While it is not required, it is highly recommended that a suitable area for relieving and exercising of dogs be worked out with the consumer. Other alternatives are cable runs or invisible fencing systems. It is very important that consumers are able to provide regular daily eliminating opportunities and appropriate exercise for our large breed dogs. This is most easily accomplished with a fenced-in area.

Prior to receiving their dogs, many consumers go to various individuals and groups in their community to ask for financial support. These organizations are often willing to set up fundraisers to defray your travel and living expenses during your training class.

Currently, the average wait is 12 to 18 months. The waiting list is a necessity to place the dog with the appropriate consumer based on the dog’s strengths and the consumer’s needs and environment.

ADAI uses information obtained from applications and personal interviews conducted by our staff to match the skills and qualities of each dog with the needs and desires of each consumer

A consumer who has a mobility disability or children with special needs may qualify for an assistance dog if the following are requirements are met:

If applying for a service dog,

  • If applying for a service dog, consumer is 12 years of age or older
  • If applying for a therapy dog, child is 5 years of age or older
  • Applicant lives within a 250-mile radius of ADAI training facility in Sylvania, Ohio.

Foster Family

Each dog has been through a 2-to-4 week evaluation at our Education and Training Center. During this time, general suitability for our program will be determined. Our staff will spend some time evaluating the trainability of each dog by introducing it to some basic obedience commands. During his foster home training he will learn basic obedience, house manners, experience public situation exposure and socialization. Some volunteers also teach their trainees some of the advanced service dog functions under the supervision of an ADAI staff trainer. After the Foster Home Curriculum has been successfully completed, the dog returns to the ADAI’s facility to complete its training.

ADAI spays and neuters all dogs at the age of 1 year unless the dog has been identified as a candidate for our breeding program.

You will be responsible for small miscellaneous expenses such as toys, treats, and grooming supplies. ADAI provides all dog food, preventative medicine, and assumes responsibility for any vet bills during the foster period.

Fill out the Foster Application. After we receive your completed application, one of our staff will schedule an interview with you at your home. If the foster home arrangements are agreeable to all concerned, you will be placed on our foster list and notified when an appropriate dog is available.

Meet with an ADAI trainer individually or in class setting on a regular basis.
Socialize your dog in a variety of public places.
Keep a weekly/daily journal of your dog’s progress, problems, etc.
Train your dog daily in accordance with the ADAI techniques and philosophies as indicated in the Foster Home Manual.
Provide transportation to the vet, when the need arises.
Provide a safe, clean, and loving environment for your dog.
Provide a secure, confined area for your dog to exercise and relieve himself.

ADAI primarily utilizes Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers.

Dogs remain with fosters for the first year and a half of their lives, but this time is not always spent with a single foster. Therefore, the length of time a dog stays with you can vary. You will need to spend structured time training with your dog for about 15 minutes a day. Your dog should be taken in public areas three times a week. In addition, you are required to meet with an ADAI trainer on a regular basis to discuss your dog’s progress and receive instruction on our training methods.


No. A consumer receives a temporary access tag during his or her 18 month probationary period. The consumer needs to incorporate ADAI’s basic cues into a daily routine to continue regular training with his or her dog in the home and in the community. During the probationary period, the consumer is encouraged to communicate as often as necessary with an ADAI staff trainer to review any problems he or she might be experiencing. Before receiving final certification and ownership of the assistance dog, an ADAI staff member will visit each consumer to evaluate the connection with the dog at home and in public to determine eligibility for team certification.

No. The decision on how each consumer is working with his or her dog as a viable team is monitored by an ADAI staff member daily during training class. The final decision on each consumer’s ability to return home with the assistance dog will depend on successful graduation of the program. ADAI staff members will make that final decision.

After the first two or three days of training class, the dogs will begin spending all their time with their respective partners, returning to their hotels with them in the evening, having breakfast with them in the morning, etc. During that time, consumers will assume the responsibilities for exercising, feeding, and grooming of their dogs.

If consumers live outside a daily driving distance to our facility, they often stay at a hotel near the training center or with friends who live in the area.

Application Process

The only fees required by ADAI are the application and equipment fees. These fees help to offset the travel expenses for home interviews, paperwork, and supplies provided once the dog is placed with a consumer.

Currently, the average wait for a dog is 2 to 4 years. If you require a breed that is considered less allergenic the wait can be longer.

ADAI chooses dogs for each consumer based on your application and personal interview. ADAI primarily uses Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and mixes thereof.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, fill out the on-line questionnaire or contact ADAI at 419-885-5733 for an Application Packet. Upon receipt, you will be required to provide written information about you, a medical reference form, and a personal reference form. You will need to send the completed application forms and a $50 non-refundable application fee to ADAI. A staff member from ADAI will contact you for a phone interview after we have received your application. If you qualify, an interview will be scheduled with our client services staff. The interview will be videotaped and reviewed by our training staff for approval. If you are approved, you will be placed on our waiting list for an assistance dog.

Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence pairs dogs with children and adults who have mobility-impaired disabilities or special needs. Individuals who wish to apply for a service dog must be at least 12 years of age. Individuals who wish to apply for a special needs therapy dog must be at least 5 years of age. Applicants must live within a 250-mile radius of Northwest Ohio.