Autism Assistance Program

What our Autism Assistance Dogs can do for your family

Autism service dogs can help an individual on the Autism Spectrum in many ways with tasks such as tethering, deep pressure therapy, interrupting self-harm and/or stemming behaviors, calming tantrums and meltdowns, acting as an emergency anchor to help with bolting, confidence building, and more. Autism Spectrum Disorders can affect people in different ways and each family's task needs will vary, so we tailor our training program to provide a curriculum specific for each Service Dog based on the needs and lifestyle of their new family. 

Requirements for our Autism Assistance families

  • The individual must be diagnosed for a minimum of 1 year.

  • A child must be 6 years of age or older to qualify for one of our dogs as symptoms can develop and change drastically prior to this stage.

  • The family must be able to financially provide for the healthcare, grooming, food etc. for the lifetime of the dog.

  • The family must have a dedicated main handler for the dog responsible for maintaining the working dogs tasks and obedience as well as maintaining the care and safety of the dog. Working dogs are a very big responsibility and take a lot of work and time to maintain their abilities as well as require a lot of care themselves to live a full life. Their needs and continued training must be a main point of consideration for a successful placement both for the wellbeing of the person in need as well as the dog.

  • The family must be available to make routine visits to the facility for bonding and training opportunities.

Requirements for our Autism Assistance Dog candidates

  • The puppy must exhibit an impressive temperament testing score in line with service dog requirements including a high score in resiliency and confidence.

  • The puppy must complete puppy Preschool and Kindergarten courses with a high level of enthusiasm and comprehension showing a high motivation to work and learn.

  • The puppy must visit the home of at least two of our trainers and reliably demonstrating the intelligence and behavior needed for working in both environments. 

  • The puppy must have excellent behavior observed in public as well as in vehicles.

  • The puppy must complete and hold the Canine Good Citizen Graduate Title 

The Training process and timeline for an Autism Assistance Dog

Once admitted into the Autism program, we will match the puppy with a prospective family and begin advanced individualized task training while continuing to polish their obedience commands and public access requirements. They are trained with a minimum of two specific tasks to assist the individual with autism spectrum disorder, additional tasks may be added thus increasing the length of time and costs of the service dog training. All service dogs from Deer Creek must pass the Assistance Dogs International Public Access Test prior to becoming a certified service dog. This high level of training is generally completed around 1 year of age. 

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