Our Services

PK9’s is the only service dog program in our area that provides education and training of service dogs for qualifying veterans/service members at no charge.  Our organization maintains contact with our Veterans throughout the program and beyond through aftercare and wrap-around support.

Working with counselors who are present at training sessions, we help alleviate mental and physical health challenges for Veterans who have Post-traumatic Stress Injury, experienced Military Sexual Trauma, or have Traumatic Brain Injuries. We build upon protective factors through social connection with peers, community immersion, resource coordination, and mental health support for the lifetime of the team.

Our program results in improvements in help-seeking behaviors, develops problem-solving skills, establishes bonds between Veterans, provides referrals for needed services, addresses lagging skill sets that have formed from the root causes of trauma, and builds a sense of purpose. Thus, PK9’s program addresses many of the important components known to mitigate risk factors contributing to the suicide crisis.

How to Qualify

Service Program Details

Paws for Patriots Program

PK9’s is partnering with Redgranite Correctional Institute (RGCI) to train puppies within the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Redgranite Correctional Facility. Puppies are placed within the prison with inmate raisers for one year. Dogs are trained in obedience and started in service dog work.

The dog training programs provide those who are incarcerated with employable skills and help make transitions from incarceration to life outside of prison go more smoothly. Some of these skills attained include social skills, responsibility, time management, problem solving, and conflict management skills. Program involvement also helps boost morale and gives the inmates a sense of purpose and hope; that being successful in small steps can lead to a better life later on.

PK9’s staff provides onsite training with RGCI Staff and Inmates.  The end result is that the veteran in need receives a well-trained Service Dog Prospect that will transform their life for the better.

Boot Camp

Bootcamp is a six-week course for veterans and canines. During this class we train handler and service dog candidates to the skill level of the AKC Canine Good Citizen.  The emphasis for this class is on training the Veteran on basic handling, canine management, and husbandry skills. By the end of Bootcamp, the Team must pass the AKC CGC Test to move on to the Service Dog Training Program.

Service Dog Training Program

PK9’s Service Dog Training Program was developed with the Veteran’s trauma sensitivity and learning needs in mind. The class is designed to train veteran and service dog candidates together for 24 weeks. Tasks covered include the following:  Alerting for Anxiety or Stress – Self Harm Interruption – Deep Pressure Therapy – Nightmare Alert – Medication Reminder – Watching Your Six – Body Blocking – Public Access – ADA Requirements.

PK9’s Service Dog Training Program follows the ASDP’s Service Dog Training Standards by requiring a minimum of 240 hours of basic training with an additional minimum of 60 hours of specific public access training per Team.

Facility Based Instruction

Our facility-based instruction is the first thirteen weeks of the program. This section consists of basic Service Dog etiquette, public access laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act and associated regulations, introduction to dog behavior, training philosophy, training techniques, K9 First Aid, health care for dogs including canine massage, Service Dog in home and work environments, and dog grooming. The class continues with alert/task training development, crowd control behaviors, and deep pressure therapy.

Additionally, we provide a therapist at each class session to maximize the instructional benefits of the coursework and to enlist therapeutic support as needed. For those who struggle with executive function, working memory and short-term memory deficits, we utilize visual, auditory, print, and hands-on training to ensure that each Team’s learning method is reached.

Public Access

Our Public Access portion of the class takes place throughout Marathon County, utilizing its businesses, parks, retail facilities, restaurants, government offices, and public facilities as access sights. We also have active relationships with local mental health therapists, and a presence at local Veteran Resource Fairs, Marathon County Veterans Coalition, and other Veteran centric organizations.

Public access starts on week fourteen with PK9’s Teams visiting two to four public locations per class session. During Public access the trainers and Therapists are present to assist if any needs arise. In week fifteen, PK9 Teams complete the AKC Advanced CGC testing. By week twenty, all teams will have passed the AKC Urban test. PK9’s Teams will periodically meet at the

classroom during this section to continue to refine alerts and task training, all while utilizing these new skills in our public access training. During weeks sixteen through twenty-one we

perfect skills by reviewing and practicing, and on week twenty-two the Public Access Test based on ADI published standards is given. Week twenty-three is for final training and introducing our Aftercare Program. On week twenty-four, our final outing is conducted where we have a celebratory meal together usually at a local restaurant. PK9’s Service Dog Training Program ends with a formal graduation ceremony to formally vest the Service Dogs and congratulate the Teams.

Aftercare Program

At PK9’s we recognize that during group training classes, participants develop strong bonds within each group and these relationships carry over post-graduation, resulting in new friendships between classmates. We also appreciate that once teams graduate, they require continued support throughout the lifetime of their partnership to address challenges which arise within the team. Through our Aftercare Program, we reassess and recertify Service Dog Team skills, perform buddy checks, and informally assess the Veteran’s overall well-being.

PK9’s has a recertification process which occurs at six months post-graduation and every year for the working life of the canine. The recertification consists of meeting at the facility to update paperwork, the canine is temperament tested, and the CGC test is repeated. Trainers also complete and document a wellness check for the canine which addresses grooming, appearance, and weight.

Contact Us

Monday - Friday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday - Sunday: Closed