Alberta government changes rules for service dog training, provides funding

By on April 1, 2017


Changes are coming to open up the training of service dogs in Alberta. (Photo: State Farm/Flickr)
Changes are coming to open up the training of service dogs in Alberta. (Photo: State Farm/Flickr)

EDMONTON — Changes are coming to open up the training of service dogs in Alberta.

A six-month project will see regulations relaxed to allow more organizations to do the training.

In addition, $250,000 for that training will be provided to six groups.

The province says the goal is to reduce wait lists that have grown substantially in the last few years.

Social Services Minister Irfan Sabir says the group will have to match the standards that are used by Assistance Dogs International schools.

Toby Ramsden, president of Dogs with Wings, says he’s glad to see Alberta is bringing in regulations to ensure standards.

“Down in the States they have no regulations,” he says. “So you have people showing up at an airport with a duck under their arm saying, `I need this duck because of my anxiety or PTSD or whatever.’ And they have to allow them on the aircraft.”

Ramsden says the regulations will also help match people who need the service, and weed out those who think they do but don’t. It’ll also eliminate breeds of dogs that aren’t suited for the work, like pitbulls.