clients and our office. We get a full written report on any work done with patients that we have referred to her.

Sharon has been providing both in-home training as well as group classes for clients. Her methods are reward-based and effective.

I recommend her wholeheartedly.

Sincerely,
Sue Ellen Mowcomber, DVM
Family Pet Veterinary Services

Training with Pain and Mobility Limitations

“Knowing that I can depend on you has been a huge plus. I’m not sure that other trainers would be as flexible and willing to work with me as you have.” – Bob Turner

Bob talks about switching from another dog trainer to At Your Service and how Sharon came up with a creative solution to allow Bob to be present and participate in Snowflake’s training even on days that symptoms prevented from training hands-on.

Eva

Eva, Susan’s service dog

Empowered, More Freedom and Confidence

Susan, who lives with a traumatic brain injury, trained Eva with At Your Service and also received scholarship aid to make training affordable.

“Before training with At Your Service, I faced immense isolation and low confidence. I had a fear of failure in public places. I am much more confident and now feel more freedom to go out with my dog. I feel now that we have the ability to achieve my goals.

Sharon can help you to train your dog successfully, and make sure you have the support you need to achieve your goals. She is a pleasure to work with, is very professional and is very protective of her clients and dogs. She goes the extra mile.

The intuitiveness and individual attention to needs were met with solutions that were focused on my unique needs and my dogs’ personality. Now I have a better understanding on how a dog learns, confidence, and more freedom.

As a person with a disability, working with Sharon has been excellent. I feel anxious before class, but immediately I feel empowered and really enjoy the training. She is kind, experienced and highly skilled with training. I love the positive reinforcement training and she is able to address any need.” – Susan S.

Carol & Finn

Carol training Finn on a paw-alert during an online lesson

Forever Grateful

“At Your Service Dog Training was recommended to me by another dog trainer – and WOW! My dog, Finn, and I just graduated. Through a combination of in-person and virtual lessons with Sharon, Finn now is trained to perform specific tasks that mitigate symptoms of my disability. His obedience training also was broadened and reinforced. Our relationship has deepened, and my self-confidence has increased. I couldn’t have hoped for a better experience or outcome.

Selecting At Your Service was one of my best decisions. Sharon cared about our success and gave us the tools and encouragement to succeed. She motivated us, and, I am convinced, it made all the difference. Finn and I shall ever be grateful.” – Carol Riordan

Kate and Arvis

A Comprehensive Program from Start to Finish

“At Your Service Dog Training is a comprehensive program from start to finish. Sharon Wachsler is an experienced trainer with a solid foundation in dog behavior, psychology, and best training practices. I appreciated the in-depth evaluation of my dog and me as a handler before accepting us into the program. Sharon wants to see her clients be successful but she is not the type of person who will accept payment from a client team that she knows is not going to be able to pass the very rigorous standards of the At Your Service Dog Training program.

Prior to beginning Sharon’s program, through numerous training classes, my dog and I had mastered most of his basic skills. It was reassuring to see that she did not hold our team back or place every team at the same starting point.

She creates a strategic training plan for each team, complete with copious training observation notes and a detailed homework assignment after each training session. 

I enjoyed her creative approaches to training and how she packed so much learning into each session. I always felt she recognized how hard my dog and I were working between sessions and moved us through her program accordingly.

There are a few special things that stick out to me when reviewing my time in Sharon’s program. First, she was very generous with her willingness to accommodate my schedule. Second, I appreciated how she provided training about the laws surrounding service dogs in training (SDiTs) vs. Service Dogs and role-played how to deal with strangers coming up to my dog and me while we are working together in public.

Entering into and committing to self-training a service dog is a significant commitment both financially and emotionally as it is not a guarantee that a dog-handler team will be a successful graduate. However, if you’re a motivated dog-handler team with all of the prerequisite behaviors and attributes, then there is no one better to propel you towards becoming a fully functioning service dog team. 

Sharon is a caring trainer who not only has a solid foundation and understanding of training service dogs but also a compassion and dedication to helping those with mental and/or physical disabilities. I’m extremely happy with my entire experience with Sharon and At Your Service Dog Training and would not hesitate to recommend her to other disabled individuals who wish to train their own service dog.” – Kate McDonnell

Lucy hikes through the woods with Tillie

Layers of Knowledge and Skill

Lucy is a behavioral nurse who took Sharon’s mentorship course to increase her understanding of dog training and behavior.

“When I interned with Sharon, I was able to observe the layers of knowledge and skills she brought to both human and canine client. She helped people to clarify their expectations of their dog and then helped them to create attainable goals which sustained and then enriched their relationship with the dog they lived with. I learned so much about training, of course — but also about teaching people! She leaves room for people to decide what training they do or don’t want to accept without judging them. Sharon’s dedication to evidence-based, positive training, coupled with her understanding of the canine/human relationship has without a doubt enhanced the quality of life for both many, many times.”  – Lucy Leete

Large brown and white short-haired dog and small dark-brown fluffy dog sit looking out a screen window.

Rusty (right) and new brother Austin (left), look out their screen window together.

All the Difference in the World

Thank you for your expertise in helping us find and train Austin. We are so impressed with your thorough, caring, knowledgeable and dedicated approach. John loves Austin and having him around has helped him so much. His anxiety at night seems to be gone! We all love Austin and he has made such a difference in our lives.

We can’t thank you enough for helping us find him and get off to a good start. Having a trainer who knows what they are doing and has the right approach makes all the difference in the world. – Patrice, Rick, and John Pennington 

Rudy

Rudy playing in the park

Nothing Short of Exceptional

“All the classes we’ve been taking with AYS have been SO MUCH FUN and so effective. As a long-time dog owner who has worked with many dogs and trainers in the past, I have to say that the services Alex provides are nothing short of exceptional.

I adopted Rudy last July 2019 as a companion dog, with the goal of training to do therapy work. When I first got him, he was everything I was looking for: calm and easy going, responsive and eager to learn, great with all different types of people and animals, and adaptive to different environments. Then, about 3 months later . . . he started demonstrating some hypervigilance and fear-based reactivity. The best decision I ever made was scheduling a comprehensive evaluation, and engaging in individual sessions!

I am relieved and excited to say that with ongoing daily training/socialization, Rudy is starting to return to his happy-go-lucky self, but I have no doubt this would not be the case without Alex. Their clarity and attunement to Rudy’s strengths and challenges, skillfulness in breaking down larger goals into specific training exercises, calm but enthusiastic presence, and genuine care and kindness throughout in guiding my process with Rudy has been invaluable.

Although it is yet unclear whether Rudy has the desire and traits needed to succeed in a therapy dog role, I feel much more confident in my ability and skill set to help Rudy work through his adolescence (and potential rescue dog baggage), all the while increasing our communication and deepening our bond. Thank you so much, and looking forward to continued individual sessions and classes!” – Heidi Feichtinger

Brittany and Nova

Brittany trains Nova to down-stay at a mall food court

Public Access “Turning Point”

“Hi Sharon. I just wanted to say thank you for everything you’ve done with me and Nova. Wednesday was the first time we’d ever been in a situation that big. I was fairly convinced the mall would be too much for Nova and this would be the end. But she sure proved me wrong! I was amazed with how well she did, it really felt like a turning point for us. That was the first time she performed her pressure task for me (by laying on my legs) in public and it was wonderfully helpful. I ended up really enjoying the class instead of the anxiety fest I was expecting! I’m excited to take her to Montreal now. Thanks again for everything!” — Brittany Miller

Light brown pitfull lying down, wearing red service dog vest

Zoe attends a meeting with Cindi

Excited, Elated and Shocked

Cindi started lessons with us because her service dog, Zoe, would only retrieve toys, and she wanted her to retrieve her keys. Here’s what she said after Zoe’s first lesson with At Your Service.

One day after Zoe’s lesson, I have Zoe down to a little piece of cloth picking it up and bringing it to me. I decided to put it on my key chain and she brought it to me. Then I put another small one on my phone and she took a couple of times to bring it to me but after a few times she is doing it now….she brings both of them to me now.

Two days after Zoe’s lesson, I went to an ecotarium with my brain injury group in Worcester. I showed a couple of my friends what Zoe had learned and I told him I was unsure on whether or not she actually do it in a place with a lot of people around and I threw my keys down with the little cloth on the keychain and I’ll be damned if Zoe didn’t pick it up right and gave it to me as if we are sitting at home. I am shocked how fast she learned – excited, elated and shocked.” – Cindi Gazda

Storm

Thank you for your kindness

“Sharon, my dad and I were both so impressed by you and deeply appreciate the way you took us through everything. As you know, Storm will never be a service dog; she will however be able to have a happy life. I’m planning on working with my vet to try to get her feeling as much better as possible. I truly appreciate all of the information you gave me and am enjoying reading through the prints and digital information both.

Again, thank you for your time and your kindness taking me through a difficult discussion I needed to have. I would like to work with you in the future on finding and training a service dog; for right now, I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for the meeting and for sharing your knowledge.” – Meghan Smith

Katie and Greyson

Katie and Greyson at Christmastime

I have loved working with both Sharon and Alex

“I have loved working with both Sharon and Alex at At Your Service Dog training. Greyson and I started with puppy day training and continued with classes and lessons, including virtually during part of the pandemic.

Sharon is great at explaining and showing how best to work with the dog you have that day versus the dog you expect to have that day. 

In addition, Greyson has completed AKC Trick titles thanks to work with Alex. They have been amazing to work with and have helped grow Greyson’s confidence and skills. Greyson worked with Alex to complete both beginner and advanced Skills for Therapy Dog class and Canine Good Citizen as well.

 A great benefit to the training is the client portal. I still have access to the Client Portal to review old training sheets and tips. This was great after we moved to build Greyson’s confidence in a new house.

I didn’t think online training would be that effective, but it went great! Having the video to watch as a playback is great to see the detail afterwards. So for the future I don’t do the same thing and need to be corrected. As so much of dog training is also truly owners training. I really enjoyed it.

I highly recommend At Your Service to anyone who is looking for therapy dog or service dog training, or any task based training.” – Katie Chappell