Choosing an assistance dog provider requires due diligence and caution. The process starts by compiling a shortlist of providers accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI).
This is the simplest way to help ensure you’re getting a properly trained and cared-for assistance dog through a reputable program that takes the right steps to match you with the best animal, to train you for your partnership, and to deliver important follow-up support.
What Is Assistance Dogs International?
ADI is a global organization divided into regional chapters that’s been setting standards for assistance dog providers since 1987. It does not train or provide service, hearing, or guide dogs itself, but rather consists of nonprofit members around the world that do so.
Member assistance dog providers go through periodic evaluations to determine whether they consistently meet ADI’s high standards. That is why ADI accreditation is so important when choosing an assistance dog program to work with.
ADI identifies its three guiding objectives as:
- Establishing and promoting standards of excellence in all areas of assistance dog acquisition, training, and partnership
- Facilitating communication and learning among member organizations
- Educating the public about the benefits of assistance dogs and ADI membership
Being Accredited by Assistance Dogs International
Assistance Dogs International confirms that its member providers treat their dogs humanely and their clients well, and that dog training is carried out according to established best practices.
Trained assessors spend several days at an assistance dog provider’s facility, conducting extensive examination and interviews to make certain that all of ADI’s strict standards are being met.
ADI evaluates each member provider for:
- Safety and cleanliness of training facilities
- Fair and ethical treatment of clients
- Proper healthcare for dogs
- Humane training methods
- Criteria for screening suitability of dogs and clients
- Criteria for matching dogs and clients
- Criteria for administration of program operations
- Compliance with all legal regulations
Find an ADI-Accredited Provider Near You
To locate hearing, guide, and service dog providers accredited by Assistance Dogs International in your area, use the Accredited Members Search tool on the ADI website.