Veteran's Service Dog Programs
Service Dog Program
To date, the Rocky Mountain Dawgs Project has matched nine dogs with deserving Veterans in need. Over the following two years, a volunteer trainer will work with the dogs to ensure a happy and healthy partnership, specifically focusing on the needs of each particular Veteran.
It is our goal to pair more commendable Veterans with great dogs. We believe that this is another way to further support those who have served.
Please contact us if you are interested in our Veteran's Service Dog Program
Veterans Support Groups
Support Dog Peer Group
The Peer Group gives all of our veterans that are in our Service Dog Program a sounding board of others that have either concluded their training or are also in training with their dogs. There is a private page on social media for them to message each other. The head of the group, Jason teamed with Service Dog Dexi, also checks in periodically with each one.
The Associate Team Program welcomes veterans that we have already been working with and is open to other veterans that wish to participate. This group includes those that are not certified Service Dog teams but are great working teams that help the Veteran or Active Duty Service Member's general welfare. The group is led by our Service Dog Program Manager, Curtis Hendel.
Service Dog Program Manager
The Dawgs Project has taken an innovative approach to provide quality Service Dogs to our veterans. We carefully screen veterans into our program and then work closely with them to find out which tasks they need their future Service Dog to learn.
It is only after much discussion with the veteran that a breed is chosen that will provide the best possible match for him or her. Our trainers thoroughly screen potential K9 candidates, testing them to ensure that there are no triggers or weaknesses that could hamper them in training or later in their work.
The Service Dog Program training protocol starts with basic obedience and some very basic task training while the dog is kept by one of our trainers before being taken to the veteran. Our trainer then travels to where the veteran lives and works extensively on the basic obedience, basic task work, and environmental work where the veteran lives and conducts everyday life. Our veterans are actually taught the basics of training so that they can continue to improve the dog after the trainer leaves.
After this initial time, our trainers will decide how and when to move forward with training. In some cases the dog will return to the trainer for more extensive training, in other cases, the trainer will return to the veteran’s home area to train. In all cases, communication is key to our program, and the trainers and program manager are available for consults on a continuous basis.
We set a target for certification but understand that schedules are not always perfect. Many things can either speed up or slow down the process and we refuse to certify any Service Dog before they are ready to wear the TDP Patch.
We feel that the training we give to the veteran and the availability of future assistance gives us the capability to provide a veteran with a “Service Dog for life”, that is, teach them to train their next Service Dog when their first one must retire from service.
The Dawgs Project is working hard for our veterans and the Service Dog Program is a great example of that work!
Gary Elbrecht, Service Dog Program Manager