Assistance Dogs in Training

Circle Tail dogs are in training to eventually be partnered with people who primarily have mobility or hearing disabilities. Dogs of various ages, breeds, and backgrounds are evaluated and accepted into the assistance dog training program. Not all dogs have the personality to complete the program. Assistance dogs in training are schooled through increasing levels of education, until the time they are partnered. Inmate Canine Handlers and Foster Families provide invaluable training and socialization experiences that help the dog to become a working assistance dog.

Dogs advance through four general levels of training before they are placed for in-home fostering or partnered with a recipient.

Elementary School: The dog has met the initial criteria for admittance into the assistance dog program. He/she is learning basic obedience commands and housetraining while being evaluated by Circle Tail trainers, inmate handlers, and foster families.

----> Here are dogs in elementary school.

Middle School: The dog is still showing the qualities that make a well-trained assistance dog. He/she is polishing basic training commands and is beginning to learn advanced assistance dog commands.

----> Here are dogs in middle school.

High School: The dog has mastered his/her basic commands, has consistently shown the temperament that would make a good assistance dog, and has shown the desire and ability to learn advanced assistance dog commands. He/she has demonstrated appropriate behavior in public during outings with our foster families.

----> Here are dogs in high school.

College: The dog is almost there! He/she is passing obedience tests with flying colors. The dog shows a consistent desire to work and has well-tested basic and advanced obedience skills. The dog is placed in foster families where their skills are tested in everyday situations. The skills of the dog are observed and the type of work he/she would be best suited to perform is evaluated. Inmate handlers work to refine their skills leading to eventual partnership.

----> Here are dogs in college and in-home.

If you are interested in applying for a Circle Tail assistance dog, please review our About Assistance Dogs page and complete the pre-applicant questionnaire.

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International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) is a cross-disability organization representing people partnered with guide, hearing and service dogs.