TASK-9 evolved first as a counseling service (Therapy International, Inc.) and then recognized the asset that therapy dogs and psychiatric service dogs could be to many people. It followed that we could also help other people, such as those with physical disabilities and the elderly. T.A.S.K-9 was formed to train pet dogs, therapy dogs and service dogs as well as provide psychological services to people with disabilities.
Therapy Dogs are often part of a specific counseling process. Therapy dogs do not go home with the client, but stay with their handler as their partner.Therapy dogs are often found in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.
Service dogs live with their handler, usually someone with a disability, because they aid them in everyday functioning. TASK-9 helps train handles and their dogs to get to this point of expertise.
Having your dog certified/registered as a Therapy Dog can be a wonderful addition to your life, as well as your dog’s. Therapy dogs often visit places including hospitals, schools, nursing homes, hospice, and/or help out in crisis situations, depending on your individual interest. The physical and emotional benefits of these dogs has been well documented. (see Delta Society) If your dog is already a Canine Good Citizen, he/she is probably already a good candidate for a Therapy Dog.
Therapy Dogs are chosen first for their amiable temperament and are then highly trained. They are tested and certified for suitability for therapy work.First they have to pass the AKC Good Citizen test and then the added requirements for therapy dogs. Once your dog passes the therapy dog test, he/she is then registered and officially a therapy dog.
Since therapy dogs (and their handlers) are usually found in hospitals, assisted care facilities, group homes, schools and other institutions, the dogs must be well mannered and able to deal easily with loud sounds, strange sights, and be calm in crisis situations. To patients, they are a welcome change from hospital routine, from infirmity, and loneliness or depression.
Therapy dogs make it easier for patients to talk, to remember past experiences and share common ties. Physically, the dog encourages patients to stretch, move and relate to others. Therapy dogs don't care about your age, what sneakers you wear or how you look. Their care is unconditional. All of this makes a positive and welcome difference in the quality of life for patients, their health and their well-being.
Therapy Dogs, because of their rigorous training and good temperament often work with children who have problems with reading or communication. We have also seen the psychological benefits that therapy dogs bring to those who have under gone trauma, victims of crime, people with anxiety, depression, adjustment and emotional difficulties. T.A.S.K.-9 was formed with this purpose in mind.
Relaxing after a long day on July 4th
Therapy Dogs are calm mannered and highly trained. Research reports therapy dogs can:
- Reduce stress and blood pressure
- Ease depression
- Promote well being, especially in children, the elderly & the hospitalized
- Help people who have suffered from abuse talk & relate to others.
- Provide unconditional affection for those who lack it (ie spouse abuse, grief)
- Improve focus; i.e. people with autism, Alzheimer or the clinically depressed
- Stimulate interaction with those who have difficulty communicating - Stimulate memory functions i.e. traumatic memory loss, stroke or Alzheimer
- Encourage and aid the learning disabled
- Ease the effects of trauma; i.e. accidents, PTSD, natural disasters
(remember therapy dogs of 9/11)
Service Dogs There are many specialty areas of service dogs, including hearing dogs for people who are hard of hearing, guide dogs, people with other physical disabilities like mobility issues, and psychiatric service dogs who work with people with psychological disorders, like autism, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, and other issues that can be problematic in a person's life. Service dogs are also a wonderful asset to the elderly; not only can they be trained to support a person with mobility problems, call 911 in case of an emergency, go find a person, bring medication at an appointed time, and be a reliable companion for comfort in times of loneliness.
A service dogs must be trained in addition to basic obedience, for tasks that assist their handler (disabled person) outside of the home. The type of tasks depends on the specific needs of the handler, so each dog is individually trained. In our method of service dog training, the dog is trained by us and also by his/her handler, since bonding and teaching on both sides of the leash is imperative. The process takes at least a year, depending on the dog's age and obedience experience, with weekly or monthly check-up/brush-up sessions after the dog and handler pass the service dog and handler certification test.
We prefer to begin working with service dogs from a very young age. Dogs enjoy the learning process and we use only positive training methods. We can help you pick out your dog, and discuss what kind of dog is most likely to fit into your life. Occasionally a client has a pet dog that they would like to train as a therapy or service dog. The success of this depends totally on the temperament of the dog (and the handler) and the age of the dog. You can teach an old dog new tricks, but it is definitely a lot more difficult, and success is sometimes limited.
The tasks that a service dog can do are extensive. Please call or write for an initial meeting to discuss client needs and we will give you a more individual assessment.
Who We Help
Service Dogs can help adults, the elderly, teens and children with disabilities including, but not limited to…
Assistance for the elderly
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Anxiety Disorder & Panic Disorder
Agoraphobia (fear of leaving the house)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome
Stress related disorders
Traumatic brain injury
Learning disorders (therapy dogs only)
What are Service Dogs Trained to do?
A few of the many tasks that Service Dogs are trained to do for their partners are listed below...
Remind handler to take medication at a specific time
Open door, turn on the light and search the room for intruders
pick up objects dropped on the floor
carry objects from one place, or person, to another
Accompany handler outside the home
Stay with handler during acute emotional distress
Interrupt checking and other repetitive behaviors, as seen on OCD
Alert to mania, panic attacks and dissociative episodes or flashbacks
Assist handler in discerning reality from auditory or visual hallucinations
Mediate hyper vigilance, assist with threat assessment, as often seen in PTSD
Provide a constant, grounding presence
Be trustworthy companion when handler is negotiating stress, anxiety or paranoia
Aid in the special needs of each individual client
What is a Disability?
A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (Americans with Disabilities Act). This can be a physical disability, such as a mobility problem, or a psychological impairment, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A Licensed Mental Health Counselor on our staff, and/or physicians and other professionals, can help make this determination during the client’s initial assessment.
A person may qualify for a Service Dog if he or she...
Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities*
Has a record of an impairment* or
Is regarded as having such an impairment *
*According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) Sound confusing? It can be. A medical doctor, or a counselor on our staff, can help you make this determination.We also require that...
The client, or a permanent member of the client's home, be able to care for the dog's needs
The dog be suited to the client's environment (i.e. there be enough space for exercise, and time for socialization).
If you have questions as to whether you qualify or not, please call. We will be happy to answer your questions. Also, these concerns will be addressed during our first meeting and are part of the application process. You will be guided through each step of the program.
click for info
How do I get a Service Dog?
Call Valerie at (407) 931-3199 or write Val@task-9.com. We will arrange an initial meeting to assess your individual needs and explain the process. We ask for the client’s dedication in time, learning and integrity on behalf of their dog and T.A.S.K.
For information or an appointment call (407) 931-3199 or (407) 414-6178