SD Schools was created as a coalition of Service Dog trainers and organizations after a year of discussions.
- Mission Statement:
Service Dog Schools is a coalition of Service Dog trainers, handlers and organizations from across the world supporting the Service Dog Code, a quality standards framework that fosters collaboration within the community by outlining minimum standards for training, behavior, public safety and etiquette. The Service Dog Code ensures that disabled individuals can receive quality service dogs within guaranteed performance limits.
Membership is open to all service dog trainers and organizations that are legally registered in their state/country.
The Service Dog Code is voluntary and was created to fill a void in the industry. Members agree to follow the code to the best of their ability and to document when and why some of its rules will not work/apply (called a variance). Like the building code, it’s expected to be the minimum standards of service dog training quality and behavior. Members may request to be peer reviewed and receive a published rating. The rating is a grade of how well the trainer/organization follows the code, knows its intent and how it addresses client concerns or issues.
Owner-Trainers are unique, some states allow disabled handlers to train their own dogs while others require all trainers to be registered with the state, some even require professional board review and continuing education. SD Schools has adopted the “Home-School” model, where Owner-Trainers can go to a member school for assistance, training and testing while they train their own dog. This helps the Owner-Trainer by offering an impartial review of their training, techniques and weak areas. By connecting with an organization the OT may get extra benefits from the member, such as legal services, letter writing on their behalf, reduced vet and food costs and additional training support through the dogs working life. Owner-trainers are free to use this code to assist in their training and hopefully train a very successful assistance dog.