Through our range of canine assistance programs – including service dogs, in-home service dogs, occupational assistance dogs and emotional support animals – we empower individuals to live more fulfilling and independent lives. Under the direction of MuttSchool's CPDT-certified trainers, we assist individuals in training their dogs to perform specific tasks as service dogs or to provide therapeutic functions as therapy dogs.
MuttCare is a 501C3 non-profit organization, and we rely on the support of our community to help us achieve our mission. We welcome donations of any size, and all contributions go directly towards supporting service dogs and occupational assistance dogs.
MuttSchool specializes in supervised owner-training of all the different kinds of assistance dogs. If you have a dog already and you think it has the potential to become an assistance dog, one of our assistance dog coaches would be happy to assess the dog's potential. We are very selective about the dogs that enter our program. Not every dog has the qualities to handle the training and tasks required of them to become an assistance dog.
Getting a dog trained can be a long confusing road. Start by scheduling an evaluation with one of our assistance dog coaches and we'll walk you through our process.
Scholarships are awarded to dog/handler teams through an annual application process. Handlers may use the funds for training their dog, but may also use it for anything related to their dog's care, such as veterinary expenses food or even grooming.
MuttCare is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals through our range of canine assistance programs. We are committed to providing the highest quality training and support to our clients and their dogs. Working with dogs of all breeds and sizes, our owner-training program is supervised by CPDT-certified trainers who provide personalized instruction and support throughout the entire process. We work closely with each handler to understand their specific needs and design a training program that is tailored to their individual requirements.
Our assistance dog program at MuttCare is tailored to improve the lives of individuals who can benefit from the company of a furry companion. The program is specifically aimed at individuals with disabilities, providing them with assistance dogs that are highly trained and equipped to perform specific tasks that aid in their daily living.
Public access allowed
Title II and Title III of the ADA define service dogs as dogs that are individually trained to perform tasks or provide services for the benefit of individuals with disabilities, including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disabilities.
Through MuttSchool, these service dogs undergo specialized training to perform specific tasks that mitigate the effects of the handler's disability or medical condition. This empowers the handler's independence and autonomy making it possible for them to navigate the world with greater ease and confidence.
Unlike pets, service dogs function as medical equipment for their handlers and are trained for up to two years to provide them with increased independence, safety, and improved quality of life.
Service dogs are not permitted to be taken anywhere simply because they are dogs. Rather, they are specifically trained to perform tasks that assist individuals with disabilities. Because of this training, they are allowed to accompany their handlers in public places where pets are not typically permitted.
No public access
MuttSchool also provides training for in-home service dogs in addition to our regular service dogs. Unlike service dogs, in-home service dogs are not granted public access rights. These dogs are a cross between an emotional support dog (ESA) and a service dog, offering their human partner companionship and emotional support while also performing practical tasks in the home environment.
In-home service dogs are trained to perform tasks that are helpful to their partner at home, such as retrieving items and opening doors. Although they may perform similar tasks to service dogs, their work is limited to the home environment, and they are not trained for public access.
No public access
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are pets that are prescribed by licensed mental health professionals to individuals with mental illnesses or conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or panic attacks, to provide therapeutic benefits through companionship. Unlike service dogs, ESAs are not trained to perform specific tasks and are meant solely to provide comfort, emotional stability, and unconditional love to their owners.
Although ESAs do not have public access rights, they may be allowed to reside with their handlers in housing that does not permit pets. It is important to note that ESAs are not service dogs and are only permitted in locations where pet dogs are allowed. Psychologists and psychiatrists determine whether the presence of an ESA is necessary for the mental health of their patient.
Occupational Assistance Dog
No public access
An Occupational Assistance Dog (sometimes referred to as a Professional Therapy Dog) possesses the skills to provide comfort to individuals who may be experiencing stress, anxiety, or other challenges. These dogs accompany their owner/handlers to various work settings such as schools, hospitals, clinics, or workplaces: They may work with teachers to support students or assist therapists during counseling or therapy sessions. Additionally, they can work with healthcare providers to provide comfort to patients in need.
Occupational Assistance Dogs undergo highly specialized training to provide valuable support and comfort to individuals in various work settings. These dogs play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of life and well-being of those they interact with. In addition to possessing a solid understanding of obedience, manners, and specific job-related skills, these dogs must be trained to a high level, similar to that of a service dog. They must also exhibit appropriate behavior both in and out of the work setting.
They are trained to remain focused and calm in a variety of situations, including loud and chaotic environments and be tolerant of handling, petting, hugging and even hair pulling that a normal dog may not like.
As Occupational Assistance Dogs accompany their owners to work for extended periods of time, they usually receive training from service dog organizations. To ensure that owners are adequately prepared to handle the dog in the busy work environment, they are required to undergo a special accreditation to make sure the dog is able to respond to cues, work under their direction and respond appropriately to the needs of those they are assisting. This makes the Occupational Assistance Dog a very valuable resource to the handlers career.
No public access
Therapy dogs are known for their ability to provide comfort, affection, and love to those who need it most. They are trained to offer emotional support to people in various settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, schools, and disaster areas. Unlike service dogs and occupational assistance dogs, therapy dogs are not trained to perform specific tasks or have specialized job-related training. Instead, they focus on providing emotional support and love through their comforting presence. They are typically owned by individuals who volunteer their time and services to various organizations or facilities. The handler and the dog work together as a team, bringing joy and companionship to people who need it most.
Therapy dogs are generally friendly, well-behaved, and well-trained. They must be comfortable around people of all ages and backgrounds and have a calm and gentle demeanor. Therapy dogs are often used in settings such as hospitals, where they can visit patients and provide a sense of comfort and joy during a difficult time. They can also visit schools and libraries to help children learn to read or reduce anxiety during exams. Some therapy dogs are even trained to visit disaster areas and provide emotional support to those affected by natural disasters. Therapy dog training requirements are generally less rigorous than those of a Occupational Assistance Dog who accompanies their owner to work every day.