The School

In our training center we train and provide service/assistance dogs mostly for children with visible and non visible disabilities, occasionally for adults with disabilities and elderly people with dementia. We also train session service dogs. Nina Service Dogs is a non-profit organization, our mission is based on funds and donations.

The training of the future service dogs begins when the puppies are about six to seven weeks old. The puppies are selected after personality and temperament tests and the most common breeds that we choose to work with are Labrador and Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Papillons, Golden Doodles and mixes of these. The training of the service dogs needs a lot of work and it lasts almost two years. The selected service puppies go under many stages of training, puppy training, socialization, basic and advance obedience and at the last stage the go under their specialization training. The service dogs are given to their handlers between the age of 20 to 24 months old. The matching of the handler and the service dog and the bonding procedure are two of the most important things of a successful team. We always have a back up dog for every case targeting the right matching and bonding of the team.

After the completion of the service dog’s training and the service dogs’ handler’s training which lasts from 20 to 30 days, the handlers have to prove that they are capable of handling the service dog, keep up with the training and being able to keep the dog under control. The handler has to successfully pass the public access test and after that the team is being certified and has free public access by the law. The certified team is a three unit team (adult handler, individual with disability and the service dog).

Periodically the team is being evaluated, Nina Service Dogs offers permanent support and help to the team if needed. The family is obligated to follow and respect the rules and standards of the organization, keep medical record of the service dog and submit it when it is requested. They are responsible for dog’s well-being, health and safety. The service dog team is being evaluated and re-certified every year. The service dogs that are given to the people with disabilities and their families and the session service dogs belong to Nina Service Dogs organization for their whole life and it must be taken seriously into consideration that they should be treated with respect and love.

At present our organization consists of 8 service dogs. Nina, (Jack Russell), Wall- E (Papillon) and Jackie (German Shepherd) are our three certified session service dogs who participate in innovative therapy sessions. The sessions may be consisted by one or more individuals with disabilities and their professional specialists (psychologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists and others) and the certified task trained session service dogs. Mike (Labrador Retriever) and Dazzle (Papillon) are certified service dogs who live and assist their handlers with disabilities. Athena (Labrador retriever) and Minion (Papillon) are two service dogs in training and after their successful completion of training they will become certified service dogs for people with disabilities. April (German Shepherd) is a highly task trained demo dog.