The Training Program

veteran_p3Before a dog is paired with a veteran, the dog undergoes 6 months of training with a certified service dog trainer.


  • Dog is paired with veteran
  • Veteran not able to take dog into public space yet (such as grocery store, community centre)
  • Level 1 could take a couple of weeks or a couple of months, until it is deemed that it is safe for the dog and handler (veteran) to be in public space together
  • Completion of Level 1 is when a service dog team is ready to work in the public space


  • Handler trains dog for what to watch for and do
  • The bond between the human and canine is solidified
  • Canine is trained to do specific tasks to minimize the functional limitations caused through the human’s disabilities and the two begin to work as one
  • Throughout this level of training, the vest (orange colour) on the dog should read “Service Dog in Training” to reflect the fact that the team is safe to be in public space but are still learning
  • Level 2 training can be completed in about 9-12 months
  • The team can then be evaluated to be certified to program standards, and if the evaluation is successful for the team, they  then begin Level 3 training


  • Level 3 continues the training of the team, as requirements will change both for the human and the canine
  • At this stage there is regular aftercare where the team will be evaluated to ensure that the training has been maintained and that the team remains safe to be in public spaces
  • This aftercare and the length of time between evaluations for continued certification is determined by the evaluator, but the “Active Service Dog” status can only change if the evaluator fails the team

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