ADS

Services

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ADS SERVICE DOGS AND THEIR BENEFITS

Safety
For children that wander or bolt, the service dog keeps the child grounded and safe. The service dog keeps the child with the family and allows for safe road-crossings.  

Constant Friendship
The service dog can become a companion for the child.  Independence is fostered through being responsible for helping with the dog’s care and exercise.  

Behavioural Support
The dog helps with stress control, becoming a constant anchor and behavioural guide for the child. The service dog bridges the gap between peers creating opportunities for socialization and independence. A child learns daily tasks with service dog that create opportunities to learn responsibility, empathy, socialization, and communication development.

There are benefits for family and siblings as well. Parents gain comfort in public places families can participate in outings together and more often.

ADS Services

THE ADS PROGRAM

Autism Dog Services is a family centred program that focuses on helping the whole family benefit from our program. We provide all of our service dogs with training in natural home environments, support all of our placements in family homes, and we provide focused service to all of our client families.
Focused Service

ADS places dogs with children in between the ages of 3 to 18 years of age. ADS does not require an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis to be considered for our program. If a child has challenges which present in a similar manner to Autism we will evaluate the need to determine if a service dog would provide beneficial support to the child.

Family Support

ADS provides local placements in the most parts of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and parts of Southwestern Ontario in order to be able to stay closely connected with all service dog recipients. Staff are regularly out in the community training service dogs, visiting clients, and instructing educators and are available for support when required. Our goal is to have our service dog teams be as successful as possible.

Approved families are required to complete seven mandatory specialized Service Dog Education Workshops upon approval with the goal of helping them gain the knowledge and skills needed to make the service dog successful once it joins the family home.

Families with service dogs are required to attend one Graduate Refresher Training Workshop each year to polish up their skills and connect with ADS staff for support.

ADS provides in-home placement of the service dog once a family reaches the top of the waiting list and a match has been determined by staff. Further training, support and instruction is done at the home and community. Families will be required to take time off to meet staff for follow-up and may be required to travel to locations determined by the Training Instructor during the initial placement of the service dog.

ADS fosters close working relationships with all the families who are waiting to receive service dogs. Staff aim to build a strong partnership with each family during their wait time and our goal is to have that continue when each family receives their service dog until the dog's retirement.

Autism Specific Resources

ADS provides autism specific Educational Manuals to families and educators upon the service dog placement. Other resources provided are social narrative samples, task strips and training videography along with video modelling to help children with autism work on daily tasks with their service dogs.

Home-Trained Service Dogs

All of our service dogs are raised in homes from puppyhood until they have completed their socialization and training and are paired with the family and child they will be assisting. dogsADS dogs live in stress-free conditions that allow them to reach their full potential. Once the dogs are moved to staff homes for advanced training, the Training Instructors get to know each dog in a very personal way. This close personal connection helps staff to make the best match possible for each family on the ADS wait list.

WATCH US IN ACTION

ADS ADOPTIONS

ADS

PUPPY & DOG ADOPTIONS

Adopt a dog that doesn’t meet criteria to become a service dog! Puppies and dogs in training may be released from their training program at any time. ADS puppies or dogs that do not meet standards for behaviour, health or temperament are disqualified and adopted out as companion or pet dogs to those approved by ADS and are waiting. These dogs typically have minor health or behaviour problems and would make wonderful pet dogs.

For more information about adoptions fill out this: Adoption Form

for Children or Adults with Special Needs

COMPANION DOGS

ADS matches companion dogs to people of all ages with special needs who would benefit from the companionship of a dog at home.  These dogs have some training but did not complete full certification to become service dogs.  Companion dogs do not have any public access, are not provided with a service dog jacket and cannot be utilized in public places.  If you are interested in this program please complete the adoption form and indicate so on the related question.  If you have any questions please contact janine@autismdog.ca

DETaILS

FYI- NFORMATION

Who can apply to be put on the adoption list?
Dogs are available to residents of Ontario with travel expectations.

Adoption Fee
There is an adoption fee for adopting released puppies and dogs to cover some of the expenses that the puppy or dog has incurred while in the ADS training program. Fees range from $3500 – $4000

Frequently Asked Questions

Autism Dog Services Inc. (ADS) is a registered Canadian Charity # 803605955RR0001 established in the Province of Ontario. ADS fosters the integration of children in between the ages of three and 18 years of age with autism and related disorders by training, placing and supporting service dogs that offer safety, companionship, and independence. ADS functions with a small staff and key volunteers. 

There is non-refundable $50 application processing fee.

There are no fees to receive training or to graduate with a service dog. Normal, on-going costs for a service dog include: dog food, treats, toys, routine veterinary care, and grooming. Each family who has a service dog is responsible for the annual cost of having a service dog at approximately $1000 – $1500/year and any emergency veterinary care.  

ADS purchases Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and some Standard Poodle Cross Breeds from reputable breeders.  *ADS does not provide hypo-allergenic dogs. 

ADS service dogs are handled by the child’s parent or guardian at home and by an educator at school. The service dogs are trained to respond and follow commands given by the handler.

Parents/guardians are fully responsible for the service dog’s care and maintenance (i.e. maintaining service dog training, health/veterinary care, feeding, grooming and exercise). The handler’s job is to act as a liaison between the child with autism and the service dog. The child is responsible for assisting with tasks relating to the service dog.

Service dogs from ADS are identified by the silver and/or red service dog jacket worn while accompanying the child in public settings at all times. The service dog jacket is equipped with a handle or short leash for the child to hold. ADS issues identification cards to all certified service dog teams. The card identifies the service dog and the child.

One of the key roles of ADS service dogs is to provide safety outside of the home, in public settings and at school. The service dog acts as a physical anchor for the child with autism. For children who are connected the their service dog by a belt/tether, the children are prevented from running out onto the road or away from the family when issued the “stop” command from the parent.  This gives the parent time to intervene and direct the child back onto the safer path. The service dog also prevents the child from wandering away from the family while out in public settings. This also allows for parents to teach the child about walking safely and staying with their service dog.  For some children, holding the handle on it’s own helps to keep them with their families and they don’t require the belt/tether.  
Connecting the child and service dog by the belt/tether is an option for smaller children. ADS works directly with parents who are interested in utilizing this option, but most of the children with ADS service dogs find that teaching the child to hold onto the handle connected to the working jacket is enough to teach children safe road crossings and allows for greater independence.

-service dog jacket
-handle or short leash
-tether/belt system or vest if required

ADS service dogs provide independence for children with autism by making public outings easier to cope with for parents and children. For many parents, this is the first opportunity to have their child walk independently of holding onto them.

The child is responsible for assisting with daily care routines with their service dog, such as exercise (i.e. walk with the dog, play fetch with the dog if able or with assistance), grooming and feeding; thus furthering opportunities for independence-making, learning empathy and a sense of responsibility for another.

The service dog should accompany the family on all public outings. Public outings with the service dog allow for safety and independence for the child, who may have had difficulties participating in family activities. Families may avoid family activities outside the home for fear of compromising the child’s safety, or due to the child’s difficulty in coping with new environments and managing the child’s behavioural outbursts and anxiety in public settings. With the service dog present, many families are able to pursue activities together.  For example, a family may be able to enjoy restaurant visits with their child, family vacations, or endure longer car trips with the presence of a service dog. The dog acts as a constant companion, always available to the child for stroking and deep pressure tasks to relieve anxiety.  

ADS service dogs may help to modify behaviour in children with autism. Many parents have reported that the service dog provides a calming influence on their children. Children with autism may achieve this by stroking their dog’s fur, by having their dog lay close or with deep pressure. This comfort can help children cope with transitions between places, activities, changes in routines, and may help improve sleep patterns. The child is able to get through anxieties that may be associated with daily activities with the help of his or her service dog.

The child is responsible for assisting with daily care routines with their service dog, such as exercise (i.e. walk with the dog, play fetch with the dog if able or with assistance), grooming and feeding; thus furthering opportunities for independence-making, learning empathy and a sense of responsibility for another.

The service dog should accompany the family on all public outings. Public outings with the service dog allow for safety and independence for the child, who may have had difficulties participating in family activities. Families may avoid family activities outside the home for fear of compromising the child’s safety, or due to the child’s difficulty in coping with new environments and managing the child’s behavioural outbursts and anxiety in public settings. With the service dog present, many families are able to pursue activities together.  For example, a family may be able to enjoy restaurant visits with their child, family vacations, or endure longer car trips with the presence of a service dog. The dog acts as a constant companion, always available to the child for stroking and deep pressure tasks to relieve anxiety.  

ADS service dogs bridge the social gap between children with autism and others. They allow for the development of social skills in children with autism by assisting with the integration of children with peers and the public.

Some parents feel their children would benefit form having the service dogs assist them at school.  ADS works with each family to determine the need and help with this introduction.  Training and support is provided by parents and ADS staff once a service dog joins the school. There are opportunities for increased communication, independence along with social and academic benefits of having the service dogs present at school. ADS believes in building an inclusive environment that fosters the growth of communication, social interaction and independence for the student with autism and related disorders. ADS supports and encourages the partnership between the student and service dog to best reach their potential. ADS is firmly committed to furthering the education of both student and school staff in clearly defining the role of an autism service dog in the school community.

The service dog should accompany the family on all public outings. Public outings with the service dog allow for safety and independence for the child, who may have had difficulties participating in family activities. Families may avoid family activities outside the home for fear of compromising the child’s safety, or due to the child’s difficulty in coping with new environments and managing the child’s behavioural outbursts and anxiety in public settings. With the service dog present, many families are able to pursue activities together.  For example, a family may be able to enjoy restaurant visits with their child, family vacations, or endure longer car trips with the presence of a service dog. The dog acts as a constant companion, always available to the child for stroking and deep pressure tasks to relieve anxiety.  

Yes, ADS is an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI). ADI is a governing body that establishes and set standards for assistance dog programs world-wide. ADS meets the standards for service dog teams established by ADI.  ADS is also a member of the Canadian Association of Guide & Assistance Dog Schools CAGADS