CWAC Program Overview
P a g e | 1
Canines with a Cause (CWAC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of developing programs to assist individuals in gaining independence through the process of training a 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.
Unlike other service or companion dog programs, CWAC provides classes for program participants to learn to train a dog for public access with the following key principles:
1. A positive partnership between dog and handler, based upon mutual trust and respect helps to develop an emotional bond between the pair and a better working team. This is also one of the most successful and cost effective ways to train a potential service dog.
2. Shelter dogs used in the program are evaluated and matched with a program participant via the dog’s temperament and compatibility with the life style of the program participant.
3. Individuals/families accepted into the program must have the capacity to care for and bond with a dog. Having a physical or mental challenge that could be assisted by a dog is not the only criteria for acceptance into the program; team progress is regularly evaluated.
Each Canine Partnership (CP) will have unique abilities and goals. Each person’s support system and needs will be assessed to determine the type of training program that will best assist the individual in reaching their desired goals. CWAC trainers use only the most current, positive methods of training to build trust, respect and lasting bonds between humans and dogs.
P a g e | 2
Participants will enter the program with their own dog to train or work with CWAC trainers in obtaining
a dog well suited to their needs. Our goal is to encourage participation in the training process while
remaining flexible and aware of each participant’s individuals and abilities. Some partnerships will
strive to complete formal service dog certification while others may choose to train their dog in only
those skills they need and want.
1. Submit Application, Client Health Form, Client Dog Description and proof of vaccinations (if client
has a dog) and Letter of Agreement.
2. Application review by CWAC administrative staff member for client to be accepted into program.
3. Attend orientation meeting to learn about our programs.
4. Interview/Evaluation by CWAC trainer for dog to be accepted into program (if client has a dog).
5. Interview with CWAC trainer regarding needs/parameters for adopting a dog.
6. Complete application files will be added to the introductory training course waiting list. A CWAC
trainer will contact you to discuss start dates.
CWAC Training Program Course Descriptions
1. Maintain satisfactory attendance record. Individual courses have different attendance requirements.
2. Practice/complete homework.
3. Come prepared to class.
4. Use only humane training methods and training equipment.
5. Keep dog in good health and groomed.
6. Keep dog on a leash at all times in class and out in public unless otherwise instructed.
7. Clean up after dog.
8. Keep dog under control at all times.
9. Dogs must be neutered before entering the intermediate handler course.
P a g e | 3
Beginning Handler Course
In this eight week course, owners learn basics of how dogs learn, positive training techniques & relationship building. Dogs learn basic skills such as sit, attention, down, wait, stay, walking on leash, recall and targeting. Class works on basic manners such as polite greetings, changing unwanted behaviors, etc. There will be significant instruction on clicker training and positive reinforcement training techniques. It is expected that participants will dutifully apply these techniques and principles, as there is a formal skills evaluation upon completion of the course. Participants who do not meet basic requirements in this area will be asked to spend additional time in the beginner course. Participants must attend seven out of the eight sessions in order to receive credit for the course.
If you are a veteran who is hoping to adopt a CWAC dog, you are likely to work with several different dogs during this class. We would like to see you in action with a wide range of sizes and personalities so that we may better assist in pairing a dog with you.
Intermediate Handler Course—Preparing for the Public
The Intermediate Handler Course is designed to introduce key elements of working with a dog in public environments. Class sessions will focus on topics such as working with distractions, proofing behaviors, service dog access laws, and more. Additionally, handler teams will prepare for certification under the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program. Handler teams who successfully complete the CGC test earn the CGC title and qualify for registry with CWAC as a service dog in training. This designation allows you and your dog to enjoy the same access rights and responsibilities as a formal service dog team. Registration must be renewed every six months. Participants in this course are expected to maintain a 75% attendance rate over any three month period.
For veterans who are adopting a CWAC dog, the formal pairing begins during this class and can take up to 6 months as we find a dog that meets your specific requirements.
Advanced Handler Course—
The Advanced Handler Course focuses on two primary areas, individual skills training and preparation for the Public Access Test developed by Assistance Dogs International. Teams will work on the development of skills your dog can perform to assist with your daily routine. Examples of such behaviors are picking up dropped items, extended sit/stays at a distance, opening/closing doors, and waking from nightmares. Teams must demonstrate the dog’s reliable performance of skills with a verbal cue.
P a g e | 4
The class will meet at least 50% of the time in public locations. Participants will be introduced to the ADI public access test, and must satisfactorily complete the test 2-3 times to demonstrate mastery in public. Successful teams will earn service dog registry through CWAC. This registration must be renewed annually. 75% attendance rate over any three month period is required.
Requirements for Registration as a Service Dog
1. Complete the beginning handler class
2. Complete intermediate handler class and pass the AKC CGC test.
3. Complete advanced handler course: dog must reliably demonstrate 3 disability related skills and team must complete public access testing protocol
4. Sign CWAC’s agreement concerning Service Dog Standards.
5. Registration expires one year from date of issue
As you can see, there are many steps to this process and there are no guarantees for success. What we can guarantee is that we will provide professional instruction to help you achieve your stated goals. This process is likely to take two years or more, and we have found it to be immensely challenging and rewarding. We look forward to your participation!
Canines With a Cause
PO Box 680426
Park City, UT 84068