Many people of all ages may experience challenges related to their mobility, and 4 Paws for Ability primarily focuses on placements with children and veterans. Individuals may use a wheelchair, gait trainer, or otherwise have trouble ambulating. Sometimes they may need assistance only in certain areas such as new places with unfamiliar surfaces or after having a seizure. A Mobility Assistance Dog can be trained to do a variety of tasks, and which ones are dependent on whether the partner will be handling the service dog independently (Two Unit Team: Service Dog and Partner) or will need assistance (Three Unit Team: Service Dog, Partner and Parent/Handler).
Two Unit Team
In an situation where the partner is able to physically manage the service dog and make correct choices for the team in public and at home, they may receive a Two Unit Team certification through the Placement Training Class. Typically this is the case for children who are teenagers and not intellectually disabled or veterans.
Three Unit Team
In the majority of placements, the service dogs are placed with a three unit team certification which means that due to the partner’s age and/or disability support from a parent or other trained adult is required. In these case, the parent or trained adult has learned how to use the service dog as a tool to assist the partner. Due to the nature of handling in which the parent is present holding the leash and giving commands, not all trained tasks are needed. This symbol notates mobility skills that 4 Paws will train with a three unit team certification