Barking puppy - future service dog

Autism and Service Dogs

When a diagnosis of Autism comes to your family, your entire world changes.  Hopes and dreams have to be rearranged.  New schedules and family activities seem too revolved around the autistic child.  Often social isolation becomes as crippling as the financial burden of a special needs child.  Therapies can be slow and frustrating. One begins to wonder that if there are 1 in every 90 children diagnosed with Autism, how the people and our health care system can be so limited? 

Wilderwood understands these struggles.  We have been on the cutting edge of medical and mental health treatment for autism for the past 10 years.  Our President is a psychiatric nurse practicing in the mental health arena and has been involved in nearly all known treatment modalities for Spectrum Disorders.  Our dogs are highly specialized for Spectrum disorder diagnosis.  Almost all service dog programs that advertise “autism service dogs” are actually “add on” programs from the original service dog skill set.  Many are not fully aware of the unique laws and skills autism needs.  We are the only service dog organization that has the medical and canine training background to fully address your families needs and we do not just provide a well trained pet.  

AutismIt is through this experience that the heart of Wilderwood provides service dogs especially trained to manage the symptoms of Autism.  It has been our experience that nothing compares to the social and mental change of an autistic child once placed with a service dog.  We have seen mutes speak, self stemming behaviors stop, the safety of the child maintained at all times and the tired parents sleep soundly for the first night since the diagnosis. Above you will find links to research articles, news stories and footage that will guide you and show you the life changing ability of these amazing animals.  We encourage you to find out as much as possible about this option for your family and to contact us at anytime for questions.  Wilderwood truly believes that freedom lies in the love of a dog.

Boy and his dogFor the Love of a Dog

We specialize in providing service dogs specifically trained to handle the challenges of Spectrum Disorders and other neurological impairments.  Our dogs are able to be a constant companion with your child.  They are allowed in schools, day cares, therapies and any other place your child may venture.  Below is a list of some common symptoms of Spectrum Disorders and how our dogs provide a valuable resource in managing and changing the life of such special children.

How Our Service Dogs are Trained to Respond
Symptom Service Dog Response
Impulsive Running Will Retrieve Child To Parent
PICA Will Interrupt Behavior
Self Stimulation Will Physically Interrupt Behavior
Self Harming Will Interrupt Behavior
Mood Swings Will Crawl Onto Lap and Calm Child
Night Awakenings Will Alert Parents By Barking
Non-Verbal Enhances Verbal Skills By Using Commands
Social Isolation Focus Shifts To Dog
Autistic Child with her Service Dog

What Now?

  1. The first step to applying is to fill out our short on-line form and submit. For a complete version of our application and contract, pleae download our child or adult forms. Adobe pdf files
  2. Once the on-line application is reviewed by Wilderwood, you will receive a follow-up phone call for an interview.
  3. Once the interview is complete, you will fill out the Wilderwood Service Dog contract and mail this to us.
  4. Finally, once your application is accepted, Wilderwood will begin training your specialized service dog and you will begin working through ongoing materials and activities provided by Wilderwood.

Cute service dogIf any questions arise during the application process, please feel free to e-mail us at


We are a non-profit organization dedicated to our mission of providing the best and most affordable neurological impairment service dogs on the market.  Wilderwood’s cost per dog is $12,500. 

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