What is a Service Animal

There is an epidemic in this country and that epidemic is called “Service Dogs”. It’s become fashionable to have one and there are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation out there about Service Dogs. So what is a Service Dog?

Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.

A pet dog should not be “turned into a Service Dog” just because you want to make a fashion statement. There is real work involved with building a Service Dog. If I could choose whether or not I truly need a Service Dog, I’d go without one. I wish I could walk without crutches for even 1/4 of a mile, walk down stairs by myself and pick up things that I have dropped. It took years of hard work to get my dog where he is today and it never stops. His training has to be maintained regularly.

What tasks does my Service Dog provide:

    • Blocking
    • Counter Balance
    • Momentum Pull
    • Opening Drawers and getting Medication
    • Opening Doors
    • Retrieval of any dropped item or directed retrieves

The following video shows my Service Dogs behavior, public access obedience and task training:

Service Dog Work from Sandra King on Vimeo.

In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.

While there is no official certification or registration, businesses are absolutely allowed to ask questions. They can ask you whether or not your dog is a Service Animal and what the dog does to mitigate your disability. That being said, the law does invite people to commit Service Dog Fraud. In case your dog is unruly, a nuisance or not housebroken, the business is within it’s right to remove your dog.

A service animal may not be excluded based on assumptions or stereotypes about the animal’s breed or how the animal might behave. However, if a particular service animal behaves in a way that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, has a history of such behavior, or is not under the control of the handler, that animal may be excluded. If an animal is excluded for such reasons, staff must still offer their goods or services to the person without the animal present.

Furthermore, emotional support and comforting is not considered a task. If all your dog does is to comfort you, that’s what an Emotional Support Dog is for. Service Dogs are specifically task trained to mitigate ones disability.

The dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert him when his blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained to remind her to take her medication. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure.

Last but not least, the difference between Service Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs and Therapy Dogs. There is a lot of confusion between Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs specifically. Often times people say “I want him to be my Therapy Animal.” or “How do I train him to be my Therapy Service Dog?”


Graphic made by “Project Canine”

Low Cost Spay & Neuter in NNY

Spay – Neuter NOW

Spay – Neuter NOW is a local program and 501c3 non profit organization.

All Spay-Neuter-Now spay/neuter assistance programs require clients to fill out an application for assistance.

Program eligibility includes:

  • Income-Qualified Households for Cats & Dogs
  • Military Households for Cats
  • Caretakers of Unowned, Stray, Feral, Colony or Barn Cats

For more information about Spay – Neuter NOW please visit their Website.

Friends of Animals

Friends of Animals lists two participating vets: Northcountry Veterinary Clinic and Limerick Vet.

To get a Friends of Animals certificate you have to follow their Instructions.


1. Contact a veterinarian listed below before proceeding to the next step:

  • Confirm the veterinarian’s continued participation in the Friends of Animals Spay & Neuter program
  • Inform the veterinarian that you intend to use Friends of Animals’ spay/neuter certificate.
  • Ask about any restrictions and additional charges
  • Do not make an appointment until after you have received your certificate in the mail.

2. After contacting a vet from the listings below, check the box at the bottom of the screen and proceed to the next step

If you have any questions, please email or call FoA at 1-800-321-7387 M – F, 9-5 Eastern Time.

15/15/15 SPECIAL


We are the ONLY facility in the North Country with specialized non-slip rubber flooring that protects your dogs during rough play. We will soon have an additional 3,000 square foot outdoor play area!

We will also start offering a new opening time to meet the needs of our clients affected by the Fort Drum PT schedule, along with pickup service on Fort Drum for an additional $2/dog. Please contact us about the FORT DRUM PACKAGE.

New Drop Off and Pick Up Times


Monday to Friday: 7AM to 9.30 AM and 5.30PM to 6PM

If you want to board over the weekend, you have to drop your dog off on Friday between 5.30PM and 6PM and pick him up on Monday morning unless you want to drop them off early in the morning so they can enjoy daycare.


New dogs: 7AM to 9.30AM
Regular Dogs: 7AM to 11.30AM

We understand that Fort Drum has a new PT Policy and we will work with you. If you to drop off your dog during lunch break instead and can’t make it before 11.30AM let us know ahead of time so we can make arrangements and put certain dogs up before you bring your dog inside. This is to ensure everyone’s safety.
The Daycare pack gets established on a daily basis. If you bring a new dog in after a certain time frame, it causes conflict between the dogs. The pack is already tired from a long morning of play and then new dogs, full of energy come in and disrupt the pack.
Certain breeds can be very territorial. It’s what dogs do. This is why we have these rules.

How to find a Reputable Breeder

We get many questions and messages about puppies and if we have recommendations about local breeders. These are the things to look for in reputable breeders:

– Both, Sire and Dam are health tested and OFA’ed or have a PennHip certification, SV A Stamp etc.
– Depending on the breeds requirement, both Sire and Dam are working in the field, participating in some sort of sport and are possibly titled.
– Breeder has his dogs either AKC or UKC registered
– Breeder does not sell puppies before the age of 8 weeks
– Breeder may not have sire on premises because a lot of breeders may go to a sire out of state or has semen shipped
Breeders premises are clean, dogs are clean and in good health
– Breeder vaccinates puppies and has them vet checked before the puppies go into their new home
– Breeder is knowledgeable about his breed of choice
– Breeder has a solid contract, health guarantee, and will always take his dogs back or help you get the dog placed in case you can no longer keep your dog.
– Breeder is always available for questions and support throughout the lifetime of the dog

This is not a pick and choose. It’s the combination of all of these points that make a breeder reputable and compassionate for their dogs. If a breeder does not take the dogs back that he put into this world, that is a red flag. If a breeder does not register, vaccinate, or offer any type of support for the dogs he produced, that is a red flag. If a breeder charges too little or too much, that is a red flag (well bred dogs cost money. A well bred GSD pup from working lines usually costs between 1000-2000 Dollars).
If a breeder only sells you the puppy because you slapped some money on the table, it’s a red flag. If a breeder breeds 4 different breeds, just don’t do it.
Reputable breeders usually require you to fill in some form of puppy questionnaire and will hold a lengthy phone conversation about expectations and responsibilities before they invite you to meet the puppies, they don’t just hand over their dogs. If a breeder uses the same female and male every cycle, it is a red flag. If they breed for “specialty colors”, that’s a red flag. If the premises are dirty, the dogs not well groomed, the puppies have not been properly exposed and have been locked up and never seen the outside world or lack confidence and you have a feeling that something just isn’t right… don’t buy the puppy out of guilt, just turn around and walk away.
Now here is the hard part, there are breeders that appear to be reputable but they are not. They do it all, they title their dogs, their dogs are health tested, they appear to be know their stuff, yet they are not reputable because what you don’t know is that they won’t take their dogs back for whatever reason. They are not accountable for what they produced.

Finding a good breeder is not easy, and there are honestly not many in this area. Most of the time you will have to drive to get a good puppy, and sometimes even go out of State before you find what you are looking for. Most importantly, have patience. Don’t jump on the first litter you see. Keep your options open until you find the perfect match.

Whats happening at Canine College

There are great things happening at Canine College.

We are continuously working to build our inventory of state of the art training equipment.

We added:

  • a brand new detection wall
  • puppy detection tubes
  • UKC Nosework target odor kit
  • Schutzhund Blinds

We also keep up the training with our mentors from the Search Dog Organization of Northern America to build our own skills. Because the day you think you know it all, is the day you should stop training dogs.

Bullet returned from Virginia because he just didn’t click with his new handler. So he came back and is here to stay in his forever home with us. He’s gone into detection with Sandra and his training is progressing rapidly as you can see in the video below.

Bullet earned his BH

Bullet, a young, very high drive Belgian Malinois has joined our pack a good while ago. We got him for free, and he’s already had a great foundation since his previous owner attended the Tom Rose School with him.

Bullet is what we like to call a “pocket rocket”, meaning: small, fast, powerful, intense and driven. He’s the type of dog that you will find suitable for any job, be it the Police, SAR, Military, he could pretty much do it all. He’s also the type of dog that’s not going to be happy if he can’t work. He’s not a couch potato. He’s “Go, Go, Go, Go. Go” all the time and if he doesn’t get anything to do, he’ll find something to do himself.

My good friend Kelly took onto him as a handler. She trained him for over half a year and went to the Binghamton Schutzengel Working Dog Club to put the BH on him. The BH is the German Companion Dog test. It’s a pass or fail, just like the CGC and required to move onto Agility, Schutzhund, Obedience or Tracking Titles. Without the BH you cannot compete in high level trials.

Anyhow, Kelly successfully completed the BH with Bullet and we are so proud of both of them.

As for Bullet, he will move onto greater things. On Wednesday, September 30st, he will move to Virginia and become a Disaster (SAR) Dog. As a 43 pound dog, and as highly driven as he is, he is the perfect candidate for this line of work.

That being said, we will miss this crazy, fun, ready-to-work, little dog, though we can’t wait to see the great things he will accomplish in his future working dog career.

Watertown Daily Times Feature

What a great way to start off Canine College in our very first month in business:

On September 21st, Watertown Daily Times staff writer Ted Booker and photographer Coty Giannelli stopped by the business to talk dogs and learn more about the services offered.

Ted and Coty learned just how crazy it can get in a room full of energetic, playful young dogs, found out more about the classes we offer and the different activities we’re involved in with our own dogs, and wrote a great article.

You can read the full article here.

Make sure to keep your eyes and ears open for other great articles about Canine College, as the Watertown Daily Times has promised to come back and learn more.