A veteran with PTSD needs a dog that has the proper training to go with him/her anywhere in public where dogs are not otherwise legally allowed. It is the public access skills that are the difficult part of the training, requiring a very special dog. The ideal service dog is calm and amiable. The trainers at New Life K9s are working in conjunction with trainer’s at Woods to find these unique dogs. In addition, some of our dogs come from private breeders. We work with both adult dogs and puppies.
The tasks that service dogs can perform to meet the needs of a veteran with PTSD can include waking him up from a nightmare, turning on lights, reminding him to take medications on time (even bringing the medication to the person), bark on command to warn off a potentially threatening stranger, and help to decrease levels of anxiety. Many veterans take medications that affect their balance. A service dog can assist with balance by performing a “brace” command in which the veteran can use the dog’s body to steady himself.
It takes about 6 months to train a dog for public access and to complete approximately 100 tasks on cue. Although training for tasks can start as early as 4 weeks of age, dogs do not develop the maturity for public access (being allowed in restaurants, grocery stores, etc.) until 2 years of age.
Some organizations quote the cost of training a service dog as high as $70,000 per graduated dog. New Life K9s will provide service dogs to veterans at NO COST TO THE VETERAN. Without sacrificing quality, New Life K9s cost per graduated dog is only $15,000.
On the left, our first dog, Rico