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.

(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.

The basic requirements to join the program include attending a 90 minute Orientation meeting, submitting a program application and other documentation plus a health form completed by a member of your health care team indicating the recommendation for a service dog. 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. 

The Orientation meetings are presented by our senior staff to give you 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. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions and gather information so you can determine if this program is a good fit for you.

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 Orientation meeting and the 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 an assistance dog or 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 female inmates in the Utah Department Of Corrections where they learn basic obedience and socialization until they are permanently matched with a veteran.

Once you’ve attended the Orientation and submitted the required documents you will be placed in the queue for enrollment into training classes. The Beginning Handler Course is the first segment, consisting of 8 weekly classes held in the Salt Lake training facility. After successfully completing the Beginning Handler Course, our staff 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.

As the handler and dog teams move into intermediate classes, pass the Canines Good Citizen Test, then the dog can be known as a Service Dog In Training. The graduate can then move forward into advanced training classes.

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.


Our complete Program Overview can be seen HERE


Serving Utah’s Wasatch Front Region military community including Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, Tooele, Davis, Weber, Wasatch, Summit, Salt Lake, Utah Counties and for any other areas for those who can attend regular training classes. Canines with a Cause is a registered 501 (c)(3) non profit organization, funded entirely by donations, we receive no government or VA assistance.


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