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Independence Enhancers

ADW dogs foster enhanced client independence and a greater sense of self-reliance for client families. They offer unconditional love and companionship.

Conversation Starters

At work frequently in public with their handlers, ADW dogs also facilitate a way of comfortably beginning conversations that educate the public into better understanding of the many populations that our program serves.

Creative Solutions

Trained in our positive reinforcement methods that bring out the excellence in each pup, ADW dogs are four-legged creative solutions to human challenges. They enormously improve peoples’ experiences and quality of life.

Puppy Selection and Training

We’ve cultivated long-term relationships with our breeder and agency partners to collectively nurture the best in our pups and grow them into dogs who love the rigorous, rewarding life of service.

ADW chooses the dogs who participate in our assistance-dog-training program from many sources including professional dog breeders, other service-dog agencies and shelter or rescue organizations. Ninety percent of our dogs come from “purpose breeders.” Ten percent of our dogs come from shelters or rescue organizations.

Whatever their origins, we employ our skills at identifying the best-suited temperaments for successful service dogs and training the behaviors through our distinctive program approach. From their earliest weeks with us to the matching and placement of a dog with a prospective client, we focus on the mental, physical and emotional well-being of the dogs in our care.

Temperament and Behavior

Assistance-dog training is the among the most demanding fields of dog training. Dogs who serve clients with disabilities must be skilled in a variety of behaviors and be able to perform these tasks undistracted in virtually any environment. The dogs must have high levels of proficiency plus the versatility to respond quickly and accurately whether to physical cues from clients who are non-verbal or to verbal cues from clients who have mobility disabilities.

The temperament traits that we seek in a puppy include patience; sensitivity to their space and that of people around them; desire to work with unfamiliar handlers; and generous-hearted acceptance of anything new or different in their environment or experience. We also look to the dogs’ physical conformation and overall health. We seek animals with a balanced cadence of footfalls and low body movements to best accommodate mobility clients and facility work.

Shaping a puppy into a well-mannered adult service dog requires reinforcing model behavior.

Unlike other agencies, ADW dogs live primarily in staff trainers’ homes until placed with clients. This enhances our trainers’ ability to orchestrate puppies’ early experiences and promote good habits, confidence and focus without fear.

Our success in graduating service dogs demonstrates the effects of our positive reinforcement training and socialization as we employ kindness, gentleness and respect in preparing our dogs to serve.

Read more about our training approach...
Years Enriching the Lives of Many