Community-Based Training Program

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Become an Assistance Dog Trainer

The FSDS Community-Based Training Program is a pioneering concept.  This hybrid program offers opportunities to a broad segment of the community.  While most programs either train the dogs and then place them, or provide team training, this program offers both.  Individuals who seek at acquire service dog (SD) training skills may apply to participate, and will learn to train SDs while raising a dog for someone in need.  At the same time, wounded military veterans or first responders who wish to train a dog for their own needs may elect to participate and train a dog for their own needs.

Download a copy of the CB Trainer Application Packet Sept_2017.

Eligibility Requirements

Those applicants for participation who wish to train a dog must:

  • be an AZ resident for at least one year
  • be at least high school age
  • be able to provide their own transportation to and from classes and field trips
  • be able to provide adequate care for the essential needs of the dog assigned during the training process
  • have no record of felony conviction or pending felony charges
  • be able to fully commit to 18 months of training
  • be physically able to safely participate in the training process from start to finish

If you are seeking to train a dog for your own needs- DO NOT attempt to secure your own dog first- the FSDS will select an appropriate, temperament tested and health cleared dog for you.

There are many benefits to be derived from this, including but not limited to:
  • permitting us to truly serve the entire community
  • including First Responders who have felt isolated builds an instant peer group / support network for them
  • as the dog begins to learn skills the individuals who will train their dogs benefit immediately without having to wait a year or longer to get a dog
  • by having the military and First Responders involved for the entire time alongside the youths, we build stronger bridges between these populations and enhance what has been set up to be a reciprocal mentoring experience
  • we are free to start classes at any time when funding permits, rather than be locked in to only starting a class in August with the new school year
  • as individuals gain knowledge, we will permit them to be a part of our Speakers Bureau if they desire- alleviating the current problem where they are out of a job and feel marginalized and unable to remain an active part of the military or first responder community

As the program grows and new classes are added, graduates who have learned how to train may apply to continue with us in a paid position as an intern instructor to continue to work towards the 6,000 hours we require to qualify as a Sr. Instructor.   This builds a career path so that individuals who may have felt forced into medical retirement now have an opportunity to gain employment with their SDs and help the next group through the process