All service dog students are required to attend Team Training. TLC’s 3–phase Team Training model prepares clients to effectively utilize the service or facility dog’s custom trained assistive tasks in all environments. Team Training currently takes place up to four times per year.
1. Foundation Training Workshops
Foundation Training is a 3-week online course that prepares students for Skills Training Class.
Foundation Training Workshops are designed to:
- Orient students to their service dog and life with a service dog.
- Teach students TLC training methods to maintain and build upon their dog’s skills.
- Prepare students to utilize their service dog at home and in the community.
3. Adjustment and Bonding
After Skills Training Class, the student returns home with their dog where they spend two weeks adjusting to home life. Students must attend a phone meeting each week during the Adjustment & Bonding period.
Adjustment & Bonding is designed to:
- Allow for adjustment to home life routines and integrate with family members.
- Facilitate bonding.
- Ensure the successful transfer of the dog’s skills to the home environment.
2. Skills Training Class
Requires that the student travels to and resides at our dorms in Sylmar, CA, for seven days of intensive training.
Skills Training Class is designed to:
- Teach students their dog’s trained foundation and custom cues.
- Teach students handling skills needed to utilize their service dog.
- Develop the bond between the dog and student.
- Prepare students to pass a Public Access Test and successfully navigate the community with their service dog.
After Team Training: Follow-up
After completing all three phases of Team Training, clients continue their journey with their service dog with the support of TLC staff, who follow up with them on a monthly basis for six months post-placement and annually thereafter for the working life of the dog. TLC staff are also available for training and support on an as-needed basis.
During Month 3-4 of the placement, TLC staff will conduct an individual training session with the client in their home and in the community to ensure the success of the team in all environments. See below for additional information on Facility Training.
Training in the home is designed to:
- Fine-tune the transfer of the dog’s skills in the home.
- Assist in establishing routines, custom household rules, and behavior plans to set the service dog team up for success.
Training in the community is designed to:
- Ensure client’s ability to utilize their service dog to mitigate their disability and increase their independence in public and pass a Public Access Test.
Following Skills Training Class, TLC staff work with the team at their facility for up to a week (days and training hours vary based on the type of facility and facilitator role).
Facility Training is designed to:
- Ensure the successful transfer of the dog’s skills to the facility.
- Teach clients how to utilize their dog to provide animal assisted intervention/therapy to the facility population.
- Educate facility staff about the dog’s role and rules regarding the facility dog.