Paws With A Cause works hard to ensure each client is matched with an Assistance Dog that enhances their quality of life and independence. We know this is an ongoing process, which is why we strive to help each Assistance Dog Team prosper before, during and after certification.
The search for a client’s dog match begins as soon as their Needs Assessment has been accepted. Our goal is to make the strongest possible match for each client in the “waiting pool.” Many factors are considered when evaluating a possible client-dog pairing. Depending on the individual client, and the particular qualities of each available PAWS Dog-in-Training, it may take 1-4 years to find the right match for their needs, temperament and lifestyle.
Once a client is matched, training begins. During these 3-6 months, trainers review a client’s needs assessment and video to custom-train the Assistance Dog for tasks to enhance a client’s independence and quality of life. To help a dog recognize its partner before they even meet, PAWS’ trainers emulate the client’s movements and speech during training. PAWS’ training standards exceed the industry average. If a dog is unable to meet PAWS’ training standards, the client will be matched with another compatible PAWS Dog as soon as possible.
When training at PAWS Headquarters is complete, the Assistance Dog is placed with the client in their home and team training begins. Over the next 3-8 months, a PAWS Field Rep helps the client learn how to work with their Assistance Dog in the home, workplace, school, etc. When the client and PAWS Dog are working well together, the Field Rep videotapes them performing their tasks. This video is reviewed by PAWS Client Services and once approved, the Assistance Dog Team is certified and ownership of the PAWS Dog transfers to the client.
Assistance Dog Teams are tested and recertified every 24 months to ensure they continue to work well together. Follow up is conducted on alternate years or whenever a client needs additional assistance.
After certification, PAWS remains available for support. Clients may contact PAWS Client Services at any time if extra training is needed, whether it’s a new task or retraining of an existing task. Assistance Dog Teams are also recertified every 24 months to ensure they are working at the required proficiency of PAWS and ADI.
When an Assistance Dog retires or passes away, PAWS clients are eligible to apply for a Successor Dog. If accepted, priority is given to successor clients for available Assistance Dogs.
Please note: A PAWS Assistance Dog will not be placed in a home with another dog unless it is a retired PAWS Dog or working Assistance Dog from an ADI or IGDF-accredited agency for someone else in the household. It has been our experience that other dogs in the home interfere with the bonding and training of the Assistance Dog Team.