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Service Dogs


We train service dogs, and their owners.  We also provide service dogs to people with special "additional duty" needs that include protection, sport, hunting and other activities for an owner and his dog.  No other company offers service dogs that also protect their owners and their owner’s property to the level of quality offered by Top Tier K9.  Most service dog organizations specifically exclude dogs that protect from their list of services and training simply because they are incapable of effectively training those dogs and owners.  Remember that protection cannot be the "qualifying" reason for a service dog, but it can be an "additional duty" of the dog provided the training is done properly.  


Training your own service dog as a protection dog is something we do not recommend.  Protection dogs must be professionally trained.  They never show aggression, bark at people, or snap at anyone unprovoked.  They properly respond to commands, are stable, and protect their owner from real threats.  We select your service dog from our inventory of Foundation Dogs® .  Ready to rumble, track, find specific odor, perform off leash obedience and of course...protect you and your family.

An untrained service dog, one that has not been exposed to professional protection training, is far more apt to react in an improper manner to pressure, stress, surprise and may actually bite it's owner in the event of a real threat coming at the owner.

The best use of service dogs that also protect are for owners who have a qualifying disability that meets the current requirements established by the ADA in their definitions of service dogs that is not an absolute life threatening disability.  That being said, 99% of most people's time is home with their service dog and having a service dog that also protects you, your home and your family is a great use of a service dog and allows many returning disabled veterans to sleep at night knowing the dog has their back.  Keep that in mind when you are making your decisions.  The ADA only applies to forcing businesses to allow you inside their businesses with your service dog.  It has nothing at all to do with you, your home, your car etc...  A properly trained protection dog is not aggressive, it isn't angry, it isn't vicious, it is in control, stable and obedient to the owners commands no matter what the level of distraction.

Service dogs can do many things to help a disabled person, however there is a lot of misinformation on the internet about what they can and cannot be specifically trained to do. At Top Tier K9, we encourage you to do research about this subject following the links below and contact us for further inquires.

Link to current ADA requirements for service dogs
Link to frequently asked questions on current requirements

Link to Code of Federal Regulations 


Service Dogs that also protect and serve their owner

We train our Foundation Dogs® from 8 weeks old to be amazing service animals. Dogs that make it into phase 4 of our Foundation Dog® training program, are ready to be finished for specific needs of people with disabilities who will benefit from a service dog.

Some of the basic functions all of our dogs perform include:

  • Protection

  • Specific Odor Detection

  • Tracking

  • Search and Rescue

  • Item Retrieval

  • Off leash obedience


Each dog is specifically trained from 8 weeks old to a reward system making it easier to add any function related to service such as:

  • Opening/closing a door

  • Alerting to a specific sound, or change in environment

  • Waking someone from a bad dream

  • Pulling the owner out of a stress event

  • Turning on/off a light

  • Identifying and indicating on any odor including high and low blood sugar


Dogs are placed based on specific needs and abilities of the owners. When the right temperaments and dispositions are matched (Foundation Dogs® ), new training is added to our dogs based on the owners specific needs (finish work) while at the same time the owner is being trained on how to handle and manage the dog.


Certified Service Dog Trainer Program

Top Tier K9 provides a Masters level program available to our Certified Foundation Dog® Trainers and select affiliates. 

This program teaches our graduates how to effectively manage and train a service dog and its new owner. 

There is so much confusion in the public about what a service dog is, and what it is not.  The challenge is that a true service dog cannot be denied access to places that it's owner desires/needs to take it to (such as a hotel, restaurant, grocery store, mall or airplane) . That has been abused and many untrained dogs and their untrained owners.  We differentiate the quality of the dog and owner with our certification processes and awards. 

A vest and card purchased from the Internet does not "certify" your dog as a service dog.  Top Tier K9 does certify service dogs, service dog owners and service dog trainers.  Neither process is required by the ADA to call your dog a service dog, you can even train your own service dog and call it a service dog, we simply do the process in a professional and replicable way and will show the business owners a much higher caliber of dog with our certifications.

The ADA is only 1% of the service dog world.  NEVER forget that.  The ADA relative to service dogs is simply a rule that requires a business to allow a properly trained service dog into their establishment even if they don;t allow dogs.  The remaining 99% is you and your service dog; at home, in the park, taking walks...Don't get caught up in the government "permission" zone when figuring out the benefits of a service dog in your life.


Top Tier K9 Definitions:


Protection Dog: A dog that provides a level of security to it's owner as defined by Dr. Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  There are 10 levels of protection associated with a Top Tier K9 protection dog.  Each protection level increases the security level of the owner.

Service dog (Directly from the ADA): dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.


Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.


This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.


Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.

Contact us to learn more

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