Admission FAQs

What kind of dogs does Canine Companions use?
Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and crosses of the two breeds.

How old are the dogs when they are matched?
Around two years old.

How long is the application process?
The application process takes 3-6 months.  If accepted at the end of the process, you will go onto the waiting list for your category.  

I completed the online application request form, but haven't been contacted. Why?
Due to the large number of requests for assistance dog, Canine Companions is only able to respond to those that qualify. Individuals that qualify will be contacted by Canine Companions in 4-6 weeks.

How long is the wait list?
Wait time once on the list varies greatly between categories. Typically, service dog candidates have the longest wait, as we need dogs with very specific temperaments for these placements.

How much does it cost?
The dog is free of charge.  Students must pay for their transportation to and from the center, their meals during Team Training, and depending on the training center in your regional area, the cost of staying in a hotel.

Can a Canine Companions dog alert me to oncoming seizures, help me balance, or provide support while I'm walking?
We do not train dogs for seizure alert or mobility assistance (including balance work).

What tasks are Canine Companions dogs trained to do?
Service, skilled companion, and facility dogs are trained in over 40 commands, including retrieving and delivering dropped items, tugging and pushing. Service dogs can pull a lightweight manual wheelchair and turn lights on and off.  

Hearing dogs have a different skill set, primarily involving alerting and orienting recipients to sounds.

What tasks are Canine Companions dogs NOT trained to do?
We do not train guide dogs for the blind, to do seizure or diabetic alert/response, to anticipate or detect medical symptoms, for the primary benefit of emotional comfort or social support, to recognize and/or manage undesireable human behavior, to provide supervision, navigation, or safety from environmental hazards, to respond aggressively, to provide personal protection, to assist with the management of mental illness as a primary condition.

Who is eligible to apply for a Canine Companions dog?
People with physical or developmental disabilities who can demonstrate that an assistance dog will enhance their independence or their quality of life are qualified to apply. Also eligible are professionals working for organizations that provide physical or mental health care to clients who will benefit from interaction with a facility dog.

Canine Companions can only accept a limited number of applications per year. Although many individuals with disabilities are eligible and in need of an assistance dog, Canine Companions will determine and select those individuals where the tasks provided by Canine Companions' highly trained dogs will be of the greatest benefit.

How old do you need to be?
Individuals applying for an assistance dog must be at least 18 years old with an established, stable home life. We find those 25 years of age and up are most suitable for an assistance dog. Children must be at least 5 years old to be considered for a skilled companion.

For more information, see our Facts and FAQ's page.

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