This summer, Patriot Service Dogs is offering a brand-new volunteer opportunity! We are excited to introduce “Service Dog Summer School!” Don’t worry—it’s going to be a lot more fun than real summer school.
What is summer school for service dogs?
Our organization is lucky to have five promising puppies training in our WOOF Prison Program to be service dogs for veterans. The incarcerated women in the WOOF program are excellent trainers and have already taught our puppies more than most family dogs learn into adulthood, but prison is a limited environment and to be successful service dogs, the puppies need to learn to use their skills in the wider world. That’s where summer school comes in!
We are asking for volunteers to host a puppy in their home from June 15th to August 15th. These two months will be an opportunity for volunteers to join the PSD community, learn some dog training skills, and help change the life of a veteran in need. For existing PSD volunteer raisers, this will be a new way to participate in the process of training a service dog. Are you ready to become a host?
What Commitments do Volunteers Make?
- First and foremost, volunteers provide a safe and loving home. That home should be dedicated to training a service dog for a veteran.
- Volunteers must follow all PSD rules (e.g., no human food, no harsh corrections, no letting the dog on furniture).
- Attend 1 hour training sessions in the Ocala area every other week, answer check-in phone calls on off weeks, and complete evaluations every other week.
What Commitments does PSD Make?
- PSD provides food, a kennel, and necessary gear (bowl, leash, service dog vest)
- Expert Training and on-call advice.
- Two optional training outings.
- End of Summer School Graduation Party.
- PSD t-shirt
- Two tickets to the Class of 2024 Graduation
- An exposure scavenger hunt to help guide training.
How to Apply:
- Fill out the PSD Volunteer Application
- Phone Interview and Home Check (can be done virtually in most cases)
- Complete 1-hour online video training course
- Training sessions will be held in the Ocala area, so volunteers need to be able and available to attend.
*Current PSD volunteer raisers will just need to complete the phone interview to confirm their understanding of the requirements.
- Who are we looking for?
We are looking for anyone willing to give their love, time, and commitment. Couples, families, and single people are all welcome!
*Applicants must be able to physically manage an 8–10-month-old large breed dog and be willing to attend classes every other week in the Ocala area.
- Can I pick which puppy I host?
No. We will match hosts and puppies based on the home situation and the puppies’ personalities.
- Do I need dog training experience?
No, just a willingness to learn! If you do have previous dog training experience, we will expect you to follow our rules and methods, even if they differ from what you’ve previously been taught.
- What if I can’t take a puppy for the whole two months or will be away during part of that time?
We will consider applications for a minimum of one month. If you are unavailable for one week or less, we can take the dog for that time and return it to you.
If you have any other questions, please contact Victoria!
Meet the Puppies!
Millie: Millie is a confident Labrador Retriever who loves a new adventure or challenge. She has her “zoomie” moments but settles nicely. In June, she will be 8 months old.
Bear: Bear is Millie’s sister. Her unique color is called Fox Red. Bear likes to play but is a little less adventurous than her sister. She loves a good cuddle. She will also be 8 months old in June. To learn more about Bear and her sister, Millie, click here.
Dolley: Dolley is a Rottweiler (to learn more about why we train Rotties, click here) and is whip-smart! She loves puzzles and other ways to use her brain. She needs a little more time to feel comfortable in new situations but rewards patience with progress. She will be 7 1/2 months in June.
Mattie: Mattie is a Black Lab and she is very sharp on her commands! She is confident and energetic. A host who loves to play would be a great place for her to spend her first summer. She will be 6 months in June.
Bailey: The only boy in the group, Bailey is Mattie’s brother. We think of him as our “surfer dude.” He is laid-back and a little more timid than his sister in new situations. He will be 6 months old in June. To learn more about Bailey and his sister, Mattie, click here.