Little Angels is offering a series of 2-day and 1-day seminars, which are designed for those
who wish to train their own service dog, or to train a dog for a friend or family member.
SEMINAR DATES AND LOCATIONS WILL BE LISTED
AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE
Certification is granted to the handler/dog teams who attend all 3 seminars, over a period of
6 months or longer, and successfully pass the written test and field test demonstrating their
ability to work safely in a public setting, with the dog mitigating the disabilities of the
handler/recipient. Participants also have the opportunity to attend field trips with their dogs
into public settings under the guidance of one of our instructors. Click here for more
information on Field Trips
Participants should wait at least 2 months between each seminar to allow adequate time to
work with their dog on the material covered. Seminars are designed to instruct with a variety
of learning methods to best assist each participant. Seminars include lecture, video,
demonstration, reading, testing, small groups, open discussion, hands-on practice, and
Little Angels Service Dogs is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Seminars have an associated
fee, which covers costs associated with the rental of the meeting spaces and hotels, travel
and lodging of trainers and speakers, and private bus transportation when needed for public
access visits in Seminar 3. The individual travel and lodging expenses are the responsibility
of each participant/family. Additional family members may attend at a discounted rate.
Many would like to receive private instruction to assist with the training of their own service dog, as opposed to
receiving group instruction through our seminars, or by receiving a dog already completely trained for them.
Unfortunately, there are many private trainers who take advantage of the fact that there is a high monetary value
attached to service dogs, and the fact that many are desperate to receive the help they can offer. Many people are
hindered by dogs who are not fully trained, and by those trainers who charge exorbitant fees, preying on those who
would pay anything to help a sick family member or those who so desperately need the assistance. Before hiring a
private trainer complete a background check, or seek referral from an accredited organization you trust, and always be
sure to ask for a written contract regarding your training arrangements with the private trainer. Little Angels Service
Dogs does not offer private lessons or instruction, however, we can refer you to private trainers in the San Diego area
who are familiar with the training of service dogs and have similar standards to that of our organization.
The following trainer assists through private lessons or boarding school.
Applicants have a right to be considered regardless of sex, race, religion or creed.
Two years ago, at the age of 36, I was diagnosed with Epilepsy. My first reaction was
anger. Extreme anger. As a working mother of two, married to a cop, I didn’t have time for
this! My seizures-both simple-partial and tonic clonic- occur mainly in the late evening or
at night; not at all convenient with my husband working Law Enforcement shifts! Lights-
and-sirens trips to the ER in an ambulance became common. My life—and worse, the
life of my family,-- went into a tailspin.
My seizures meant I couldn’t be left alone after 3 in the afternoon. I couldn’t drive. My
children were always worried I would ‘drop’. Although I continued my job of teaching
Advanced Placement high school classes, I taught under the constant fear that a seizure
would interrupt the day’s lesson. And, as a strong and independent woman, I suddenly felt
crippled. I couldn’t go on the long distance runs I so love. I couldn’t even take an
unsupervised bath! (That last one really stung; a bath—with the whole works of candles
and bubbles and soft music is my go-to Mommy relaxation method. Having my husband
‘supervise’ me pretty much ruined the entire vibe.) The lack of independence chafed and
the amount of wife-and-mommy-guilt was suffocating.
We moved closer into town so that friends and family could help. My amazing husband
left his job as a cop and took a financial advisor position that allows him to be home at
night. My wonderful doctors at the Stanford Epilepsy Clinic prescribed medication that
reduced the frequency and severity of my seizures. My daughters learned how to
recognize a seizure and whom to call. I changed my diet, gave up baths and took up
yoga. In short, we ‘worked the problem’.
But, like so many people living with Epilepsy, I wanted more. I wanted the independence
to live my life without the fear of a seizure clouding every moment. More importantly, I
wanted to just be a wife, a mother, and a teacher without everyone constantly worrying
about my health. My research led me to seizure-alert dogs, which led me to Little Angels
Service Dogs. Here was the answer to all of our prayers! After communicating with Little
Angels, my husband and I decided to take the self-training seminars. Although we were a
bit nervous (I’ve had dogs all my life, but never trained any of them to do much more than
sit and not chew on my shoes), we felt confident after seminar 1 that, with Little Angels’
support, we could do this!
We began our search by contacting all of the local shelters and explaining what we were
looking for. After two weeks, the Humane Society called: they had an 18 month old
chocolate lab whom they thought would be perfect. Our whole family—my husband, our
two daughters, and our feisty miniature schnauzer, went to the shelter. Two hours later, we
brought Dante—a gorgeous chocolate lab who temperament tested very well—home. We
began training immediately, following the Little Angel’s Training Guide.
It was surprisingly easy. It takes a lot of time, discipline, patience, and a healthy sense of
humor to train him and keep him trained. I emailed A LOT of questions to Little Angels,
joined a local doggy obedience group, and worked with the local K9 cops. Primarily, I
was the one who had to be trained as a handler! Once I understood MY job, Dante pretty
much breathed a big doggy sigh of ‘finally’ and settled right into his new life as my
Now, 6 months later, Dante is my full service dog. He accompanies us to all of our
activities, which means he attends lots of gymnastics meets, dance competitions, and
family get-togethers. More importantly, he watches over me when my husband isn’t there
to ‘alert’ me to my early seizure activity. He performs his full sequence of tasks: pawing at
me to alert me to a seizure about 10-15 minutes before the seizure occurs. He then
“braces” so that I can get down to the floor (vital for those of us with tonic-clonic seizures as
falls are extremely dangerous). Finally, he brings me my emergency pack with my
medication and a pre-paid cell phone to call my husband. Then Dante lays on my lap to
apply deep pressure therapy. And he does all of this consistently. Although he weighs in
at a solid 95 pounds, Dante truly is my “Little Angel”.
I am so thankful for Little Angels Service Dogs! Our lives have returned to ‘normal’; a
new, improved, wonderful normal! While the seizure activity remains, the constant fear
and worry of an impending seizure is gone. I can do all of the things with my family and
job that I love; I’m free to be the wife, mother, teacher, and friend whom I want to be! And, I
have my independence back. Yesterday, Dante and I went for a five mile run. Alone.
And then I took a bath. A long, glorious, candle scented, kid-and-husband-free bath while
Dante kept watch on the floor by the tub. Heaven.