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Frequently asked questions: Social Dogs

How much does it cost to train a social dog?

No charge is made for training dogs that are already at the school, as the foundation assumes the costs.

For other dogs, starting 1.1.2016 training costs CHF 1'100, including documentation and follow-on support.

Are all breeds of dog suitable?

Yes, the animal itself and its character is important, not the breed.

The dog must have an open and friendly nature and be comfortable approaching strangers.

Dogs are not accepted if they exhibit any type of aggression towards people and animals.

Can foreign dogs also be considered for training?

Yes, we are open to all breeds.

How old should the dog be to be considered for training?

The dog should be at least 2 years of age but not older than 7.

Where does training take place?

A training course is held each year in Basle.

However, training courses can also be held at regional centres if there is sufficient interest. Regular training regions are: Aargau, Bern, Zurich, Lucerne and Valais.

How long does training last?

Training lasts 8 months and comprises:

½ day entry test, 8 training days, 1 theory day, ½ day final examination.

The course commences in February of each year and finishes in the October of the same year.

Who decides where a social dog is to be deployed?

The dog handlers themselves decide where and in which area (schools, special needs schools, care homes, psychiatry…) the dogs should be deployed. However, they can also call upon our support for this decision.

Where can social dogs be deployed?

In different institutions and with private individuals.

For instance:

  • Retirement and care homes
  • Medical support at home
  • Palliative care
  • Hospitals
  • Psychiatric institutions
  • Special needs schools
  • Kindergartens and schools
  • Therapeutic residential units
  • Prisons

How is a visit structured?

Visits can be organised in very different ways.

Depending upon the individual, a visit may be a very calm affair involving a lot of tender affection, or very active, with games and/or walks.

How often should/can/may a social dog be deployed.

As a rule, a social dog team is deployed for approx. 30 - 60 minutes, once or twice per week.

A dog is an emotional, social and sensitive creature that cannot work for hours on end.

Can the social dog be deployed in different places?

Yes. A social dog can just as easily be deployed in an old people’s home as in an establishment with children.

How do people benefit from a visit from a social dog?

Apart from the pleasure and a change in the everyday routine, they get a feeling of being important and needed. In addition, the social dog encourages their willingness to communicate, promotes self-confidence, improves the fine and gross motor skills and generally activates the vital functions.

How do you recognise a social dog?

When the social dog is working it can be identified by a scarf or a saddle pad.

Who should an institution contact if they would like a visit from a social dog?

They can contact the person responsible for social dogs at Allschwil.

Do social dogs also visit schools or kindergartens that are not catering for disabled children?

Yes. In schools, social dogs help to maintain an atmosphere of calm in the playground or during specific lessons (sports, handicrafts ...).

In kindergartens and junior schools, children are taught how to behave with the dog.

What should you bear in mind when you meet a social dog?

Take care not to distract the dog from its job. Dog owners should not let their own dogs approach the social dog.