Psychiatric service dogs are unique compared to any other service dog. Their task skills are determined by the individual person, and can range from waking a person from a nightmare, guiding a person to an exit or safe place during a panic attack, building searches, medication retrieval, light mobility and much more. The time line for this phase will vary depending on the handler's needs and our waiting list is approximately 24 months.
Once our puppies have reached a point in their skillset and have passed the first level of testing, they will be matched with a successful candidate. The next phase of training is tailored to the specific needs of the individual. The dog is trained specifically for that person and paired up in order to develop a bond between the dog and the handler and to learn how to work as a team.
Once our trainers are satisfied that the new team is ready, the team will be tested in the areas of public access, obedience and the task skills. Upon successful graduation the team is certified by us. Searchlight teams will be expected to participate in a yearly requalification to ensure the team is working to Searchlight Service Dogs' high standards for public assess and that the dog is preforming as required.
Due to the complexity and amount of time involved in training a psychiatric service dog, we only produce a limited number each year. As much as we wish to see every person in need of a service dog be provided with one, we will never strive for numbers, we will only strive for quality.
We will continue to do our best to help in the growing need for this type of unique specialized service dog.