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Veterans Program FAQs

What the basic requirements?

Veterans must have a verifiable military-related disability, specifically Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Military Sexual Trauma (MST.)

Veterans must also be mentally, financially and physically capable of handling a dog.

How do I apply?

Please fill out the form below to see if you are a good fit for the program. Once you do, a member of our staff will get back to you in a timely manner.

Veterans who wish to participate in the program must have the ability, mobility and dexterity to actively train and control the dog and to follow verbal instruction from the training staff on a weekly basis for up to 24 months.

What happens after I apply?

Once a member of the team reaches out and determines qualification, introductory information and application forms will be sent via email. A health form completed by a member of your health care team indicating the recommendation of a service dog is required.

Please note that we do not train service dogs for other disabilities or tasks such as seizure detection, diabetic detection, hearing or vision impairment,  physical mobility issues beyond balance/stability, etc. If you have questions please call us at 801-792-1737

What happens after the paperwork is completed?

Once you have completed the application, we will schedule an interview to learn more about your needs and give your trainer a chance to introduce himself/herself. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions and gather information to determine if this program is a good fit for you.

Following the interview, you will begin Foundation Classes which consist of an overview of our training methods, the process of pairing a Canines With A Cause program dog with you, your responsibilities as a participant, time involved and a summary of service dogs and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Once you’ve attended Foundation Classes you will be placed in the queue for enrollment into training classes. Our staff then begins the process of pairing you with your new best buddy. We understand this needs to be a special bond between the handler and dog, so we take extra care in the matchmaking process.

How are dogs selected for the program?

CWAC finds dogs from high-volume shelters with specific traits to become service dogs for veterans.

Shelter dogs are carefully evaluated and selected to enter our program by our own experienced, professional trainers and animal behaviorist to assure the best possible chance for success.

In some cases, when these dogs enter our program, each is placed with a pair of  inmates in one of our partnering prisons where they learn basic obedience and socialization until they are permanently matched with a veteran.

If I already have a dog, can it be trained to be a service dog in your program?

This subject is addressed in the interview but the preliminary answer is “maybe”. Most dogs, generally speaking, aren’t able to meet the advanced training requirements to be considered a service dog, however many dogs can fulfill the needs of the client as a beloved companion dog. If you do not already have a dog in mind, we strongly suggest you begin working with our program before you commit to a dog on your own.

What is the training like?

CWAC Veteran/dog teams train using positive reinforcement methods. CWAC curriculum includes 300 hours of training, program clients are expected to go through all 6 levels of the program and pass the 5 corresponding training tests. The tests include a Beginner Level Evaluation, the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Test, Urban Canine Good Citizen Test, Advanced Canine Good Citizen Test and a Public Access Test. 

FOUNDATIONS – Classes discuss basic dog ownership

BEGINNER LEVEL – Must pass Beginner Test to move on

INTERMEDIATE 1 – Must pass Canine Good Citizen to move on

INTERMEDIATE 2 – Must pass Urban Canine Good Citizen to move on

ADVANCED LEVEL – Must pass Advanced Canine Good Citizen to move on

SERVICE DOG IN TRAINING – Must pass Public Access Test to be recognized as a service dog

Dogs in the program are not considered service dogs until they have completed all levels of training, have logged the required amount of training homework and have passed all levels of testing through the CWAC Training Program.

Where are the classes held?

Utah – CWAC’s main office and training room is located in Salt Lake City, UT. We utilize facilities in other locations such as VFW Halls and private training facilities.

Reno – We are grateful for the continued support of the American Legion for allowing us to use their space for our training.

Idaho – We are currently offering classes in Coeur d’Alene.

If I live outside of the area or outside of the state of Utah, Nevada, or Idaho, can I still get a dog?

CWAC does not provide fully trained service dogs; our program depends upon the veteran’s attendance in weekly classes, where we train the veteran to train their dog. We do not generally place dogs that we consider to be service dog candidates with anyone who is not enrolled in our training program, which means being within a reasonable commuting distance to one of our locations.

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