OUR TRAINING METHODS
Our main purpose is to provide you with the confidence to restore your Quality of Life.
Brothers and Sisters in Arms is willing to work with Active Duty, Veterans, First Responders, their families and civilians. We work with a multitude of disabilities including: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/Syndrome (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), Mobility, Epilepsy, Diabetes, Psychiatric, Autism, Hearing and Visual Impairments. When selecting a client, we look at the possible welfare of both the canine and the client involved. Our goal is that both, dog and human, will benefit from the partnership.
Clients begin our selection process by filling out our applications, either online or by filling out the paper application, and supplying any other documents required once the applications are inspected. We do require that the applicant answer any questions on the applications as best they can.
We ask that the applicants come in for a meeting with some of our trainers for them to further understand the exact needs of the individual. We ask that the applicant, once the application is filled out and they meet all the requirements needed, set this meeting up upon turning in the application. We ask this to better help move the process faster in order for our organization to help the individual faster.
Brothers and Sisters in Arms Dog Training, Inc. is willing to help anyone that is in need of our help. We simply ask that these individuals help us to help them by meeting all the requirements needed and returning the completed application back to us in a timely manner.
In selecting a potential Service Dog, Brothers and Sisters in Arms tries to find the highest quality dog in reference to both temperament and health. As we match these dogs with their potential handlers we take into account what will best accommodate to the handler's needs. If the family dog is a viable option (in temperament and health), we can begin training-we do try to use these first as the dog can be a familiar subject already. If your family dog does not work out, we will then go to local animal shelters or rescues to find a dog that will fit the qualities we, as an organization, are looking for.
Our dogs are given a Temperament Test allowing the evaluators to see if the dog will work for what the handler will need in their service dog. This test will show if the dog: a) has any fears and/or aggression towards people, other dogs, etc.; b) has a reaction to a loud noises or any other stimuli; c) shows the friendly and pleasing side of a extraordinary Service Dog.
Brothers and Sisters in Arms will also have health screenings performed on the dogs to determine if the dog is in good health to be able to do the tasks that may be required of them. Some of the ailments we would test for is if the dog: a) is heartworms positive; b) has any physical ailments- vision or hearing impairments, limps, open wounds; c) is up to date on all of the required vaccinations; d) is free of any dental diseases; e) is showing signs of hip dysplasia or any other joint pain; f) has any known breed specific diseases/ailments. We have veterinarians in our area that are amazing and work with our organization to help us with our health screenings.
We also look at: the size of the dog in regards to the needs of the handler, trainablility, and the age of the dog. We offer a S.T.A.R. Puppy course for puppies between the ages of two and eleven months (that are up to date on vaccinations). We do have age limits on how late we begin working with a dog: a) Large Breeds: 3 years of age; b) Medium Breeds: 4 years of age; c) Small Breeds: 5 years of age. We do work with some on a case-to-case basis.
Pairing Handler/Dog Teams:
When pairing together the processed client and an organization-approved dog, Brothers and Sisters in Arms, Inc. will take into consideration multiple factors about both canine and handler. After an application has been processed, our trainers will set up an appointment for a meeting to talk with the new client in order to have a better idea of the client's lifestyle. Also, after the temperament test, the evaluators will have a better sense of the dog's traits. Using both of these factors when pairing the individuals together, allows for a better team.
As we look into a person's lifestyle, we can get a better understanding of what type of dog our trainers would be placing with them. Our organization will take into account physical and environmental elements in a client's life when pairing together our teams. We will review any physical difficulties that would limit the control of too large of a dog; as well as look to see if a client would need a bigger dog for stability. We look at the environmental factors in a client's life as well. If a person has a busy lifestyle, we would not place a lethargic dog with them; the same for if the client has a more laid back lifestyle we would place a dog matching their needs.
When the handler's lifestyle and the dog's personality match, the better the pairing can be. The goal is to make the handler's lives less difficult and pairing a client with a dog that does not best match their needs would not be accomplishing this goal. Brothers and Sisters in Arms strives to ensure the permanence of the pairing by doing all that we can before the training even begins.
We train YOU to train your Service Dog. This creates a stronger bond between you and your dog allowing you to know what your dog can and cannot do. With this, you gain a sense of accomplishment.
We do one-on-one training and groups, so you have no fear of failure and no sense of competition. The group settings allow for veterans to socialize with fellow veterans and create a comradery making class more enjoyable. The same goes for those family members and our first responders that are within the class as well.
Brothers and Sisters in Arms conducts regimented and consistent training classes every week (except certain circumstances; i.e. holidays, bad weather, etc.) to ensure hours are met. We hold classes four days out of the week, each day is a different class.
After each course is passed with all the requirements, the teams will then move onto the next level. As the teams go through these levels of training, trainers will be keeping records of how the teams are progressing. These files are then kept in organized and easily accessible storage.
Our current training field has many of the elements that the teams may encounter in their day-to-day lives after graduation. Some of these elements include: sirens from emergency vehicles, traffic of all types of vehicles, other animal smells (including other dogs, cats, raccoons, etc.) We work on a grass field that has a cement walkway beside it, allowing the dogs to become accustomed to the feeling of the cement on their paws. At a certain point in the training process, we do introduce other sample of surfaces the dogs may encounter: carpet, tile, foam mats, crinkly material (i.e. tarps, painter's sheets, etc.), and linoleum. The goal with introducing these different elements during training is to allow the dog to easier accept them once they begin working alongside their handlers on a daily basis.
Once training has begun, the Service Dog in Training is required to complete 240 hours of training (on site) and 185 public access hours. After these hours are met, teams will go through our Public Access Test to receive their Service Dog certification and graduate.
Please see Services page for specifics on the courses we offer.
Brothers and Sisters in Arms likes to ensure the continuity of success with our graduated teams. If at any point one of our teams is having an issue we gladly invite them to contact us about it. We care about our teams that have moved on and love to heat about their success. We like to check in on both dogs and handlers to ensure that both are truly benefiting from their teamwork.
Our organization does require a re-certification process to be done. We ask that the teams re-certify once a year for five years and then every five years after that. The teams have six months to report to one of our evaluators or send in a video with an up to date article featured in order to re-certify.
Our team of trainers at Brothers and Sisters in Arms is made up of a great group of people. We work hard to ensure that our teams within the program, are working well and are getting all they can from what we have to offer. Each of our trainers have extensive knowledge about what we require from our teams and an understanding as to why we require our teams to work well together. All of our people are sensitive to all disabilities we work with and accommodate to the needs of the clients. Each of our trainers show our clients respect and act with professionalism, patience, and certainty.
OUR ORGANIZATION RUNS ON THE GENEROSITY OF PEOPLE JUST LIKE YOU!!