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The ADW Owner/Self-Training Assistance Dog course is designed to teach clients to train their own dogs to be their service dog.  Training your own service dog is an in depth process requiring great discipline, but can be an immensely rewarding process.

Fees are outlined in the ADW Owner/Self-Training program fee schedule, which begins on page 2 of the Owner/Self-Training Application.

Download the ADW Owner/Self-Training application now

ADI requirements

ADW is accredited by Assistance Dogs International. ADI requires that Owner/Self-Trained teams work with ADW for a minimum of 6 months, and that the dog be trained to perform a minimum of 3 tasks to offset the owner’s disability.

I.  Initial Assessments and Evaluation

In Stage I, clients have their dog assessed by Assistance Dogs of the West, in order to determine suitability for service dog work. Upon notification of favorable dog assessment, clients complete the Assistance Dogs of the West Owner/Self-Training program application. ADW may request that client have an Occupational Therapy Evaluation by Dogwood Therapy Services, an independent OT provider. After acceptance into the Owner/Self-Training program, you will have a choice of private or group sessions.

II.  Private Sessions

Private sessions are one-on-one training sessions with an ADW trainer. Classes run in 12-week blocks.  Classes focus on Public Access,  Scent Training, or Task Work. At the conclusion of the course of training, the ADI Public Access test will be administered to the client/dog team.  If public access is not achieved within the initial training process of 12 visits; subsequent training will be recommended.

III. Group Class

In the group class, a minimum of three persons per class work on Public Access, Scent Training or Task Work. Classes are run in 12-week blocks. At the conclusion of the course of training, the ADI Public Access test will be administered to the client/dog team.  If public access is not achieved within the initial training process of 12 visits, subsequent training will be recommended.


To keep your certification and handling skills current, you will be required to pass the ADI Public Access Test on an annual basis at our facility.  New picture identification cards will be issued at that time.

Diabetic alert dogs (DADs):

Clients interested in training their dog to be a Diabetic Alert Dog should first review the diabetic client criteria:

Requirements for obtaining a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD)

ADW is committed to providing the best services to our DAD clients. To help foster a successful working partnership between clients and our DADs, as well as optimal use of our resources, we require the following in addition to the general requirements for applying for/obtaining an ADW assistance dog:

  • DAD applicants must have Type 1 diabetes, and have been diagnosed at least 2 years prior to application.
  • Applicants must have significant hypoglycemic unawareness.
  • Applicants must be under the regular care of a physician and/or diabetes educator. Additional information will be required from the medical professional regarding the applicant’s diabetes and its management, by way of a form and discussions with ADW staff.
  • Applicants must currently be taking all appropriate measures to monitor and control their diabetes, yet still be experiencing difficulty with blood glucose (BG) control.
  • Applicants must be experiencing a minimum of 3 hypoglycemic events per week.
  • Applicants must regularly monitor their blood glucose (several times per day, or as recommended by healthcare professional), using a glucometer and/or continuous glucose monitor. Note: use of a DAD will probably INCREASE the number of BG tests per day that the client must do.
  • At the time of application, applicants must provide glucometer or CGM data for the 3 prior months. If a significant lapse of time occurs between application and placement with a DAD, an additional month of data may be required.
  • If the applicant works, they must be able to take the DAD to work with them.
  • Client MUST agree to provide BG records/graphs/data, including record of DAD alerts, to ADW for a minimum of 6 months after the DAD is placed with them, or as requested by trainers.
  • Client must provide samples (saliva collected during low and high BG events) to ADW trainers for the purposes of training the DAD.
  • Client must agree to work with ADW trainers on an ongoing basis for several months after placement with a DAD to further optimize the dog’s response.
  • Client must agree to provide adequate rest periods for the DAD, as prescribed by ADW trainers.
  • Client MUST accept full responsibility for the management of their diabetes, continuing all prescribed methods of monitoring and treatment after the DAD has been placed. A DAD is to be considered only one tool in disease management, and not relied upon solely.