Skilled Companion Dogs

Carson Covey and Skilled Companion Asia II

People with disabilities might have trouble reaching a light switch, picking up a dropped pencil or opening a door. Imagine having a dog that could do all of that and more.

Our skilled companion dogs are trained to work with an adult or child with a disability under the guidance of a facilitator. A facilitator is typically a parent, spouse or caregiver who handles and cares for the assistance dog, encourages a strong bond between the recipient and the skilled companion dog, and is responsible for the customized training needs of the dog.

Disabilities served include, but are not limited to, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Spina Bifida and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

A Canine Companions skilled companion is bred to be calm, reliable, affectionate and utilizes its trained skills and tasks to help mitigate the recipient’s disability.

A Canine Companions skilled companion can also serve as a tool to assist in developing independent living skills as well as integrated into structured therapies and utilized to facilitate social interactions. Not only can a skilled companion placement make their physical lives easier, it can boost confidence, feelings of self-sufficiency and responsibility.

To receive a skilled companion:

  • The recipient aged 5 or over, demonstrates an interest in dogs.
  • Choose an adult facilitator for the team. Chosen facilitator must be fluent in English.
  • Request an application.
  • Apply. This process involves several steps designed to ensure success.
  • Upon acceptance, the participant and the facilitator must successfully complete a two-week Team Training class at a Canine Companions regional training center.

Skilled companion dogs and follow-up services are free of charge.

Watch how Canine Companions assistance dogs help children with autism.

Watch our video of Virgina, George and Skilled Companion Elsey:

Special thanks to FM WATSON and Rob Gironda who donated their music for this video.

Copyright © 2016 Canine Companions for Independence, Inc. All rights reserved.