We primarily use large breeds such as Labradors, German Shepherds, Labrador mixes, etc. Because the most important characteristics in a service dog are the desire to be a loving and faithful companion and the passion to be of service to its owner, the dogs we choose are not necessarily purely bred.
Our dogs come from shelters/rescues and dog breeders who either donate or sell them to the organization at a discounted rate.
For the dog’s first year, training takes place in our foster parent homes and at scheduled classes. Much of this training happens in public places such as shopping malls and restaurants. After the dog’s first year, the dog then learns specific skills to assist its future owner.
Training begins as soon as the young dog enters the foster parents’ home. Depending on the age of the dog and the “job” the dog will have, the training period can range anywhere from 3 to 24 months.
On average, service dogs work about eight years. A dog’s physical and emotional well-being may extend or shorten the dog’s expected length of service. After retirement, the dog may stay with its owner or be placed in a home approved by Capable Canines of Wisconsin.
There are times when a dog may not graduate its training program. A dog may not graduate for a variety of reasons—health and temperament, to name a couple. For these dogs, we find good homes approved by Capable Canines of Wisconsin.
We do not train dogs that are already in a family simply because we cannot guarantee the dog has what it takes to be a service dog.
At this time, Capable Canines of Wisconsin focuses on serving only the upper Midwest with our service dog program. We do this to ensure proper follow up with the service dogs and their human counterparts. For information about service dogs in other regions, visit Assistant Dogs International at their website, www.assistancedogsinternational.org.
Anyone with a physical or developmental disability may apply for a service dog. We will consider all applicants regardless of race, sex, religion, creed, sexual orientation, ethnic origin or age.
The candidate or caregiver must be mature enough and possess sufficient cognitive functioning to actively participate in the training and learning processes required to own a service dog. The candidate must be actively pursuing the goal of independent living and seeking to improve the quality of his/her life through the aid of a service dog. The candidate must be able to continuously meet the emotional, physical, and financial needs of a service dog in a stable & loving environment.
There is a $25 non-refundable application fee up front, and then the cost for a dog ranges from $8,000 to $25,000, depending on the skills of the service dog. The organization does assist recipients in fundraising activities to help reduce the financial burden.
Capable Canines of Wisconsin is funded by private contributions, gifts from businesses, civic groups, and service clubs. Grants from corporations and foundations and ongoing fundraising activities, special events, and mailings also fund Capable Canines. Capable Canines of Wisconsin receives no government funding.