Facility dogs are expertly trained dogs who partner with a facilitator and work in a health care, visitation or education setting.
A Canine Companions facility dog is trained to perform service dog commands including picking up items, opening doors and providing calming pressure across the client’s lap or body. Their trained skills can be utilized to enhance therapies, promote participation and reduce anxiety for clients in professional environments. A Canine Companions facility dog is bred to be calm, reliable and affectionate in order to assist in the development of independent living skills.
Additionally, the handler can integrate a facility dog into a variety of structured therapies and utilize it to facilitate social interactions.
Examples of settings in which facility dogs can assist include:
- Occupation, speech and physical therapy
- Special Education settings
- Child Life Specialists
- Criminal justice placements such as child advocacy, forensic interviewers
Facilitators are working professionals responsible for handling and caring for the facility dog. Additionally, facilitators are committed to long-term employment where they directly serve clients with special needs a minimum of twenty hours per week.
One of the most valued qualities of the facility dog is the unconditional love and attention it gives to the clients and patients with whom it interacts. In an educational setting, a facility dog helps engage students in schools and special education classes.
In a health care environment, activities such as grooming, feeding and playing fetch with a facility dog can aid patients in medical rehabilitation and psychiatric programs. A well-mannered and highly trained facility dog encourages feelings of calm and security for clients in a visitation setting such as a courtroom.
In order to be eligible for a facility dog, applicants must
- Work directly with vulnerable clientele for a minimum of 20 hours a week
- Have the support and approval from their employer for the use of a facility dog
- Demonstrate the ability to safely and effectively control, manage and care for a dog
- Have adequate vision to observe, intervene, and manage a dog’s behavior (generally equivalent to DMV license requirements)
- Able to attend a two-week Team Training class at a Canine Companions training center
- Able to participate in on-going Canine Companions training and graduate support program
- Able to utilize the tasks the facility dog is trained to do to encourage and support clients
The process to receive a Canine Companions assistance dog includes multiple steps. Click the button below to find out if an assistance dogs is right for you and start the process to receive more information.
Please note: Canine Companions does not train or place dogs for the following: to do guide work for the blind, to do seizure or diabetic alert/response, to anticipate or detect medical symptoms, for the primary benefit of emotional comfort, to recognize and/or manage undesirable human behavior, to provide supervision, navigation, or safety from environmental hazards, to respond aggressively, to provide personal protection, to assist with the management of mental illness as a primary condition.