Starting the transformation process of your life with a new service dog is easy.
Simply fill out the application online and submit your $30 application fee via our PayPal link.
Applications are reviewed once a month by our Board of Directors.
When your application is received you will receive a confirmation letter and once the board has reviewed your application you will receive a letter and/or be contacted by a trainer who will let you know the status of your application. You will then set up an interview and home visit if you are close enough to out location to do in person.
If you are more than three hours away from the Grand Ledge Michigan area
you will conduct your interview and home visit via a detailed process on Skype which we will talk you through. Once your application has been approved you will be invited to a monthly client-dog-team meeting to meet our dogs and our other clients in your group. Glad works with 5 to 6 families every six months as a group or "cohort". You will have the opportunity to meet others in your cohort and they will become a support and education group for you as you journey through the nearly one year process from beginning to end.
Puppy Breeding and Training
The journey to your service dog begins with your breeder host family. The breeder host family is responsible for helping for the mother and the puppies until they are 8 weeks of age. Puppy trainers are responsible for the care, training and socialization of their foster puppy from 8 weeks until 8 to 12 months of age. Puppy raisers provide food, shelter and medical care for their puppy for the duration of their stay. They are responsible for attending weekly training classes and for socializing their puppy in a variety of community settings.
From 8-12 months, Canines for Change staff work with dogs and families to strengthen the canine-family bond. During this time, the handler will attend weekly group training sessions with their assistance dog-in-training. Individual training sessions will be conducted as needed. Other arrangements may be made for out of state clients.
Intensive Training Phase
From 12-18 months, the dog will be trained to perform specific tasks needed by the client. The assistance dog continues to mature and learn the manners needed to be a responsible family and community member. At the end of this phase, family members will meet again with a trainer to prepare for the dog's entrance to family life.
The final phase
Upon completion of training, each Canines for Change dog will be tested. Upon successful completion of this assessment, an identification badge will be issued which will allow the team access to all public facilities. Follow-up visits and re-certification continue throughout the life of the service dog.
Preparing a valuable pup to become a potential assistance dog is an important responsibility.
Our Puppy Raisers Program is the foundation of our specialized training program. Puppies join foster families at 8-10 weeks. Puppy raisers are responsible for caring for puppies, socializing and training early obedience skills. Homes with a backyard are considered preferable.
Puppy raisers need not have previous dog training experience but must be willing to invest time and effort required to learn basic obedience training and the Super Puppy Training program.
Canines For Change requires that all foster puppies attend weekly socialization and training classes. Puppy Raisers are expected to work with puppies daily on basic obedience and continually expose them to new environments.
Canines for Change will cover the cost of food, flea and heart worm medications during the puppies stay with the Puppy Raiser.
A crate, collar, leash and training vest are provided. Puppy Raiser can opt to pay for the food, flea and heart worm medication themselves if they would like to take the tax deduction. Immunizations, spay /neuter and routine wellness visits will be provided by Canines For Change. Puppy Raisers who elect to use other veterinary clinics for immunizations or spay and neuter, agree to do so at their own expense. Veterinary visits due to accident and illness will be considered reimbursable on a case by case basis. Puppy Raisers will be provided with a taxable donation letter for the total expenses incurred for raising the puppy.
We know that raising a healthy, balanced dog is a huge commitment.
Our team will be available to assist you throughout the process. Should you find that you are unable to commit the time and effort needed to raise a foster puppy, your puppy will be quickly placed with another family.
Puppy Raisers are required to go through a screening process to ensure the best outcome for our dogs.
To receive an application packet, or to make inquiries regarding the Puppy Raiser program, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Canines for Change we offer a unique staff that is unlike any other in the industry.
We have occupational therapists, social workers, speech therapists and and exec director who is a certified school psychologist. In addition we have teachers of various special education categories including autism, cognitive impairment, emotionally impaired, and early childhood development all delays.
Need a helping hand?
We also have a support group of parents with special needs children who have gotten service service dogs from us in the past that are at your disposal for discussion and support.
We strive to provide the highest quality assistance and skilled companion dogs to children as young as five years old and adults with special needs.
We train dogs to assist people with Autism, medical and mobility issues, as well as sensory processing disorders and seizures.
In an effort to meet the needs of our families, it is our goal to start the training process as soon as possible.
We begin working with the family as soon as they complete our simple application process and are approved for a dog. Changes for Change also offers family support groups to help families make the transition to life with a service dog. We also have consultants that assist in the training process with the families such as physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and behavioral specialists. The organizations Executive Director, Dr. Nikki Brown, is also a school psychiatrist.
Changes for Change is a non-profit within the state of Michigan.
Dr. Nikki Brown, Executive Director
Dr. Nikki has been training dogs for over 15 years.
She owned and operated Premier K-9, a dog training school in Grand Ledge, MI from 2003 to 2012. She holds two master's degrees from Michigan State University in Counseling and School Psychology and has completed her PhD with an emphasis on behavior modification. Her education and years of experience training pet dogs as well as training and breeding police dogs, make her an expert in the field of dog training and behavior modification. Nikki has titled many to dogs to high levels in various sports such as agility, UKC obedience, K9 Pro Sports, and Protection Sports Association. She has also competed in conformation, Schutzhund. Dr. Nikki has also earned several Canine Good citizen and Therapy Dogs International titles.
How We're Different
At Canines For Change it cost more than $25,000 to train a service dog from start to finish and to support the dog and team throughout the dogs life.
You will find this cost to be similar with all assistance dog programs. The cost of our service dogs is paid for by private donations and public contributions. Families are asked to raise a portion of the expenses before the training begins through our fundraising suggestions and are supported by our current and past clients who have successfully raised funds for their dogs.
In an effort to meet the needs of our families, it is our goal to start the training process by involving them as soon as possible.
We begin working with the family as soon as they complete our simple application process and are approved for a dog.Canines For Change also offers family support groups and has licensed therapists to help families make the transition to life with the service dog. We have many consultants that assist in the training process with families such as physical therapists, speech therapists, Occupational therapists, behavior specialists, social workers and a psychologist. After the puppies have completed 90% of their puppy training, Families are encouraged to come and watch the dogs participate in obedience class and to interact with the group of dogs we have available. We use this time to train the families in the general principles of dog training and dog ownership so that when the dog is ready for individualized family training, the family already has some knowledge of dog training. After a certain level of training and once the dog is paired with the family but before training is complete families take the dog back to their home on various short home visits and the dog goes on outings with the Family.
Canines For Change is dedicated to providing you with a balanced, well-trained dog that is ready to serve your family's needs.
We work closely with each individual and family to select a dog who's temperament and skill set is suited to your daily life. Our training process includes the family at every level to ensure that both Canine and human are ready to begin their lives together successfully. Once the family has taken the dog home there will be regular follow-ups and additional training provided as needed. We maintain contact with you thru the life of the dog. Dogs are required to pass the re certification test yearly so it is imperative that you continue training and practicing your dogs skills once you and your dog have graduated as a team. Owning a service dog is an incredible opportunity but it is also a huge responsibility and lots of work to keep the dogs skills at the level they are when the dog graduates. Dogs are not robots so people must be willing to take on this commitment of continuing to train the dog throughout its life.