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Service Dog Client Training

Interested in Learning How to Get a Service Dog?

View our various training paths based on the individual needs of each client

If so, you might be a candidate for K9-centric Post Traumatic Growth®

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About Client Placements

While paws4people® trains for a wide variety of Service Dog certifications, our specialty is Psychiatric Service Dogs. Psychiatric Service Dogs are trained for both civilians and Veterans who have experienced trauma. paws4people® is proud to be a Service Dog program that serves both population groups. Upon successful completion, Clients will receive a certified and insured Service Dog. For more information about the types of dogs trained, click here

To qualify for our Psychiatric Service Dog program, individuals must have a documented diagnosis of PTSD. Other mental health diagnoses will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All applicants must be in active mental health treatment, and their provider must be willing and able to communicate with our team on an as-needed basis. For any applicants with a history of substance abuse, paws4people® requires at least six months of sobriety before beginning our program.

How to Get an Individualized Service Dog

Check out which type of Dog best suits your needs

Service Dog Training
Placement Programs

Through our application process, our application committee will guide each individual on how to get a service dog and choose the program that best fits their needs and abilities.

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Intervention Transfer Training® and Immersion Client Training Program

ITT is conducted using the mutual aid model, wherein group members are the providers as well as the recipients of the benefits of the services. During ITT, we recognize that the experiences, strengths, and perspectives of each group member should be drawn upon to help other members of the group. We also draw heavily on the helper-theory principle, wherein helping others helps the helper. 

ITT is a peer-to-peer activity lead by Service Dog experts, not a therapeutic intervention lead by mental health practitioners. We have found that this offers directness and authenticity that often affords out clients progress they have not been able to find within the traditional therapy or medical settings.

New Client cohorts begin each quarter. Client Training consists of four session, knows as A, B, C, and D Blocks. A-Block begins when applicants who have been invited to start the journey with paws4people® must first attend a six-day working interview at our headquarters campus in Castle Hayne North Carolina, ADDIE’S Way. During this time, Applicants will attend classroom lectures, complete hands-on training with dogs at our campus and in public settings, interview with paws4people staff members, and meet with current paws4people Clients. During A-Block, the paws4epople team is making final assessments as to whether our program is a good fit for each Applicant. At the end of A-Block, Applicants will either be accepted into our program, or declined. Applicants who are invited to move on to B-Block are then known as Potential Clients.

Potential Clients will return to the ADDIE’S Way Campus for an intensive two-week team training. B-Block consists of a “Bump,” (paws4people’s Service Dog matching process, additional classroom lectures, multidisciplinary wellness programing (e.g. Trauma-informed yoga, breathwork, challenge courses, etc.), and hands-on training at both the campus and in public settings. The goal upon completion of B-Block is for each Potential Client to pass a Public Access Test and take their Service Dog home on a probationary basis. Potential Clients who are not local to Castle Hayne North Carolina will travel home with a paws4people trainer for three days to train in their community environment. Training within your own community can consist of a visit to the Potential Client’s workplace, school environment, and more. Upon the successful completion of B-Block, a Potential Client moves into Conditional Client status and receives a Black Vest for their Service Dog. To read more about what it means to Black Vest, click here

Thirty days after successfully completing B-Block, Conditional Clients will return to the ADDIE’S Way campus for C- Block, which is a five-day training check in with staff. The goal of C-Block is to ensure that Conditional Clients are successfully utilizing the skill sets and disability tasks as trained in both A and B Blocks. C-Block will consist of wellness programing and hands-on training at both the campus and in public settings.

60 days after successfully completing C-Block, Conditional Clients will return to the ADDIE’S Way campus for D-Blcok, the final three-day training check in with staff. D-Block will exclusively consist of hands-on training at both the campus and in public settings. D-Block will culminate with a final Public Access Test so that the Conditional Client receives a Red Vest then becomes a certified and insured Client/Dog team.

At this juncture, Clients recertify annually, live, and in-person in the fourth quarter of each year to ensure paws4people’s highest standards of quality control and Dog safety are being maintained. Clients are welcome and encouraged to return to training to work with newer teams in a mentor capacity, or if they need additional skill sets. To learn more about the Red Vest and paws4people’s insurance, click here

In order to attend the Intervention Transfer Training® and Immersion Client Training Program, Clients are responsible for Tuition, Room and Board, and transportation to/from our headquarters campus in Castle Hayne NC. Tuition can be fundraised or paid directly and is spread across six milestones. Each Client will have a dedicated point of contact to assist them with their fundraising and/or payment plan. More information is available to those individuals who are invited to complete our application process. paws4people strongly encourages everyone to also visit our FAQ page by clicking here.

Are you interested in training as a Facility Handler?

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Reach Out

Contact us or submit an application

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Receive acceptance of an appropriate placement

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Participate in our proprietary training process

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Your Life

Live the rest of your life and reach your goals alongside your Assistance Dog