General Overall Training Questions
1. What training background do the DireWolf Guardian certified trainers have?
DireWolf Guardian certified trainers have over ten years of extensive companion and working dog training background. They fully understand the unique American Alsatian temperament as well as have the ability to assess personality differences within the breed. DireWolf Guardian certified trainers have trained many American Alsatians throughout their training experience. They have also raised American Alsatians from birth to adulthood and have extensive understanding of the unique socialization needs within this highly alert, sensitive breed.
2. What types of training methods do DireWolf Guardian certified trainers employ?
DireWolf Guardian certified trainers utilize mark and reward training for teaching American Alsatians new skills. Mark and reward training is a superior form of training as it not only allows the trainer to shape the dog's behavior into very precise movements, but also allows the dog to completely understand and enjoy the exact tasks being asked. Rewards used may include: treats, verbal or physical praise, and/or play; whatever is most rewarding for each individual American Alsatian dog. DireWolf Guardian certified trainers may also employ luring as a training technique. Corrections are only given for dogs exhibiting self-rewarding behaviors or when the dog fully understands what is being asked but is ignoring.
3. What do my dog and I receive once we have completed the assistance, therapy or companion dog tests?
Upon successful completion of the assistance, therapy or companion dog tests, you will receive an official Winged Wolf certificate and your dog will then be listed as a certified DireWolf Guardian. We will then register your dog with the title of Strongbred with the National American Alsatian Club. When presenting your dog's name in print, it will have the honor of the letters "SB" after its name denoting this special certification. Once your dog has successfully worked as a therapy or assistance dog for one year, you may then apply to us for a "SBX" or Strongbred Excellent title for your dog.
1. What does it cost to get an assistance dog from DireWolf Guardians?
There is a $50 non-refundable application fee. When an applicant has been approved to receive an assistance dog through DireWolf Guardians and is ready to be placed on the waiting list, we require a $500 Good Faith deposit, which is returned after the client and the assistance dog have successfully completed their first year. Upon signing an assistance dog training contract with DireWolf Guardians, there is a $1500 stipend for overhead costs associated with training. All other costs associated with training your assistance dog, including: travel expense, training equipment, assistance dog attire (vest, leash, collar, booties, etc), vet costs, dog food costs, and any office expenses, are collected through donations. After placement, the client is responsible for all costs to support the dog.
2. What kinds of assistance dogs do you train?
We train hearing dogs, PTSD dogs, medical alert and response dogs (diabetic, hypoglycemic and seizure), mobility dogs, and autism support dogs. We tailor our training to meet the specific needs of each individual client.
3. What is the wait time for an assistance dog from DireWolf Guardians?
After a thorough temperament assessment, the potential DireWolf Guardian puppy is placed with a Heavenly Host™ who raising and socializes the puppy according to our standards. At 18 months old, after OFA hip/elbow x-rays and a cleared veterinarian's health assessment, the potential DireWolf Guardian dog can begin formal training based on the specific needs of the paired client. This more specific training in both public access and alert training takes around one year to complete. You can expect to wait 1.5 to 2 years for an assistance dog from the time of the puppy's birth to the time of transition.
4. How can I acquire an assistance dog from DireWolf Guardians to help me?
The first step is to complete the application process. After you are approved, we will immediately search for the perfect DireWolf Guardian puppy candidate to begin the work of training specifically for your unique needs.
5. What if I want to train my own American Alsatian assistance dog? Can my dog still become certified through DireWolf Guardians and acquire Winged Wolf status?
Yes, you are welcome to train your own American Alsatian to become your personal assistance dog. In order to become certified through DireWolf Guardians, however, you must submit proof that your dog is an American Alsatian bred through the Dire Wolf Project, submit the DireWolf Guardian assistance dog application and $50 application fee, be able to pass the public access test as well as the alert test specific to your disability, and you must be willing to enter into a training contract with DireWolf Guardians that includes a $500 fully refundable deposit after the first year of successful completion of certified assistance dog work. The $1500 stipend is then waved.
Therapy and Companion Dogs
1. I thought DireWolf Dogs were aloof to strangers. Do they make good therapy dogs?
In general American Alsatians kept specifically as companion dogs are uninterested in strangers and many are devoted solely to their families. This is a revered trait within the breed as American Alsatian breeders breed solely for family companionship qualities. However, many American Alsatians can be trained with specific, consistent socialization training to learn to become great therapy dogs. Ultimately, each owner wishing to help their American Alsatian dog become certified as a Winged Wolf therapy dog must be willing to appreciate calmly being pet by friendly strangers as well as be able to acquire the obedience requirements necessary to perform their duties with the manners befitting a certified Winged Wolf therapy dog.
2. What does it cost to receive support in therapy or companion dog training from DireWolf Guardians?
There are no costs associated with therapy or companion dog training from DireWolf Guardians.
4. I do not live in Colorado. How do you provide training support to potential Winged Wolf therapy or companion dogs?
Training is initially provided through electronic means. This can include: video, video chat, online messaging, email, phone, text, etc. If it is required that a certified DireWolf Guardian trainer travel to you to help with more specific training, a travel donation would be appreciated.
5. What are the steps to having my American Alsatian become a certified Winged Wolf therapy or companion dog through DireWolf Guardians?
First, you must complete the application process. Then, you must submit proof that your dog is an American Alsatian bred through the Dire Wolf Project. After approval, you must be willing to enter into a training contract with DireWolf Guardians.