Service Dog Training & Certification

K-9 Companions Nashville specializes in service dog training and certification for veterans with PTSD, TBI, and MST.

We work with several non-profit funding agencies who may help with funding for qualified veterans, and families with children with disabilities. We also specialize in training service dogs for children with autism, and many other disabilities. Service dogs require a doctor's note. Service dogs are trained to do a minimum of three tasks for their handlers that they cannot do for themselves. This is what separates a service dog from an ESA (emotional support animal) who provides comfort by just being with the handlers.

service dog graduating and certifications

Courses For Your Dog

A “Therapy Dog” is a dog trained to serve other

At K-9 Companions Dog Training, we specialize in training for clients with disabilities such as veterans with PTSD or TBI, as well as mobility issues. Dogs can be taught many various behaviors, depending on the client’s needs. Examples of behaviors taught are:

  • Opening doors, drawers, and refrigerators
  • Retrieving specific objects (DVD’s, keys, remotes, etc.)
  • Retrieving dropped articles
  • Turning on or off lights
  • Alert toward danger, doorbell, or telephone
  • Circle and blocking for personal space
  • Watching behind the handler with passive alert
  • Medication alert
  • Balance assistance
  • Interrupting anxiety
  • Applying deep pressure
  • Walking slow to lead
  • Carrying objects

Clients’ personal dogs can be utilized if they qualify for temperament and training ability. Service dogs must not be aggressive and must have sound nerves and be in good health. To be successful we must also have a client/handler that is mentally, physically, and emotionally capable of being our training partner in the process.


Service Dog Training Criteria

  • 1. We require a letter from a licensed physician or psychiatrist prior to training a Service Dog. Please do not inquire about training a Service Dog if you simply want to be able to take your pet dog into places that otherwise would not allow him. This is an ABSOLUTE requirement.

  • 2. The applicant must have the proper dog to do the work. The dog must not be overly fearful or aggressive to humans or other dogs. If the applicant’s dog does not pass the temperament test a new dog will be a requirement. At this point the applicant may choose to either go with an NPO for the purchase of an already trained dog or choose to continue with a donated, rescued, or purchased dog at his/her discretion.

  • 3. We only certify dogs that we train in the following:
    Level 1: On leash obedience problem solving and manners
    Level 2: Off leash obedience problem solving and manners, CGC testing,
    Level 3: Minimum of 3 behaviors taught that can help the owner (that the owner cannot do for themselves)
    Level 4: Public Access Training (walking next to a shopping cart, going under tables in restaurants etc)

  • 4. The dog must pass a CGC (Canine Good Citizen) test. This test is available at the facility but must be conducted with the owner of the dog as the handler.

  • 5. The dog must prove to be good in public. It must not be aggressive to dogs or humans, must stay by the owners side without being a nuisance, and must follow commands without need of forceful correction. The dog should be able to navigate through crowds of people, in and out of doorways, and calmly lay down next to or under a table as appropriate.

Videos of Dog Commands

Brace Command: This command helps someone who is unsteady on their feet
Pressure Command: This command is used to ground a person in a stressful situation such as a doctors visit
Lights Command: This command is used for people who don’t like to enter dark rooms or want the lights turned on after a night terror
Nudge: Is a silent command where the dog is taught to look for a “tell” of handler anxiety (as seen here with the scratching) and interrupt it by pawing at the owner. This can be done with the owner sitting, standing, or laying down

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