This is the program for those of you who already have a dog and would like to train it to become your personal assistance dog.
Veteran sponsorships are available. Please ask us how to apply.
Does your dog qualify?
We accept dogs from the age of four months to seven years. Dogs must not be shy, noise sensitive, storm/thunder sensitive, animal aggressive or people aggressive in order to be admitted into the program. A suitable breed is largely dependent on the needs of the applicant. We do not accept breeds historically bred for dog-fighting purposes.
Our Owner-Trained program offers two options for you to choose from:
Option 1: Would you like a PAF trainer to train your dog?
Follow steps 1 to 7 listed below. After program acceptance, a PAF trainer can train your dog for you. Begin by leaving your dog with us for 30 days of training. We provide boarding and training for your pet. While in our care, he/she will learn basic manners as well as basic assistance dog skills. Included with this package is four private training sessions for you and your family or facilitator. For 30 days of boarding and training, it would be $1,350 ($45/lesson). Half of the payment ($675) is due at the start of the program and the other half ($675) is due at the end of 30 days of training. This option is easier on you should you need assistance.
You may now choose to have your dog continue in our Option 1 program and have your dog continue to be trained by a PAF trainer, $1,350 for every 30 days, or you may choose to continue with Option 2, training your dog yourself with the assistance of a PAF trainer. You have the choice of switching from Option 1 to Option 2 at any point during the program.
If Option 1 is chosen for the entire program, the average time frame of program completion is 6 months. This includes the AKC Canine Good Citizen Certification as well as the PAF Public Access Certification. TOTAL FEE: $8,310 (6 months)
Option 2: Complete the training journey with your dog and the assistance of a PAF trainer.
Follow steps 1 to 7. After program acceptance, you may begin training your dog in our classes. The average training time to complete the PAF Owner-Trained program is 6 to 12 months. You may pay as you go once accepted into our Owner-Trained program.
Upon completion of either option, PAF will have provided you the opportunity to complete 80 hours of dog training, animal care and behavior management instruction, as per Assistance Dog International (ADI).
- Complete the online application or the printable application.
- We will conduct a simple background check.
- Provide a letter from a health-care professional stating you would benefit from the aid of an assistance dog.
- Mandatory: Provide proof of current core vaccinations (plus bordetella), negative heart worm test results. Highly Recommended: A flea and tick preventative prescribed by a veterinarian as well as a heart worm prevention.
- Schedule a meet and greet with head trainer to get to know you, your dog and the rest of your family. (Temperament/personality evaluation of dog determines program acceptance; dog must be friendly towards people and dogs and not show shyness in public or have a fear of loud noises.)
- Visit our training center, observe our classes and meet some of our dogs.
- PAF will accept or decline your application.
Below is a breakdown of each level of training and the average timeframe/number of lessons for each:
Puppy Star/Basic: 2.5 to 3 months (10 to 12 lessons)
- Once 10 to 12 Puppy Star/Basic lessons are completed, you may test for your Basic Public Access test.
- Pass the test and receive your Dog in Training vest, allowing you to take your dog with you in public for training.
CONGRATULATIONS! You may now move on to the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) lessons!
AKC CGC: 1.5 to 2 months (6 to 8 lessons)
- Once 6 to 8 CGC lessons are completed, you may test for your AKC CGC test.
- This test costs $20 and is good for one year.
- It will require renewal annually.
CONGRATULATIONS! You may now move on to CGC-A/Urban lessons!
AKC CGC-A/Urban: 1.5to 2 months (6 to 8 lessons)
- Once 6 to 8 CGC-A/Urban lessons are completed, you may test for your AKC CGC-A and Urban tests.
- Each test costs $20 for a total of $40.
CONGRATULATIONS! You may now move on to the Advanced Skills/Retrieving lessons!
Advanced Skills/Retrieving: 1 to 1.5 months (4 to 6 lessons)
- Once 4 to 6 Advanced Skills/Retrieving lessons are completed, you may test for your PAF Public Access test, which will give you full certification.
- Please note: You must be in training for no less than 6 months & have logged 80 hours of training in order to test for your PAF Public Access. (As per ADI)
- During your PAF Public Access Certification evaluation, you will need to demonstrate 3 skills your dog has learned in your PAF classes, which apply directly towards helping you with your particular disability.
- Pass the test and receive a certificate and full service vest for free!
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU AND YOUR DOG ARE NOW A FULLY CERTIFIED PAF ASSISTANCE DOG TEAM!
- Now that you are a fully certified PAF Assistance Dog team, you will need to attend a lesson once a month for 6 months, as per ADI guidelines. ($25/lesson; Total: $150)
- This is so we may help you with any challenges you may be having and to check up on how you and your dog are working as a team.
- After the 6 months, PAF requires teams to return for a lesson once every 3 months to maintain PAF Public Access Certification. ($25/lesson)
- You will need to retest for your AKC CGC and PAF Public Access tests annually.
- PAF Public Access-Free