• Rhesa Houston, DVM

Assistance Animal training is top safety priority


Safety is a top priority for assistance animals and their handlers. Dogs with improper training are a safety risk and liability to the handler, prescribing physician, and general public. Assistance animals need basic training as well as specialized training for specific medical task. It is safe to say untrained dogs are more likely to misbehave.  Misbehavior for a dog includes:

  • Barking when not specifically related to the patient’s disability

  • Inappropriate elimination

  • Aggression towards people and other animals

  • Being non-responsive to the verbal commands of the handler

The inability to control his or her working animal increases the liability risk for the handler and prescribing physician as well as creates a public nuisance causing everyone to suffer.Having a prescribed working animal means the animal partner is allowed access into public places most other animals are not allowed.  This public accessibility comes with additional responsibilities for the patient as the handler and its working animal.  The patient must always excise complete control and effectively communicate with the working animal. It is the working animal’s job to assist and support the patient; therefore it must be appropriately trained for its purpose.  A well trained assistance animal enhances the patient's safety and the safety of the public.

As veterinarians, we provide professional guidance and direct patients towards reputable trainers.  We will assist in selecting a training program that has a well documented background, history of experience, and necessary training to produce a highly trained dog for each specific medical need.  By partnering with the prescribing medical health professional, we help educate the patient on the required training needs each working animal must have to strengthen the human animal bond for maximum therapeutic benefit.  

Assistance Animals Consulting will partner with you to ensure your patient has a successful training plan specifically developed for them and their working animal. Contact us to learn more.

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