Step One – Contact Us

Contact our office via completing the online form. If it is determined an assistance dog is appropriate, an application packet is mailed to your home.

Step Two – Apply

Return the completed written application form, medical reference form, personal reference form.

Step Three – Approval Process

After review and check of all references, the Client Services staff will call to schedule an initial interview at the ADAI Training Center. The videotaped interview allows the staff to observe the specific needs of the applicant, the ability to properly care for a dog and determine the client’s commitment to the process. At the initial interview the $50 application fee is due.  A staff committee reviews the report and videotape to determine acceptance to our program.

Step Four – Waiting Period

Once you are accepted, you are placed on our waiting list for a service or therapy dog. While on the waiting list, you are asked to complete required reading with follow-up questions to prepare you for client team training. You may also want to inquire about support from your local community to assist ADAI in supporting your new assistance dog.

Step Five – Find a Match

When ADAI determines a dog is available that fits your needs, you are notified and consumer team training is scheduled. If you live out-of-town, you are required to make your own arrangements to stay at a hotel close to our Education and Training Facility in Sylvania, Ohio. A list of recommended extended stay facilities is provided. You also need to provide your own transportation to and from our facility and for the public outing portion of our client team training.

Step Six – Team Training

Our consumer team training is a two-week class training program for service dogs, and five days for our therapy dog training program. Team training consists of lectures, information, practice and community outings with your new canine partner. This time starts the bonding process that will last a lifetime.

Step Seven – Probation Period Begins

After completing team training, you and your new assistance dog return home and start adjusting and learning to work together in your home, work, and school environments. You are required to check in with our training staff on a weekly basis. A home visit is done after 30 to 45 days to help with any problem solving and issues that can arise with the dog changing environments.

Step Eight – 6 Month Brush Up

After being home for 6 months, the graduates return to ADAI for a day long brush up class. At this point, the service dog graduates have their first public access test. The ADI Public Access Test is administered to determine eligibility for safe public access with the new team.

Step Nine – Probation Period Ends

At 18 months, the second public access test will be administered. After two successful tests, the probationary period is complete and ownership is transferred to the graduate. *Only the service dogs must complete the public access test.


Step Ten – Ongoing Support

Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence is there to support you and your dog for the life of your dog. Our training staff is available for assistance with continued training and with public access issues. After three successful yearly public access tests, the test will then be administered every other year. These bi-annual tests are required to continue public access rights for our service dog graduates.


The result of all this hard work and dedication is a new beginning for you with a highly skilled canine partner to improve your quality of life.