Public Access begins when an assistance dog starts training in public places like retail stores, community buildings etc. Both of you need a specific set of skills to do so safely and effectively. In general, that means your dog should be 12-18 months old before she starts “official” public access, not just acclimation and generalizing the pre-training training in public.
The required knowledge, skills, behaviors and approaches will be broken down into 3 programs: Confidence Games, Training in Public and The Public Access Test.
- dog is passed adolescent fear period
- dog needs to have generalized Foundation Concept Behaviors at home and in dog-friendly locations.
Pay-As-You-Go: You can purchase each program as you need them. When you sign up, you will have immediate access to all the modules contained in each program.
To start the confidence games, dogs should be past the adolescent fear period. What exact age that is will depend on your dog but is typically around 12 months for medium-sized dogs.
How long each package will take to complete will depend on which games your dog need work on, how often you can access helpers and public places to train, how fast you and your dog learn and how resilient you both are.
Sign up for the classes as you need them. They are designed to be taken in order and the skills and behaviors build on previous ones.
In our modules, we give you the information you need upfront, laid out in sequence in a step by step format, with some video examples for each step, then you apply it with your dog. You learn by reading and observing and then applying what you learn.
We also offer opportunities for reflection in our discussion topics that ask higher level (more thoughtful) questions.
Physical Layout of Program:
There are three kinds of posts in each Module:
- Lessons (background information)
- Games (practical training)
- Discussions (get you thinking more deeply about your learning)
Modules include lessons that broken into tiny bite-sized bits of a combination of text, short video demos, photos, diagrams and case studies. There are other linked resources to read.
There are tips and problem solving as you go. A screen reader can be used to read the text. Text is also ideal for non-native English speakers.
You have access to all modules as soon purchase them so you can choose what you want to work on and at your own pace. Modules are designed to be mobile-friendly.
Try a free sample lesson to see if our module structure will work for you!
- progress bar for each module to keep you on track and motivated to move forward.
- checklist for all objectives for each game (can drop them into your favorite spreadsheet or use the one we provide)
- access module materials for one year from initial purchase date. After the year is up, to continue to access the modules, you can purchase a Library Subscription.
In order to fully participate in our “
Public Access” programs, you will need:
- a high-speed internet connection
- a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device that has a recent operating system (older systems may have trouble displaying the lessons)
- a dog that you have access to every day for 3-5 days a week (ideally for at least 2 separate training sessions per day)
- a web cam (for web cam sessions)
- a video recording device (to video yourself training) and tripod
A training space in your apartment, condo, single family house or a recreation vehicle. How much space depends on what behavior you are working on. Ideally a minimum of a 10′ x10′ (3m x3m) to start with. You may also train outdoors and pet-friendly stores.
All training equipment for our program are materials found around a house and yard, or can be bought second hand or borrowed while you need them.
Many people think that training for public access is just about getting their dog used to public places. It is so much more! Your dog needs targeted lessons both at home and then away from home to desensitize and prepare him for the sounds, sights and events that occur in public non-pet-friendly locations. He needs to have the emotional, social and cognitive maturity to focus on you and your needs in the presence of high level distractions. Developing confidence and nerves of steel without overwhelming your dog and learning how to generalize behaviors in carefully planned set ups leaves nothing to chance. Our Public Access programs provide that structure for you!