Support Dog Training

K9 Support Dog Training Protocol

For puppies 4 months or younger:

Complete OLK9 Central MN’s Puppy Consultation to learn best practices for socialization, housebreaking, crate training and confidence building. Start Basic Obedience Training once puppy reaches 5 months of age.


For adult dogs and puppies 5 months or older:

1) Meet with OLK9 Central MN to evaluate dog and assess as candidate for program.

2) OLK9 Central MN will complete 6 in-home lessons to accomplish the following:

  • Basic Obedience training including Sit (and stay), Place (and stay), Loose Leash Heel, and Down (and stay)
  • Resolve common behavior concerns such as jumping on people, jumping on counters, excessive barking, mouthing, etc.
  • Attempt to address less common behavior concerns, such as socialization, housebreaking concerns, crate training and confidence building.
  • Obedience and general requirements to pass the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test.
  • Final lesson may include a practice CGC Test.

3) Practice at home in preparation for CGC Test.

4) Complete the CGC Test, administered by OLK9 Central MN.

The CGC test includes:

  • Sitting Politely for Petting - The dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler. The dog will allow a friendly stranger to pet it while it is out with its handler.
  • Appearance and Grooming - The dog will permit someone to check its ears and front feet, as a groomer or veterinarian would do.
  • Out for a Walk (walking on a loose lead) - Following the evaluator’s instructions, the dog will walk on a loose lead (with the handler/owner).
  • Walking Through a Crowd - This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three).
  • Sit and Down on Command and Staying in Place - The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay.
  • Coming When Called - This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler (from 10 feet on a leash).
  • Reaction to Another Dog - This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries.
  • Reaction to Distraction - The evaluator will select and present two distractions such as dropping a chair, etc.
  • Supervised Separation - This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright").
  • For more information, see: http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/training/canine-good-citizen/training-testing/

5) Agree to the AKC’s CGC Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge:

I will be responsible for my dog's health needs. These include:

  • routine veterinary care including check-ups and vaccines
  • adequate nutrition through proper diet; clean water at all times
  • daily exercise and regular bathing and grooming

I will be responsible for my dog's safety.

  • I will properly control my dog by providing fencing where appropriate, not letting my dog run loose, and using a leash in public.
  • I will ensure that my dog has some form of identification when appropriate (which may include collar tags, tattoos, or microchip ID).
  • I will provide adequate supervision when my dog and children are together.

I will not allow my dog to infringe on the rights of others.

  • I will not allow my dog to run loose in the neighborhood.
  • I will not allow my dog to be a nuisance to others by barking while in the yard, in a hotel room, etc.
  • I will pick up and properly dispose of my dog's waste in all public areas such as on the grounds of hotels, on sidewalks, parks, etc.
  • I will pick up and properly dispose of my dog's waste in wilderness areas, on hiking trails, campgrounds and in off-leash parks.

I will be responsible for my dog's quality of life.

  • I understand that basic training is beneficial to all dogs.
  • I will give my dog attention and playtime.
  • I understand that owning a dog is a commitment in time and caring.

6) Complete the CGC Processing paperwork, submit to the AKC.

  • Option 1: CGC as a Title. The processing fee is $20. You will receive the CGC certificate, you may use the suffix "CGC" after the dog's name, and CGC will be added to the dog's title record. The dog must be registered or listed with AKC (an AKC number, PAL, or AKC Canine Partners)
  • Option 2: CGC certificate only. The processing fee is $8. CGC will not be added to the dog's title record.

7) Determine Additional Training Goals for Dog:

  • Emotional Support Animal (ESA) – companion animal which provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. ESAs cannot be discriminated against in housing, even when a “no pet” policy is in place. They are not allowed to accompany their handler to stores or restaurants where pets are not generally allowed.


1) In order to qualify for an ESA, the applicant must have a verifiable disability.

2) To be afforded protection under United States federal law, the applicant must have a note from a physician or other medical professional stating that the person has that disability and that the emotional support animal provides a benefit for the individual with the disability.

3) The applicant must provide a copy of this note to the organization to maintain on file.

4) The applicant must complete the prescribed training with their pet and pass the CGC Test. If the pet is already trained, they must pass the CGC Test.

K9s From Carrie works with Jesse Makela and K9 Off-Leash Training to train all of our emotional support dogs.  Jesse started training dogs 10 years ago when he enlisted into the Marine Corps. After completing basic K9 training, he was selected for Specialized Search Dog training (SSD). He completed two combat tours to Iraq with his SSD searching for explosives and weapons. Jesse fell in love with the training side of SSD and has worked closely with trainers from all walks of life, learning and technique applications. After his enlistment, he trained dogs for local and federal law enforcement agencies and trained selected handlers to utilize their new partner in real world situations. He is now an owner of K9 Off-Leash Training.

"Partnering with K9s from Carrie is an honor. Every day I get asked how I have handled PTSD and Combat Stress from deployments. My answer is simple--DOGS! Training dogs has kept me grounded. Now sharing this amazing feeling with others, and watching their lives change in front of my eyes is the most rewarding experience ever." ~ Jesse Makela