P.O. Box 10484 Bainbridge, WA 98110 | (206) 321-0592 | info@assistancedogsnorthwest.org
Frequently Asked Questions - Assistance Dogs Northwest

Frequent Questions


I want to be a Service Dog trainer

Our trainers all have at least a bachelors degree in a related field such as psychology or medicine. A 2-year related apprenticeship is also required. For more information, please click HERE.

What is the minimum age requirement?

Individuals applying for a service dog must be at least 10 years old with an established, stable home life. Children must be at least 5 years old to receive a Skilled Companion Dog.

Who is eligible to apply?

People with physical disabilities that significantly limit their mobility and are seeking increased independence are encouraged to apply. Organizations that provide physical or mental health care to clients who will benefit from interaction with a Facility Dog are also eligible to apply. Hospitals and Assisted Living Centers may apply for Hospital Facility Dogs.

Assistance Dogs Northwest is only able to accept a limited number of applications per year. Although many people are eligible, we are only able to select applicants who will receive the greatest benefit from the specific skills the dogs are trained to preform. Applicants must be committed to ongoing training and follow-up visits.

What types of dogs does Assistance Dogs Northwest not train?

Training for each type of Assistance Dog is highly specialized. We do not train Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, Seizure Alert Dogs, Balance Dogs, Psychiatric Service Dogs, Autism Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs, or pets. We encourage people to visit www.AssistanceDogsInternational.org to find a program that trains these types of Assistance Dogs in your area.

How much does it cost?

The dog is provided free of charge. There is an initial $25 application fee and a $500 fee for Team Training Camp. This covers tuition, books, field trips, and all supplies for the dog. Students are responsible for their own travel expenses.

How long is the application process?

The application process usually takes 3-4 months. If accepted at the end of the process, applicants are placed on the waiting list. The average wait is less than 12 months. However, being placed on the waiting list does not guarantee that an applicant will receive an Assistance Dog.

How long does the training take?

There are four stages of training, which lasts approximately 1 1/2- 2 years. Dogs learn over 90 commands and must pass rigorous health and temperament screenings before graduating.