Service Dog Training

 

Operation Overwatch is a 501(c)3 nonprofit Service Dog training program started by Marine Corps veteran Kennelmaster Sgt Brice Cavanaugh. With a team of skilled trainers and access to clinical therapists, Operation Overwatch offers a Service Dog training and treatment program for veterans and first responders suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or Traumatic Brain Injury as well as mitigating the effects of impaired mobility.

We believe in “Healing at Both Ends of the Leash™”.
We rescue dogs from shelters across the United States and train them to become skilled Service Dogs for veterans and first responders that we refer to as the “Warrior Class”.

*** We have recently opened up our services to those outside of the warrior class as there has been an increased awareness of the effects of PTSD, TBI, etc and how it can affect ANYONE! ***

Success Stories

A large part of our training process is focusing on the relationship and bond between servicemen or servicewomen and their companion. We find that every person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury reacts differently with the help of a Service Dog, so we train your companion to specifically address your needs.

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Elliot and Ace

“Ace’s energy is what drew me to him. He gets me out of the house and gives me the discipline and boundaries that make me feel safe”

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Dallas and Texas

“Texas will keep me moving and busy. She creates that responsibility which gets me up in the morning with a purpose.”

Our Mission

Operation Overwatch is committed to improving the lives of both the rescue dogs we train, and the veterans and first responders who partner with them.

Our founder, Sgt Brice Cavanaugh, has been interviewed by local news outlets regarding his mission, and how he’s helped to save lives, servicemember and canine alike.

Our Program

Dog Rescue

All of the dogs that go through our program are rescued from adoption agencies, shelters, and homes across the United States. We strive to improve the lives of our Service Dogs and find the training process that offers them an environment to thrive in. We are always looking for new recruits to offer a new and improved life.

Service Dog Training Program

We offer two different training tracks, one where we do all of the training of a Service Dog and the other where the individual is involved early in the training process. We suggest a pre-trained Service Dog for people who are limited by time. For anyone who has the time, we strongly suggest taking part in the training process. We set our dogs up with the basic skills needed during our initial training, then work you into both selecting and participating in the final stages of the training. The bond that is created during the training process is crucial and will form a relationship that can immensely help with your healing and treatment.

TBI service Dogs

A Mobility Assistance Service Dog is able to offer a veteran or first responder suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury both emotional and physical support. Our Service Dogs are trained to help with physical and mental needs.

PTSD Service Dogs

A Service Dog trained to aid with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is shown to help with the daily struggles and the development of someone suffering from flashbacks, anxiety, fear of public settings and night tremors, among other symptoms.

Service Dog Matching

We work closely with PTSD and TBI Medical Doctors, therapists and clinicians to find the core pain points and work on how a Service Dog can best fit into a role in your life. Our matching process relies not only on the bond formed between you and your companion but also has an eleven-point selection screening and is truly one of a kind. Our program gives you the structure and relationship that you need to work towards an improved life.

Benefits of our Service Dog Program

The Operation Overwatch Service Dog program is unlike any other in that we truly believe in “Healing at Both Ends of the Leash™”, where we rescue dogs and give them purpose, work and a second chance at life, and we are helping those unselfish heroes that are also in need of assistance and a new chance at getting the most out of life. The bond that is formed in our program will play a crucial role in your healing process. Our program works with you for the long-term goals, ensuring your treatment continues to improve.

Frequently Asked Questions!

Do I have to be a veteran to work with your organization? No, while our primary focus has been veterans and first responders, we have heard the calls from others that have also experienced PTSD, TBI, anxiety, environmental stressors and have needs for mobility assistance.

 

What does it cost? Ultimately we try and get our Service Dogs to recipients for little or no cost, and through our partnerships with various organizations, this is often the reality. The basic cost for a Service Dog from us is $10,000, and can go up to $15,000 if the required tasks are extensive. It is dependent on the amount of time needed to train the dog.

 

What financial assistance do you offer? Depending on your situation, we have several partnerships, grants and assistance options. When we consult with you, we will ask about military service, whether you were a victim of an accident/crime, etc. to see which assistance program you may qualify for.

 

What if I don’t live in Texas? Not a problem! We have international clients! We have several hotels within minutes of our location and training areas, and whether you need to participate in the 2, 4 or 6 week period of instruction, we will get you comfortable with the tools, knowledge and confidence to integrate your Service Dog into your lifestyle before you leave us. On some occasions, we will deliver the dog to you, so that we can help you with location specific tasks (light switches in your home, home environment, etc.). Often times we do follow up training with clients in their home whether they received their dog from our location or we delivered it.

 

What can a Service Dog do to help me? All behaviors that we train the dog to do are based on your individual symptomology. People are different, as are their needs. Anywhere from emotional balance, bracing, mobility assistance needs, prosthetic retrieval, activating light switches, etc. Dogs can serve a multitude of needs!

 

How long before I receive a Service Dog? The factors that dictate this are finding the appropriate dog, how extensive the list of required tasks are, how much of the training we are personally doing etc. As of May 2018, the waiting list is about three months, as we have dogs in training waiting to be paired up with their new handler and trained to that specific person.

 

Can I be specific with the sex or breed of my Service Dog? We try to accommodate this request as much as possible. The more specific the request, the longer it can take to find the right dog.

 

What is the process for obtaining a dog through Operation Overwatch? First, you fill out an application form, and then upon receipt of that, we will set up an initial phone call so we can get a more precise idea of how we can help you. Then, we get the financial pieces in place, and begin looking for and then training your new best friend! After basic obedience and personalized tasks are mastered, then we pair you and your partner together so that you can start the rapport building, basic training and symptom mitigating training that is needed. Upon completion of training, a certification of training, ID card, veterinarian records, Service Dog vest and equipment are issued and you take your first steps back home to your new life!

 

Can you train a dog I already own? We certainly can after we have evaluated the dog for social and environmental stability, nerves and temperament.

 

What age does my canine have to be to begin the training? Proper training of any dog start early! While a puppy is typically not certified as a Service Dog until an age of maturity is reached and specific skills are mastered, the foundation for proper socialization, the concepts of learning, environmental awareness and many other life skills can start right away. Ask about our Puppy Preschool program!

We Can Help
A companion gives a new outlook on life.
Contact Operation Overwatch for help now.