Every dog is carefully tested and selected by Sheila Slezak for the individualized needs of each Veteran. Each pairing is unique.
Once selected, the dog enters the first phase of training. Upon completion of phase one, the dog has a minimum of 400 hours of training when it enters the second phase. Once the first two phases of training are complete, making certain the dog does not bond with any of the trainers, the dog then enters the third phase of training. Once all training phases are complete the Veteran must go to the training "compound" to complete one-on-one training with their service dog.
There are hundreds of hours of training put into each dog before the Veteran arrives for his personal training.
If the Veteran suffers from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) or loss of limb/amputation, there is additional training that must be completed before the service dog and the Veteran are allowed to leave the compound together. If there are other special needs, they must be addressed and conquered with the service dog and the Veteran.
After training, there is fine tuning which is always required. This is not a one time service dog gift to the Veteran. This is a brotherhood that bonds all Dog 4 Warriors Inc staff, led by Sheila Slezak, and all the Veterans.
The support groups, therapy, family groups and volunteer groups are all carefully vetted, and these are safe places to discuss the problems and victories of each Veteran waiting for a service dog, and each Veteran who has already been paired. There is never a charge for anything. We are a tightly knit brotherhood, and leaving a combat Veteran behind is not an option.