FAQ’s

Here are some common questions about PTSD service dogs and our This Able Veteran program. Your question might be answered here! Hey, we know there are other organizations with similar programs. Our model works, but that doesn’t mean it works for everyone. Our training model, our PTSD service dog acquisition program and our veteran training is effective, and we’ll stick with it. Check the questions below to see if we’ve answered yours. If not, we’d love to hear from you so please, contact us.

  1. Can any dog become a service dog?  
    No. We select service dogs based on a rigorous examination of temperament, structural soundness, healthy genetics and breeding. Even dogs that pass our evaluation don’t necessarily make it to the end of training. Dogs have skills in different areas. We aren’t saying our dogs are better dogs, but we are saying, the dogs we select are suitable for the lifelong commitment we are giving them.  Please see our puppy breeder page for more information about basic qualifications.
  2. What are the difference between companion dogs, therapy dogs and service dogs? 
    Companion dogs are pets. They enrich our lives in wonderful, unique, fun-filling ways. Their main job is to be your pal. Certified therapy dogs are required to pass a test that evaluates obedience and temperament. Therapy dogs are typically used to visit long-term care facilities, hospitals and children’s programs to bring joy and comfort to the people they visit.Service dogs are trained for a specific person with specific tasks, including tasks their humans are physically unable to do.Certified Service Dogs are allowed access to public buildings and transportation. Their role is integral in providing independence by assisting with physical and psychological needs for their individual human partner.

    See the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements for service animals.

  3. Why do you use puppies purchased from a breeder? Why not use shelter dogs in your program?
    This Able Veteran has successfully selected, trained and placed several shelter dogs with veterans. However, in our long experience of training service dogs, reliability is crucial. Sometimes shelter dogs come with their own trauma issues, and that can make them less able to perform the difficult tasks we set them. However, the success rate of dogs specifically bred for the demanding work of being a PTSD service dog encourages us to continue selectively breeding for the traits we – and our veterans – need.
  4. What breeds of dogs do you use?
    Temperament is key. Our dogs must be steady in every situation, must never display aggression, must have a high level of self-control, and be physically able to perform the duties we ask of them. And, each of our PTSD service dogs must be seen as approachable to the general public. We’d never exclude a dog based solely on it’s breed, but we do find most success with Collies, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and Standard Poodles.
  5. How old are dogs when they come into your program?
    Puppies are a clean slate. We like a clean slate. Unlike many other programs, we don’t send our puppies to foster homes for their first year. We want to be involved with them right away, from their earliest days. We prefer to take carefully selected puppies into the program at 8 weeks old.
  6. Will you train my dog?
    No. We select service dogs based on outstanding temperament, structural soundness and a proven lineage of healthy genetics. Only then do we even consider a dog a good fit for our training program, and not every dog that begins, finishes. Many dogs that are great for other tasks or are wonderful companions are not a good fit for this program. Please see our puppy breeder page for more information about basic qualifications.