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Service Dog Client Training

Learn about 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

paws4people® is proud to offer two Psychiatric Service Dog placement programs. Upon successful completion, both programs provide the Client with a certified and insured Psychiatric Service Dog at no direct cost*.

To qualify for these programs, individuals must have a documented diagnosis of PTSD, or experience mental health trauma symptom sets. 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.

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 to choose the program that best fits their needs and abilities.

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Intervention Transfer Training®️ (ITT)

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.

Due to the recurring monthly travel associated with this program, applicants living within a six-hour radius of Wilmington, NC are best suited.

Clients can expect to experience a challenging, yet rewarding experience where they will learn the skills, and patience to handle a Psychiatric Service Dog. In this process, most of the Client’s training will take place in public venues. Clients will learn how best to use their dog to Control, Regulate, and Mitigate® their symptom sets.

Typically, Clients can expect to take their dog home after six consecutive ITT’s; however, every Client and dog team is different. We take this into account when considering when a dog should be sent home with their Client. Therefore, more than six consecutive ITT’s may be required. Based on our accreditation standards, every Client must complete a minimum of four ITTs.

Training takes place at the ADDIE’S Way campus in Castle Hayne, NC, at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and at various public training venues within the Wilmington community.

Estimated Cost Associated with ITT

Tuition and Room: $40/day
Groceries (purchased on your own): $150/weekly
Travel by Air: Varies depending on location of origin but on average $600 roundtrip each session
Travel by Vehicle: Varies depending on location of origin but on average $215 roundtrip each session

* Based on 360-mile roundtrip

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Immersion Client Training Program (ICTP)

The ICTP offers out-of-state Clients an opportunity to stay at ADDIE’S Way: our serene, 11-acre K9-centric Post Traumatic Growth® Campus. During their four weeks stay on campus, Clients will be matched with their Service Dog and complete the immersion training program. This accelerated program allows Clients to train five days a week, for up to four consecutive weeks.

This intensive program is best for individuals who are experiencing significant challenges with activities of daily living due to their PTSD symptoms. Geographically, this program is designed for residents who reside more than six hours away from Wilmington, NC, so that staying on-campus makes this intensive program much more realistic to complete. Although selection for this program is on a case-by-case basis, it is preferred that ICTP applicants have successfully completed a prior PTSD program.

While attending the ICTP, Clients can expect their mornings to be focused on K9-centric Post-Traumatic Growth® programming followed by a full day of Public Access training with their Service Dog. While we are working on expanding our programming to include Trauma-Informed Yoga, we currently offer Clients the ability to engage with our on-campus K9 bakery, on-campus Puppy Development Center, and other activities including a trauma-adapted approach to LEGO® Serious Play®.


The duration of the ICTP is intended to be four-weeks long. While it is the intention for a Client to take their Service Dog home at the end of the four-week training session, this will vary on a case-by-case basis, and an evaluation of the Client’s progress. Some Clients may be required to stay longer, or to return for an additional session, to complete additional training such that the Team is set up for success.

While attending our ICTP, Clients will stay in our dormitory facility at our ADDIE’S Way Campus in Castle Hayne, NC. During their stay, each Client has access to a private bedroom, communal restroom, laundry, and a fully equipped communal kitchen.

Estimated Cost Associated with ICTP

Tuition and Room: $40/day
Groceries (purchased on your own): $150/weekly
Travel by Air: Varies depending on location of origin but on average $600 roundtrip each session
Travel by Vehicle: Varies depending on location of origin but on average $215 roundtrip each session

* Long term financial responsibilities for the Psychiatric Service Dog will be covered verbally and in writing during the application process before the Applicant makes any final commitment to participate. There is no charge for the Psychiatric Service Dog.

Are you interested in training as a Facility Handler?

Start the Journey

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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