Team Training

All service and facility dog students are required to attend Team Training.  Team Training is a 3-phase model designed to prepare clients to effectively utilize a service dog to mitigate the symptoms of their disability and increase independence in all environments.  Team Training currently takes place up to four times per year.

TEAM TRAINING (1): Foundation Training Workshops

Students are required to attend Foundation Training Workshops in an online classroom setting.

Foundation Training Workshops are designed to:

  • Orient students to their service dog and life with a service dog.
  • Teach students training methods to maintain and build upon their dog’s skills.
  • Prepare students to utilize their service dog at home and in the community.

TEAM TRAINING (2): Skills Training Class

Students are required to travel to and reside at our campus 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.

TEAM TRAINING (3): Adjustment & 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: 

  • Prepare students to pass a Public Access Test and successfully navigate the community with their service dog.
  • 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.

After Team Training


After completing all three phases of Team Training, clients continue their journey with their service dog with the support of client services 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. Client services staff is also available for training and support on an as-needed basis.

During Month 3-4 of the placement, client services 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, increase their independence in public and pass a Public Access Test.

Facility Training

Following Skills Training Class, client services 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 task trained dog to benefit the facility population.
  • Educate facility staff about the dog’s role and rules regarding the facility dog.