Frequently Asked Questions

What is the wait time for obtaining a service dog?

The wait time between receiving your request and obtaining the assistance dog may vary depending on several factors. First of all, we receive a high volume of requests for a service dog, and each file is carefully studied by the mental health team at Service Companion Dogs of America (SCDOA). Currently, when you apply for an assistance dog, you must allow  a minimum of two years  before obtaining your assistance dog.

What is the difference between a service dog, a support dog and a pet therapy dog?

Having very similar roles, each of these dogs have characteristics that differentiate them. So here is a brief description of each person’s role.

Assistance dog

An assistance dog is trained for one and the same person, so it only helps its beneficiary.

The assistance dog is trained in order to compensate for the handicap or the limitations of its beneficiary. The role and tasks of the assistance dog may vary depending on the needs of the beneficiary he is accompanying. There are several types of assistance dog in order to alleviate different disorders. Here are a few :

  • Psychological assistance dog for beneficiaries with mental health problems;
  • Mobility assistance dog to compensate for a physical handicap;
  • Assistance dog for hearing;
  • Medical assistance dog for diabetes or epilepsy;
  • Etc.

The support / intervention dog

Unlike the assistance dog, the support and intervention dog is not trained to meet the specific needs of a single person. He is carefully selected and trained to interact and intervene with several individuals other than his master.

Support dogs are dogs with specific characteristics in order to be able to multitask. The selected candidates are calm, patient, gentle, comforting dogs able to detect signs of stress, discomfort or anxiety in humans.

The support dog program offered by the Stella Assistance Dog Academy is accompanied by a specific service plan in order to meet previously targeted objectives.

Like the assistance dog, the support dog is trained in order to behave appropriately in a public establishment since it will be called upon to follow its master in all the places it frequents. He has the same basic education and is evaluated according to criteria similar to the assistance dog.

The pet therapy dog

(Animal intervention partner in zootherapy)

Pet therapy is a therapeutic technique, individual or group, characterized by the assistance of a carefully selected and trained animal, with which a practitioner, duly trained for this purpose, works to maintain or improve the performance of a client on a or several planes (cognitive, physical, psychological, social or emotional). This technique should ideally be used within a larger approach that frames it and gives it meaning. – Jules Loss

Partner dogs for animal therapy interventions have access to public establishments only when it is the workplace. For example, if a zootherapist practices in a hospital center, the dog will have the right to attend during his working days.

The zootherapy intervention is not a legally regulated profession in Quebec. However, the  Corporation des Zoothérapeutes du Québec  (CZQ) has existed since 2006 in order to offer visibility, support and supervision to zootherapists in order to standardize the practice of this profession.

What are the dog breeds selected by the Service Companion Dogs of America (SCDOA)?

The dog selected to be a service dog must demonstrate a certain versatility, which is why we prioritize breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Poodle. The dog breeds mentioned above are the four dog breeds most often selected for the profession of assistance dog because of their versatility, exceptional temperament as well as their adaptability.

Each dog is unique, the Service Companion Dogs of America (SCDOA) carefully selects the candidates one by one in order to choose the dog with the greatest potential.

It is also essential for the Stella Assistance Dog Academy to assess the parents of the puppies (both in terms of behavior and the physical and psychological health of the animal), since according to the most recent studies, approximately 70% of the dog’s personality is determined by its genetics.

It happens that the Service Companion Dogs of America (SCDOA) selects a breed other than those mentioned above for various reasons. Service Companion Dogs of America (SCDOA) prioritizes a sociable, hardworking and confident dog.

Service Companion Dogs of America (SCDOA) retains control over the choice of the assistance dog breed

I already have a dog at home, do I have to get rid of it before I get my service dog?

Each canine individual being different, a dog trainer will carry out a summary assessment of your dog to determine if he presents a risk of potential danger to the Stella Academy service dog.

If everything is favorable, in no case will the Academy ask you to part with your companion.

What are the steps to request a service dog?

When filling the form, make sure you inlcude your Name and address as well as your situation or that of your loved one.

Can I become a host family even if I live in an apartment?

Ask as any quesion concerning service dog, and we will gladly answer you.

Do you have a specific question that relates to assistance and service dogs, but you can’t find it in the FAQ section? feel free to reach out to us.