Mobility Assistance Dogs
Mobility service dogs help people with various mobility challenges by retrieving dropped items, turning lights on and off, opening doors, tugging off clothing and other tasks to help them with the activities of daily living. Our dogs also are custom trained to meet specific needs once they are matched with a waiting applicant.
Service dogs have legal access to most public places where pets generally are not allowed.
Career Change Dogs
Many people contact us about adopting a dog that did not meet the stringent requirements to become a service dog. To view our career-changed dogs, please visit our web page at Petfinder.
Where We Get Our Dogs
We get many of our dogs from shelters, giving these deserving animals a “new leash on life.” We also acquire dogs through our own breeding program, other assistance dog programs, professional breeders and from people needing to re-home their pets.
Prospective dogs undergo extensive evaluation before being accepted into our program to ensure the greatest chance for their success and that only healthy dogs with suitable temperaments are placed with clients.
Puppies spend most of their time up to the age of about eight months in a Puppy Raising Foster Home. Many wonderful volunteers provide basic obedience training, housebreaking, socialization and warm, loving environments.
Since 2010, Summit has had a very successful partnership with the Monroe Correctional Complex, where carefully screened and selected inmates train many of our dogs. Older puppies and shelter dogs are placed with inmate pairs for nine weeks. During that time, Summit trainers work with the inmates twice a week, honing their dog-training skills.
This frees up countless hours of time for Summit’s professional trainers. The inmates, who are not paid, learn job skills, social skills, communication and responsibility. At the end of each nine-week session, a formal graduation ceremony is held at the prison, and the dogs that are nearing readiness for placement with a client return to Summit for advanced training with our professional trainers.
In addition to advanced training, Summit’s professional trainers can customize a dog’s tasking skills to meet the particular needs of the client the dog will be partnered with.
Finally, all newly matched teams attend an intensive two-week, on-site training program. During this time, Summit’s trainers teach the clients how to care for their new partners and how to work and communicate successfully with them.
Please note: We do not train people’s own dogs.