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Our Process

Canines for Change provides highly trained assistance dogs children and adults needing assistance with various tasks. Dogs are obtained at a young age and are raised with the Super Puppy Program philosophy in our foster families. Dogs are taught advanced obedience skills as well as house and public manners, proper socialization with other common animals and highly accustomed to human interaction.

Potential clients are asked to complete an application form and include documentation of the applicant’s needs, including both disabilities and abilities. Also included is an assessment of the degree to which a service dog could provide aid and support with performing tasks important to the applicant’s independence in daily living. Letters of recommendation should also include an assessment of the applicant’s ability to care for a service dog.

Once the application is approved by Canines for Change staff, a representative meets with the applicant to conduct a personal interview. The family then enters into a signed contract with Canines for Change. Once a puppy has been selected for a particular client, Canines for Change staff meets with the applicant in their home to meet family members and become familiar with the dog’s future home.

Puppy Breeding and Training
The journey to your service dog begins with your breeder host family. The breeder host family is responsible for helping for the mother and the puppies until they are 8 weeks of age.

Puppy trainers are responsible for the care, training and socialization of their foster puppy from 8 weeks until 8 to 12 months of age. Puppy raisers provide food, shelter and medical care for their puppy for the duration of their stay. They are responsible for attending weekly training classes and for socializing their puppy in a variety of community settings.

Family-centered Training
From 8-12 months, Canines for Change staff work with dogs and families to strengthen the canine-family bond. During this time, the handler will attend weekly group training sessions with their assistance dog-in-training. Individual training sessions will be conducted as needed. Other arrangements may be made for out of state clients.

Intensive Training Phase
From 12-18 months, the dog will be trained to perform specific tasks needed by the client. The assistance dog continues to mature and learn the manners needed to be a responsible family and community member. At the end of this phase, family members will meet again with a trainer to prepare for the dog’s entrance to family life.

The final phase
Upon completion of training, each Canines for Change dog will be tested. Upon successful completion of this assessment, an identification badge will be issued which will allow the team access to all public facilities. Follow-up visits and re-certification continue throughout the life of the service dog.