Frequently Asked Questions

What does it cost to get a service dog?

The cost of the service dog to a veteran is free. We will also provide vests, training equipment, kennels, food and veterinary costs if the veteran is in need.

If I am not a veteran, can I pay you to train a service dog for me?

K9s For Camo does not train service dogs for the public. If you would like a trained service dog, you can contact Howliday Inn Pet Resort and discuss your needs.

What's the hardest task to teach a service dog?

All training consists of a lot of repetition and reinforcement and times can vary. Diabetic alert training takes the longest, due to all the variables involved. Read more about the tasks service dogs perform.

How long does it take to train a service dog?

Training time varies with each dog, as well as the scope and degree of difficulty of the complement of tasks needed to support a specific veteran. Advanced tasks, i.e. diabetic alert, can take much longer than some of the more basic tasks. On average, our K9s train for 6 months before being paired with their veteran. Once matched, the veteran/K9 team continue training classes for several weeks to learn to work as a team and hone task skills. Learn more about the training process.

How many of the dogs make it all the way through training?

Approximately 75% of dogs who begin K9 Boot Camp training at the Ozark Correctional Center complete the program. We are constantly testing service dogs candidates; of the dogs we evaluate, only about 10% are admitted to K9 Boot Camp.

What happens to the dogs who are rejected from training?

We place dogs rejected from training in homes or return them to the rescue group from which they came. The rescue groups with which we work are “no-kill” shelters that use fosters who help place the dogs as well. The shelter dogs receive some obedience training and socialization work even as they are evaluated, which increases their likelihood of being adopted quickly. Those who are rejected later in the training process are usually highly desirable candidates for adoption.

What happens to service dogs when they retire?

Most veterans choose to keep their retired service dogs as pets when they retire. If not, or they are unable to for other reasons, we help find a forever home for the K9 to enjoy retirement.

Can any breed of dog be trained as a service dog?

We use all breeds – we are not breed specific. We look for a special temperament and personality for our program, and can find that in any breed.

What is the difference between service dogs, therapy dogs and emotional support animals?

Service dogs are trained to perform tasks to support their human partner and are granted access and privileges by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therapy dogs and emotional support animals (ESAs) are not covered by the ADA and do not have the same access and privileges as service dogs. Therapy dogs help other people. They go to schools, hospitals, etc., to cheer people up. ESA”s must be prescribed by a licensed medical professional and support their human via their companionship and comfort. Read more information about service dogs, therapy dogs and ESAs.

What happens to the dog if something were to happen to the veteran owner or the veteran can't keep the service dog?

If the veteran cannot keep the service dog, we will take the dog back and retrain the K9 to team with another veteran. If something happens to the veteran, the veteran’s family may choose to have the K9 remain with them – we do not want to separate families. If not, depending on the dog’s age, we will either retrain the K9 to team with another veteran, or find a forever home for retirement.

What is the best age at which to train a service dog?

We like to start training with dogs who are between the ages of 6 months and 3 years.

Do all the service dogs learn the same tasks?

All the dogs are trained on a core set of tasks and obedience skills. As we identify which veteran the K9 will best match, we transition the task training of the K9 to fit the specific needs of the veteran. Read more about the tasks our K9s learn to perform.

Can a veteran use their family pet to become a service dog?

We prefer to choose the dogs we train to ensure they have the correct temperament and aptitudes, maximizing the likelihood of success as a service dog. It is very rare that we train a family pet as a service dog. We can evaluate a family pet, but at the very minimum, they cannot display any of the following: aggression, fear, separation anxiety, issues with other dogs, extreme pulling on the leash, jumping on people or over-excitability. Also, a dog who is used to being a pet may have difficulty transitioning to being “on duty” as a service dog.

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Liberty Magill

Liberty is an Alaskan Malamute who was brought to our program by his veteran. Liberty started training as a puppy and has passed all classes with flying colors. He is task trained to bring his veteran his cane, if needed, and pick other items up off the ground and bring them to his veteran. He also is trained for mobility assistance and to help his veteran up if he falls down.

Serve proudly, Liberty! 

Lilly

Lilly is a black lab who was brought into the program by her veteran. She started the program as a puppy. This K9 and veteran team have passed their AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests. Lilly is trained to help with PTSD and is beginning to alert for blood sugar levels as well. She will post or block in public if her handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Lilly has been to college classes with her veteran and they both walked the stage together at graduation as her veteran received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Serve proudly, Lilly!

Jazzy

Jazzy is a Collie Mix who was brought into the program by her veteran. This K9 and veteran team have passed their AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests. Jazzy is trained to help her Vietnam veteran with mobility and stability and to help him keep from falling. She is task-trained to pause or stop when he approaches ramps or small changes in ground elevation that her veteran may not notice, alerting him and helping him navigate the terrain.

Serve proudly, Jazzy!

Liberty Evans

Liberty is a black lab  who was adopted from HFLCS Canine and Feline Rescue in Buffalo, Missouri. She was then adopted by K9s For Camo to become a seizure blocking dog for a Navy veteran; she cushions and comforts our veteran if she has a seizure, then finds and alerts our veteran’s husband. Liberty is also trained to help with PTSD: she has the ability to pick up and retrieve items, and turn lights on and off. She will post or block in public if her handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between herself and other people. Liberty trained at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at the Ozark Correctional Center. She has passed her AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests.

Serve proudly, Liberty!

Tank

Tank is a Shar Pei Ridgeback mix who was adopted from Valley Hills Rescue in Springfield, Missouri. Valley Hills adopted him the day before he was due to be put to death. He was then adopted by K9s For Camo. Tank is task trained to pick up and bring medicine, turn on lights, open doors and assist with mobility. He is also trained to help mitigate the effects of PTSD. He will post or block in public if his handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Tank trained at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at the Ozark Correctional Center. He has passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests. He is currently serving well and proud!

Serve proudly, Tank!

Beretta

Beretta was rescued from death row due to having a condition that didn't allow her to open her eyes. She had inverted eyelids and could not see. Valley Hills Rescue rescued her and we adopted her from Valley Hills. After she had surgery to correct her eyes, she was task trained to retrieve, post, block, cover and alert her veteran if someone is walking up behind him. She is also trained to help her veteran mitigate the effects of PTSD.

Serve proudly, Beretta! 

Cheyenne

Cheyenne is a hound mix who was adopted from HFLCS Canine and Feline Rescue in Buffalo, Missouri. She was then adopted by K9s For Camo to become an alert dog for a veteran with narcolepsy. Cheyenne is trained to wake her veteran if he falls asleep and will alert him if he begins to blackout while walking, preventing him from falling. She is also trained for PTSD and will post or block in public if his handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Cheyenne trained at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at the Ozark Correctional Center. She has passed her AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests.

Serve proudly, Cheyenne!

Thistle May

Thistle was rescued from the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri. He started out in the Puppy for Parole program at Ozark Correctional Facility. We saw a lot of promise in him, so we transferred him to the K9s For Camo program. He is task trained to retrieve, post, block, cover and alert his veteran if someone is walking up behind him. He is also task trained to help his veteran mitigate the effects of PTSD.

Serve proudly, Thistle!

Moose

Moose is a blood hound mix who was adopted from Valley Hills Rescue in Springfield, Missouri. Valley Hills adopted him just a few days before he would have been put to death. He was then adopted by K9s For Camo to become a stability dog for a Vietnam veteran. Moose is also trained to help with PTSD. He will post or block in public if his handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Moose did training at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at the Ozark Correctional Center. He has passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests.

Serve proudly, Moose!

Chase

Chase is an American Bulldog mix who was adopted from Valley Hills Rescue in Springfield, MO. Valley Hills adopted him the day before he was supposed to be euthanized. He was then adopted by K9s For Camo. Chase has been trained to pick up and bring medicine, turn on lights and open doors. He is also trained to help mitigate effects of PTSD. He will post or block in public if his handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Chase trained at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at Ozark Correctional Center. He has passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification test and is fully task trained. He will currently finishing his advanced classes with his Veteran. 

Serve proudly Chase!

Annie

Annie is a black lab mix who was adopted from HFLCS in Buffalo MO. She was then adopted by K9s For Camo to become a battle buddy for one of our returning heroes. Annie is also trained to help with PTSD; she has the ability to pick up items, turn lights on and off, and will bring her leash and other items to her veteran, who is in a mobility chair. She will post or block in public if her handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Annie trained at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at Ozark Correctional Center. She has passed her AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests.

Serve proudly, Annie!

Opha Mae

Opha Mae was named after the first ever female Marine. She was rescued from Valley Hills Rescue. She has been task trained for PTSD and will start her training for diabetic alert in the upcoming months!

Serve proudly, Opha Mae!

Mytchal

Mytchal is a German Shepherd who was brought into our program by his veteran. He is being  trained to help mitigate the effects PTSD. He will post or block in public if his handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between herself and other people. 

Mytchal is serving proudly!

Calypso

Calypso is a German Shepherd brought to the program by his veteran. She has been task trained to help mitigate the effects of PTSD and is in training to help with mobility, balance, and picking up items for her vet.

Serve proudly, Calypso! 

Remington

Remington was rescued from Valley Hills Rescue.  He is task trained to retrieve, post, block, cover and alert his veteran if someone is walking up behind him. He is also task trained to help his veteran mitigate the effects of PTSD.

Serve proudly, Remington! 

Sasha

Sasha was rescued from the Humane Society.  She is task trained to retrieve, post, block, cover and alert her veteran if someone is walking up behind him. She is also task trained to help her veteran mitigate the effects of PTSD.

Serve proudly, Sasha! 

Avalanche

Avalanche was rescued from HFLCS Rescue. He is trained to help with mitigating the effects of PTSD and also for balance and stability. 

Serve proudly, Avalanche!