FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q) What is an Assistance Dog?
A) An Assistance Dog provides task based practical support to their owner. They are specialist chosen and trained to have at least 3 skills or techniques that mitigate or help the challenges of a person disability.
Q) Are your Assistance Dogs trained to have specialist skills to help me?
A) Yes our Assistance Dogs undergo Advanced Training that is bespoke to each client. Along with a number of core skills common to all, there are specifics that we can work on to ensure your dog best suits your needs and objectives.
Q) What breed of dog makes a good Assistance Dog?
A) It is scientifically proven that the Labrador Retriever gives off the most and best hormones (when active), to promote calm and bonding. Therefore our choice for all our dogs are Labrador or Labrador first generation hybrids. Our dogs are health checked, fully vaccinated and micro-chipped.
Q) Who trains the Assistance Dog?
A Our Assistance Dogs are owned and trained by a highly revered and Qualified Canine Behaviourist and Trainer. Andrew Preston has trained hundreds of dogs in his 15+ year canine career including the full and part training of in excess of 20 Assistance Dogs.
Q) Will I be able to properly handle my Assistance Dog?
A) Yes. We believe that it is key for the family owners to understand how to handle, work and live well with their Assistance Dog to maximise the specialist skills that they have. You will receive a 3 day intensive training course during the 3 month process, constant remote support, access to advice and a further 2 days during the transition.
The areas we cover during family training are: handling your dog, nutrition, grooming, healthcare, when to visit your vet and you will also have the chance to meet with a Qualified Psychotherapist who will help with further relevant advice.
Q) Can I Insure my Assistance Dog?
A) Yes your dog can be insured however the amount is discretionary for every insurer. We can advise you on who we believe are the best insurers for your Assistance Dog during your training with us. Some will look at the value of the dog plus a percentage of the value of the specialist training that the animal has received.
Q) Will I have public access when I go out with my Assistance Dog?
A) Yes under the Equality Act 2010 it is the law that an Assistance Dog be given public access along with its owner. You will receive a properly branded harness and an ID badge to confirm your dogs qualifications.
Q) Can I speak directly to your other Assistance Dog owners to help me understand more?
A) Yes absolutely. There are families that are happy to be contacted to give you their story and how they found working with our business. Contact details can be made available upon application.
Q) How much does an Assistance Dog cost?
A) Autism Dogs CIC pricing is based fairly on the value of the dog and the training that the dog and you receive. We do not make any personal profit.
Q) Can I pay for the Assistance Dog Programme in instalments?
A) Yes we are happy to work on a 20% deposit paid to secure your dog and your place on our 6 Phase Holistic Assistance Dog Programme. This is then followed by a part payment at the end of Obedience Training and then final payment the day before transition. We do offer an early settlement discount for monies paid in full up front.
Q) Will there be any aftercare once I have the Assistance Dog living in my home?
A) Once your Assistance Dog has moved into your home and we have successfully completed the transition you will then follow a 6 week aftercare programme with us. This can be done by visits to the farm if you are local or remotely (over the phone and through video), if you live a long distance away. We will arrange 2 sessions per week in this aftercare programme for you to have direct access to Andrew Preston. You will be able to ask for any further advice you feel you need and asked to explain the challenges or difficulties you may be experiencing. You will be given remedies to try and report back later that week.
Q) Can I buy my dog food from you?
A) Yes our sister company Steady Paws, has helped to develop a hyper allergenic, protein rich dry dog food that is highly recommended and rated for its nutritional value. 100% of the profits made from the sale of AACHUA food to our Assistance Dog clients is invested back into our continued development of our programme.
Q) What are the first steps for me to own an Assistance Dog?
A) We always suggest it best to come up and visit us at our farm and meet some of our dogs. You can chat through in confidence what you really hope to gain from having an Assistance Dog and how our 6 Phase programme would work best for you. Please be aware that during your visit you are responsible for yours and your child wellbeing. We do not take any responsibility for loss, damages or injuries incurred whilst you are on site.
Q) How long will it be before I can have one of your Assistance Dogs if I decide to go ahead?
A) An Assistance Dog has to be at least 12 months (up to 3 years), old before it can come and live with you and your family. That’s because at that age they have the right level of emotional maturity to do the job properly. We can start some training before then but the advanced training will not start until they are at least 10 months old. Our 3 part training programme takes around 3 months usually to complete and will include 150+ hours plus of 121 training plus group sessions to perfect their skills. It is not possible to speed this up as the training will only work if it is done little and often over many weeks/months.
Timings are also subject to the dogs available at the time of agreement).