Canines With a Cause is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing US Military Veterans the opportunity to overcome the challenges of PTSD and other psychological disabilities and gain independence through the process of training a dog. We are able to offer our services at no charge thanks to the generosity of individuals and businesses who donate with love and concern for our service men and women.

(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)

Our program is based on the philosophy that we ‘train the trainer.’ Studies show the benefits of a program like Canines With A Cause reach far beyond that of the service dog performing necessary tasks. Often, attending regular training classes, socializing and accomplishing training goals is therapeutic. Building confidence and achieving success are major factors in the recovery process.

Qualified Military Veterans are welcome to apply for Canines With a Cause training programs by completing the on-line form below. We will then forward introductory information and application forms. A health form completed by a member of your health care team indicating the recommendation of a service dog is required. 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. 

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. 

A question often asked is, can a participant use or obtain their own dog to train with as a service dog or for public access work instead of accepting one our rescued shelter dogs? 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.

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. 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.

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.

Teams go through the following sequence of training: 

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 Public Access Test to be recognized as a service dog 

Our goal is to encourage participation in the positive partnership training process while remaining flexible and aware of each client’s individual needs and disabilities. Some partnerships will strive to complete formal service dog certification while others may choose to train their dog to the skill level that best suits their needs.

Either way, this is a process and relationship that can last many months and Canines With a Cause is dedicated to providing our Military Veterans the knowledge, skills, and support to achieve their goals.

Canines With a Cause is grateful to all the men and women who have served the citizens of the United States Of America. We are, in turn, honored to have the opportunity to serve our soldiers and as a team, overcome the obstacles and challenges of PTSD, TBI, depression and anxiety.

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