About Ry-Con Briards

Ry-Con Service Dogs is located in Apex, North Carolina, just 15 miles outside of Raleigh. We focus on training dogs for Service roles for children and adults with special needs.

Why We are Different at Ry-Con Service Dogs, a message from Mark…

I was first introduced to the world of Autism when my youngest son, Ryan, was diagnosed at age 2.  Since then, like many parents, I have struggled to find the right balance for Ryan including everything from the food he likes to his environment and his education.  What became clear early on is how different children with autism perceive the outside world.  They have their own special filter to determine how they will respond to stimuli and as a parent or caregiver, you are often left with very few options to intervene or talk down a particularly stressful moment.  The introduction of a Service Dog is the necessary bridge that allows the child with Autism to interact with a friend that doesn’t scold them, isn’t confused, and simply wants to breathe the same air with them every hour of every day.  For children who have a tendency to isolate, this is a wonderful buddy to stay by their side.  For those who tend to wander or become distracted, this is a little piece of their world that can travel with them everywhere they go.  For our family and many others like us, we have found great support, strength and most important companionship in Ryan’s service dog.  So much so that we decided to invest in selecting, training and placing dogs with other families.

One of the major difference in our organization is that we start with the disability in selecting a dog.  Autism, and other neurologically based disabilities, are unique in that they do not require the same kind of mechanical service that many traditional Service Dog organizations provide.  This is why we believe there are so many returns and failures of these type programs that simply use a one-size fits all approach.  We believe a dog from the herding group, one that is intelligent and kind but jealousy attentive to their charge, is the right selection.  We have chosen the Briard breed for this special role.  They not only have the smarts, they have the tactile sensation from their double non-molting coat and the ‘walking teddy bear’ appearance that is like a comforting tractor beam to any child that encounters her.  By knowing the breed, and knowing the disability, we can best set up the family and the dog for success.

Another primary difference in our program is that we don’t believe that families should have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to be considered for a Service Dog.  Organizations that charge 25K-30K or simply tell you that you need but pay half (a common sales technique) are using supply and demand to their favor.  A dog has a limited life expectancy and to think that a family could make an investment of that magnitude is simply not realistic.  At Ry-Con Service Dogs, our fees for training and the cost of the dog itself run roughly a third to half of most major organizations that claim to provide the same service.  The difference is that we select the puppy for the child, train the dog specific to that child’s needs, and provide lifetime support of the dog from the moment it comes into our care to the time it is fully integrated into the home to the day it retires.

By keeping our focus on the specific skillset needed for neurological based disabilities like Autism and PTSD, we here at Ry-Con Service Dogs can safely provide a guarantee of success and trusted companionship for the life of your dog.

In 2013, Mark was certified as a NC state approved Service Dog Trainer with a specialty in Autism Service Dogs for children. In addition to other volunteer and training opportunities, Ry-Con plans on several new services dogs this year.