Summit Assistance Dogs trains highly skilled Service Dogs (working in public or within a home environment only) for people with mobility or hearing disabilities, and Therapy Dogs (working in public or within a home environment only) for medically fragile children or for use in schools and other institutions where a dog can provide therapeutic intervention.
Our dogs come from our own breeding program, other breeders and from people needing to re-home pets. We also get many of our dogs from shelters and breed rescue groups, giving these deserving animals a “new leash on life.”
Prospective candidate dogs undergo extensive evaluation before being accepted into our program to ensure that only healthy dogs with suitable temperaments are placed with clients. Although we use suitable dogs of various breeds, the most commonly used are Golden Retrievers and Labradors and crosses with those two breeds.
Types of Summit Dogs
Public Service Dogs assist people with mobility and/or hearing disabilities. They perform tasks such as retrieving dropped items, turning lights on and off, opening doors, tugging off clothing and alerting to various sounds. Our dogs can also be custom trained to meet specific needs. Public Service Dogs have the highest level of training, and the wait time to receive one is typically one to five years. Public Service Dogs have legal access to most public places where pets generally are not allowed. Public Service Dogs typically go to adults, although some teens with excellent dog handling skills may be accepted.
Home Service Dogs are trained to perform the same tasks as our Public Service Dogs, but they are used only in the home. The wait time to receive a Home Service Dog is typically six months to two years. Home Service Dogs often go to younger clients and may be a first step to having a Public Service Dog in the future.
Professional Therapy Dogs provide therapeutic support in professional settings such as schools, mental health practices, nursing homes, and occupational, physical and speech therapy clinics. These dogs are often used in therapy sessions with individuals to help promote calmness under stress or to motivate clients to achieve therapeutic goals. Professional Therapy Dogs do not have legal access to public places where pet dogs would not be welcome and are to be used only in the settings for which they have been trained. The wait time to receive a Professional Therapy Dog is typically six months to two years.
Home Therapy Dogs provide emotional support and companionship to individuals or families with special needs. These dogs are not trained to perform specific tasks, but they do receive a thorough temperament evaluation and basic obedience training. Home Therapy Dogs do not have legal access to public places where pet dogs would not be welcome and are to be used only in the home. The wait time to receive a Home Therapy Dog is typically four to 12 months.
Career Change Dogs have been released from our training program due to certain medical or behavioral issues. They may be trained by other agencies for new careers in drug/bomb detection or search and rescue, or they are adopted out to the general public as pets. You can visit our list of dogs currently available for adoption at Petfinder.
Dogs We Do Not Train
- PTSD dogs (or dogs for primary psychological services)
- Medical alert dogs
- Autism dogs
- Seizure alert dogs. (We do train seizure response dogs, who are trained to do a variety of tasks after a person has a seizure, including staying with the person or going to get help within the home.)
- People’s personal dogs. We only work with dogs we have hand chosen due to the high level of difficulty in finding appropriate dogs who have the right temperament for this work.