GAP is one of the few service dog training programs in the USA with a strong breeding program. Our primary breeds are Labrador Retrievers (Yellow, Chocolate, and Black), Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds. Our breeding program has been developed to ensure consistently talented dogs; for example, our program has developed a line of medical response dogs able to identify and alert their partner of an imminent seizure.
However, we are also willing to rescue and train dogs from shelters (or prior to them reaching a shelter situation), or even assist clients who already have their own pup who are in need of formative or further training. GAP also occasionally accepts donations of dogs to be trained in accordance with our program. Donated dogs must have up-to-date vaccinations and all of our dogs are temperament tested prior to formative training and/or being placed with their first trainer.
Our dogs fall, in general, into one of the following categories:
Service dogs are individually trained to provide assistance to those with physical disabilities; these dogs make life easier for their partner. Depending on the needs of their partner, these dogs are trained to retrieve dropped items, open doors, provide stability and balance, or even to help pull wheelchairs. All service dogs receive basic obedience training and socialization as well as additional training focused on learning those tasks most needed by their partner.
Medical Response Dogs:
A medical response dog is a service dog trained specifically to assist an individual who has a medical disability. Generally, the job of a medical response dog is to alert their partner to imminent risks associated with conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, or psychiatric-based medical conditions.
Autism Service Dogs:
Autism service dogs are trained to meet the needs of individuals, and the families of individuals, with autism. Some of the benefits autism service dogs provide include improving social and communication skills, increasing calmness, and expanding focus and attention. Some dogs may also be trained to limit “bolting behaviors.” Studies have shown that autism service dogs can also improve the emotional bonding capacity of children with autism.
Guide dogs are trained to assist the blind or otherwise visually impaired. Guide dogs improve the mobility and freedom of their partner. Guide dogs allow those with visual impairment to travel freely and on their own without depending on the assistance of friends, family, or medical professionals.
Therapy dogs often work with a professional, such as a social worker, therapist, or teacher, to facilitate communication and comfort to clients in circumstances that are often stressful. The reassurance and attention of a well-trained therapy dog can facilitate difficult conversations. Occasionally, a dog working in this capacity is a personal pet of ether the professional or the client; such dogs are called Pet Therapy Dogs and often work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehab centers or other similar environments.