We can currently only serve clients within the county of Hampshire.
Application forms for the Assistance Dog programme are at the bottom of this page, which must be read first.
Services we provide
We help disabled people to train their existing dog to become their Assistance Dog.
If a disabled person does not yet have a dog but cannot have their needs met by the main charities, we may assist them in obtaining an Assistance Dog candidate.
We will have in-person training sessions and assessments, provide training advice from a distance, and periodically meet with you to assess the stage your dog is at.
We are a user-led organisation and each successful applicant gains the right to vote on decisions within IADA.
Your dog may be taught to help you in the following ways:
If you have a significant visual impairment which cannot be improved by glasses or contact lenses and you experience difficulty navigating your environment, it may help to train your dog in guiding tasks. These tasks may also be appropriate for someone with a medical condition which causes temporary bouts of vision loss that make it impossible for you to find your way home, such as P.O.T.S.
Guiding tasks include: Avoiding obstacles, halting at changes in elevation, locating flights of stairs, locating lifts, locating lift and crossing buttons, indicating obstructions at the head height of the handler.
If you are severely (quietest sounds heard are between 71 – 95 decibels HL) or profoundly (quietest sounds heard are over 95 decibels HL) deaf, your dog can be trained to alert you to various sounds and indicate their source, including the doorbell, unheard dropped objects, alarm clocks, timers, knocking, your name, the kettle boiling, fire alarms, vehicle horns, and emergency alarms in shops and public places.
If you have less severe hearing loss but have some difficulties around the home e.g. hearing someone calling to you, we may be able to train your dog to help you with this, but there would not be a need to take the dog into public.
Assistance Dogs can greatly benefit people with significant physical disabilities. If you use a wheelchair, walking stick, or do not use mobility aids but suffer from the consequences of your condition if you bend down or reach for items, an Assistance Dog may be able to help you. You can conserve your already limited energy and avoid pain by having your dog bring over named items, pick up the things you drop, lift items from shop shelves, lift clothes out of the washing machine, open doors and help you undress.
If you do not feel symptoms of an oncoming medical emergency caused by a condition, and your dog shows an aptitude for being able to detect these emergencies before they manifest, then with training it may be possible to shape your dog’s reaction into a formal alert, allowing you to treat your condition or get to a safe place.
This training involves teaching your dog to have the appropriate response after a medical emergency has begun, such as hitting a special phone button to summon the emergency services, letting the emergency services into your home, fetching help from a carer, licking the face or pawing the body to help you awaken, and fetching a medical kit.
If you have a mental health or developmental condition which is disabling, a dog can perform several tasks to help you make the most of life, such as: Combating medication side-effects by helping you to rise in the morning, getting dropped items or fetching a drink, reminding you to take your medication, fetching a carer, providing tactile stimulation to bring you back to the “here and now” during a panic attack or flashback, blocking or buffering the immediate area around you to keep people back, and greeting on command to help you discern whether or not you are hallucinating somebody’s presence.
Many disabled people need dogs trained for more than one of the above needs. For example, you may be deafblind, or be a wheelchair user who also has a mental health condition. Please provide information about your needs from a dog on your application form.
You must adhere to the following standards as described by Assistance Dogs International:
Treat the dog with appreciation and respect.
Practice obedience regularly.
Practice the dog’s skills regularly.
Maintain the dog’s proper behaviour in public and at home.
Carry proper identification and be aware of all applicable laws pertaining to Assistance Dogs.
Keep the dog well groomed and well cared for.
Practice preventative health care for the dog.
Obtain annual health checks and vaccinations for the dog.
Abide by all leash and license laws.
Follow the training program’s requirements for progress reports and medical evaluations.
Arrange for the prompt clean up of dog’s waste.
The dog must be trained according to the following ethics outlined by Assistance Dogs International:
An Assistance Dog must be temperamentally screened for emotional soundness and working ability.
An Assistance Dog must be physically screened for the highest degree of good health and physical soundness.
An Assistance Dog must be technically and analytically trained for maximum control and for the specialised tasks he/she is asked to perform.
An Assistance Dog must be trained using humane training methods providing for the physical and emotional safety of the dog.
An Assistance Dog must be permitted to learn at his/her own individual pace and not be placed in service before reaching adequate physical and emotional maturity.
An Assistance Dog must be matched to best suit the client’s needs, abilities and lifestyle.
An Assistance Dog must be placed with a client able to interact with him/her.
An Assistance Dog must be placed with a client able to provide for the dog’s emotional, physical and financial needs.
An Assistance Dog must be placed with a client able to provide a stable and secure living environment.
An Assistance Dog must be placed with a client who expresses a desire for increased independence and/or an improvement in the quality of his/her life through the use of an Assistance Dog.
An ADI member organization will accept responsibility for its dogs in the event of a graduate’s death or incapacity to provide proper care.
An ADI member organization will not train, place, or certify dogs with any aggressive behaviour. An assistance dog may not be trained in any way for guard or protection duty. Non-aggressive barking as a trained behaviour will be acceptable in appropriate situations.
Standards for owner-training:
- 1. The owner must go through all the program requirements for an assistance dog applicant which includes the programs application process and team training. The owner must sign all consent and release of liability forms provided by the program.
- 2. The dog must meet all ADI Minimum Standards for dogs and must meet the same program standards as the dogs trained and placed by the program staff.
- 3. The program should have a minimum of a 6 month period working with the owner and their dog. The owner and dog will be observed in a variety of settings and situations during this time. This will also include any training necessary to complete the program and meet the ADI Minimum Standards.
- 4. The program will inform the owner prior to acceptance into the program of all financial commitments/fees required by the program. The program will also inform the owner that at any time throughout the process or after certification testing, the program can decide to discharge the dog because of temperament, health or training issues.
- 5. The program will decide when the team is ready to go through the team training process.
- 6. After successfully completing the team training process and the program requirements the team will be given program certification. This certification will include a program identification card and harness or other identification used by the program.
- 7. The team becomes a program team for the working life of the dog. The program will include the team in all requirements and activities in place for teams made up of program trained dogs, including but not limited to follow-up, retesting, and continuity of dog’s health care and veterinary requirements.
- 8. The assistance, hearing, or guide dogs must meet the minimum standards for training each type of assistance dog. A facility dog [therapy dog employed to work with patients within an individual healthcare, visitation or education setting] must meet the minimum standards for facility dogs.
- 9. The assistance dog team must meet all of the standards as laid out in the minimum standards for Assistance Dogs in Public and the dog should be equally well behaved in the home.
- 10. The assistance dog must be trained to perform at least 3 tasks to mitigate the client’s disability.
- 11. The client must be provided with enough instruction to be able to meet the ADI Minimum Standards for Assistance Dogs in Public. The client must be able to demonstrate:
a. that their dog can perform at least 3 tasks
b. knowledge of acceptable training techniques
c. an understanding of canine care and health
d. the ability to maintain training, problem solve, and continue to train/ add new skills (as required) with their assistance dog.
e. knowledge of local access laws and appropriate public behaviour
- 12. The assistance dog program must document monthly follow ups with these teams for the first 6 months following placement. Personal contact will be done by qualified staff or program volunteer within 12 months of graduation and annually thereafter.
- 13. Identification of the assistance dog will be accomplished with the laminated ID card with a photo(s) and names of the dog and partner. In public the dog must wear a cape, harness, backpack, or other similar piece of equipment or clothing with a logo that is clear and easy to read and identifiable as an assistance dog.
- 14. The program staff must demonstrate knowledge of the owner’s disabilities in relation to the services they provide. The program shall make available to staff and volunteers educational material on different disabilities.
- 15. The owner/partner must abide by the ADI Minimum Standards of Assistance Dog Partners.
- 16. Prior to the completion of training and certification testing, the assistance dog must meet the ADI Standards and Ethics Regarding Dogs, be spayed/neutered and have current vaccination certificates as determined by their veterinarian and applicable laws.
You may need to pay some fees to a dog trainer you are matched to. IADA will ensure that these fees stay reasonable, and will first try to pay them from charity funds. You may be able to finance fees through your local authority personal care budget.
Once you and your dog are a qualified partnership, you will need to pay an annual fee of £10 to contribute to our operating costs. Please read our eligibility chart and application process before applying.
Before downloading the application form, please confirm that:
- You have read the IADA website fully, including the eligibility flowchart and the way our services operate.
- You have read the Assistance Dogs International standards posted here, and agree to adjust your aims for your partnership with an Assistance Dog if they do not currently fit within them.
- You are under the care of a conventional medical practitioner in the UK who will be able to respond to our enquiries (your surgery may charge you for this).
- Your dog (if you have one) is under the care of a conventional veterinarian in the UK who will be able to respond to our enquiries.
- Your disabling symptoms will require at least 3 tasks trained to a dog, which must be things directly needed as a result of your disability (e.g. training dog to pick up items does not count if you do not have difficulty doing this yourself), and are things that a dog can be trained for, (E.g. a feeling of shyness when going into shops is not something that a dog can perform a task for).
The following must also be included with your application:
Please do not attempt to paste the forms into a word processor. They can be printed from your browser window by moving the mouse to the top right-hand side and selecting the printer icon.
Make sure your permission forms and applications have your signature!
Vets and doctors will return information forms empty if you have not signed. This will only hold up your application.
If you have not seen your doctor or vet in the last few months, please make an appointment with them first to discuss your plans for applying, so that they will be able to accurately describe your needs. Please do not reference a doctor or vet that you have never been to.
We cannot accept letters of support or doctors’ forms sent directly from applicants, due to previous fraud with these.
A large-print application form is also available.
We also hope to host dog training sessions in local community halls or hired rooms, in areas where we will have large numbers of clients in training at one time. These will be available for applicants, but also disabled people who don’t want a full Assistance Dog, and just want to train their dog to do one or two simple things to help at home.