Keystone Assistance Dogs

Our Lifelines Have Leashes


Our Application Process​

Our program is open to anyone wishing to train their own dog to aid in their disability. We accept puppies as young as 8 weeks of age to begin their learning journey

Not every dog is suitable to become an assistance dog, and not every dog / owner team will reach the standard of training required to pass all the assessments, which are held in person in Hershey Pennsylvania or online Via Zoom or Skype. 


Benefits of joining KAD as an owner trainer:

-Exclusive access to video tutorials for teaching Tasks, and an Assistance Dog community group

- We'll help you keep your training on track by building a personal plan every week!

- Live training demos with novice dogs for real world troubleshooting

-Free CGC, CGC Community Canine, CGC Urban, and Trick Dog testing


To train as an Assistance Dog, your dog must:

Have a sound temperament; not show any fear or reactivity issues
Be trained to an advanced level (we can help with this)
Demonstrate 3 specific skills that provide assistance you need because of your disability (we can also help with this training)

​*Dogs with behavioral issues are rarely suitable to train as assistance dogs, so please contact us for a free assessment.*

Assessments

*​Assessments are not required by law. If your dog mitigates your disability in any way then you are covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act.*

Your dog is an auxiliary aid just like a walking stick or wheelchair and as such cannot be denied access.

We recommend that your assistance dog is trained to a high standard, so that your dog does not cause disruption and can cope with supporting you with your disability in public. 

We offer online Canine Community Awards that you can submit videos for to achieve certificates. 

A certificate is provided for each level of training, from Puppy to Gold and Access Tests.

Send us a message to get started today!

 
 
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How to Qualify for the KAD Public Access Test

You will be required to pass 5 assessments: Puppy, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and then a final Access Test. If your dog joins the program and is over 12 months of age the Puppy Assessment will be waived. 


-Your dog must be over 18 months old to take the Public Access Test and have been training for at least 12 months with Training Logs as proof. 

-You must have been a member of KAD for a minimum of 6 months

-You must have logged a minimum of 80 hours combined obedience and socialization training

-You must have logged a minimum of 30 hours public access training

-You must have trained your mitigating tasks and be able to demonstrate them or deliver proof of them by video via email, if it is not a task you can demonstrate in public, (such as waking from night terrors, or alerting to a condition that may not require intervention during your Public access assessment)

-You must take the Public Access Test once a year to ensure the training is kept up to date and the high standards maintained. 


PLEASE NOTE. TESTS AND ACCESS TESTS ARE NOT REQUIRED BY LAW, BUT THEY CAN HELP TO ENSURE YOUR DOG IS TRAINED TO A HIGH STANDARD AND WON'T CAUSE DISRUPTION, AND THEY CAN HELP TO SUPPORT ACCESS WHEN IT IS DENIED.