A common misconception and the biggest question we get asked on a daily basis is 'Do you provide qualified Assistance Dogs'
The answer unfortunately is WE DO NOT!
Many people choose to train their own assistance or therapy dogs and here at Oliver's Army Assistance and Therapy Dogs, we support people with a range of physical and mental disabilities as well as mobility issues to train their own pet dogs as assistance dogs or therapy dog.
Our classes are not to train your dog but to teach you how to train your own dog. All we ask is for your commitment to training! Classes are roughly an hour a week and we ask you continue your training, at home, for 5-10 minutes several times a day. Your success solely relies on your commitment to the training.
We have a great support network in place. Volunteers are on hand to ask questions throughout the day and we have social media for all handlers to ask questions and support each other through their training journeys.
We provide a range of training programmes from Basic Obedience , Assistance work and Therapy work. At the end of each programme their will be an assessment which you will take, with your dog, to achieve that level. If you choose, you can work towards the Public Access assessment which your dog can become a fully trained Assistance Dog.
Here at Oliver's Army we use the Kennel Club methods which is all about positive reinforcement with reward based training.
You can find out a bit more below about each programme.
All new dogs UNDER the age of 7 months can begin training at this level. This course lays the foundations for early learning and assists new puppy owners in understanding basic training techniques. Enrolment can take place from 8 weeks of age. This award level is assessed by the class instructor over a minimum of 6 classes and a small exam at the end by a qualified assessor.
All new dogs OVER the age of 7 months will start training at Bronze level or those who have completed Puppy Foundation. The Bronze Award aims to produce a dog that will walk and behave in a controlled manner. It is a basic standard that all adult dogs can achieve with correct handling. To take part owners must show that they have means of picking up after their dog and that their dog is wearing a lead and collar with the name and the address of the owner inscribed on the collar/disc.
There is an assessment at the end of the course and all dogs must attend a minimum of 6 classes before taking the assessment.
When the Bronze assessment has been achieved you will receive your ID badge for In Training, which will allow you to gain public access into shops etc. with your dog.
Your dog MUST be insured with Full Public Liability Insurance.
You are asked that your dog wears our colour of harness, which is blue, and have IN TRAINING badges displayed on the sides.
As the dogs are still young we ask that you slowly and gradually gain public access, starting at Dog Friendly establishments.
We NEVER advise escalators unless your dog is wearing boots.
The Silver Award aims to build on the skills learned in the Bronze Award while increasing the level of difficulty. It is a natural progression of practical dog training skills and introduces new concepts such as greeting a friend, vehicle control and a road walking exercise all of which are vital in everyday life situations. Again there is a minimum of 6 classes that need to be attended before the assessment.
The Gold Award is the highest level of achievement within the scheme awards. It builds upon the skills learnt in the Silver Award and develops more advanced training skills of the dog and handler. The Gold Award introduces new concepts such as sending a dog to bed, relaxed isolation, an emergency stop and heelwork off the lead, all of which provide greater understanding and control.
Oliver's Army are excited to announce that they have just created a new Therapy Programme and Assessment.
Dogs CANNOT qualify before they are 24 months old.
Dogs MUST be spayed/neutered and must have proof from a vet of good health at the time of sitting the final exam.
Qualified dogs are expected to attend at least 1 class every 8 weeks to allow trainers to see standards continue to be high. Once qualified commitment to further training and checks is essential, as described in our training programme.