Based on years of experience, Can Do Canines has developed the following process to partner the right Assistance Dog to each qualifying Applicant.
The first step is to fill out and submit an application. Applications can be downloaded or requested here. Complete the forms and return them to us with the application fee. Once we have received the required forms from you and your references, your application will be reviewed by training staff.
2. In-home Interview
Based on your application, you may be contacted for an in-home interview. This interview provides an opportunity to discuss any questions you have in person and check your home’s safety and suitability for an assistance dog.
3. Finding Your Assistance Dog
If your application is accepted, our training staff will begin looking for a dog that will best suit your needs. We work primarily with breeders and volunteer Puppy Raisers to source and prepare dogs for our Clients. When appropriate, we will adopt and train adult dogs donated by animal shelters.
Once selected, each Assistance Dog goes through a rigorous training program at our facility and in public settings.
4. Partnering and Training
At this point, you’ll be invited to meet the dog we’ve matched to your needs. If you agree that this is the right dog for you, we will continue any special training the dog may need for you.
You will receive a manual that will help guide you through training and how to care for your dog. We then begin working with you and your dog as a team to develop your partnership. Our staff works closely with you to teach you the necessary commands and how to handle the dog properly.
At first, you’ll be working at our training center (or, in some cases, at your home). Once you’re in good control of the dog, you’ll begin going out in public together to practice your skills in real-life situations—including distractions. After a while, the dog will spend the night at your home to see if you’re ready to work together even more closely. Eventually, the dog will move in to your home, and training continues as you have more time to practice together.
When your training as a team is complete, you’ll take two certification tests. One test demonstrates all of the tasks your dog was trained to perform for you, and the other test rates your control over your dog in public settings. When your dog passes both tests, it is considered a “Certified Assistance Dog” and your meetings with our trainer will come to an end. You’ll continue practicing with your dog on a regular basis to maintain the skills and good habits you’ve worked so hard to build.
After certification, we will feature you and your dog in our newsletter, Tails For You. You’ll receive an identification card and be scheduled to attend the next public graduation ceremony (held in May and November). You and your dog will be properly honored as the special team you’ve become.
You’re encouraged to invite your family and friends to help you celebrate this very special day as you receive a diploma and your dog receives a graduate identification cape and a canine-style diploma! After graduation, you and your dog are finally on your own, but Can Do Canines’ advice and support remain only a phone call or email away.
Can I train and offer my own dog to be a Assistance Dog?
If you want your own pet dog trained as a assistance dog, you and your dog will have to meet certain requirements. Among others, you must already have done some training with your dog, and your dog must meet the same age and medical requirements as a dog provided by Can Do Canines.
You should know that most pet dogs do not meet all these requirements. We provide this option because, whenever possible, we want to keep people and their much-loved pets together. Please contact our office and ask for our Assistance Dog/Owner Trained Criteria or view online here.