Where to Get a Service Dog in Canada
If you’re wondering where to get a service dog in Canada, check this out. In this easy directory, we will go through various options for different disabilities and needs. There are a lot of options if you are looking to add a service dog into your life, or the life of someone you love.
But, it’s probably not going to be an easy journey. Service dogs are expensive, and organizations that provide professionally trained dogs free of charge often have long waiting lists (years).
You might be able to train a dog yourself, or with the help of a trainer. This will, of course, take a lot of time and financial resources. Or, you could find a for-profit organization to help you out.
Be aware that service dog organizations in Canada (and the U.S., too) are not government regulated at this time, so it’s really important to do your homework when researching one. We have tried to do a bit of it here for you in this article. Let’s jump right in (no particular order).
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of where to get a service dog in Canada; just some options that are Assistance Dogs International accredited.
Be sure to also check out:
- Service Dog Ontario Epic Guide, Laws, FAQ + More
- Service Dogs in Alberta – Comprehensive Guide & Laws
Assistance Dogs International Accredited Organizations Located in Canada
Let’s begin with the Assistance Dogs International accredited programs. These are non-profit programs. They professionally train service dogs and provide them to the people who need them, often at no charge.
It’s important to note that many of these organizations have long wait lists (2 years or more) and some are not accepting applications at this time.
Nevertheless, here are some not-for-profit programs in Canada that you might potentially be able to arrange for a service dog – eventually. All of them have been accredited by Assistance Dogs International, which really is “The Global Authority in the Assistance Dogs industry.”
ADI accredits not-for-profit programs that place assistance dogs to ensure that they adhere to the highest standards in all aspects of their operations, including ethical treatment and training of dogs, ethical treatment of clients, solid service dog training and follow-up care. Only the not-for-profit programs that have been accredited can be a member of ADI. ADI does not provide membership to individuals or for-profit programs.Assistance Dogs International
1. BC and Alberta Guide Dogs
BC and Alberta Guide Dogs is a registered charity, and an Assistance Dogs International accredited organization. and professionally trains dogs for citizens of British Columbia and Alberta. They train:
- Guide Dogs
- Autism Service Dogs
- PTSD Service Dogs
- Guide Dogs are bred, raised and professionally trained for people who are blind or visually-impaired
- There is no cost to the recipient
- It takes up to 2 years and costs the charity up to $35,000 to produce each guide dog
Autism Service Dogs
- Autism Service Dogs are professionally trained and provided to children with profound autism ages 3-10 and their families
- There is no cost to the recipient
- It takes up to 2 years and costs the charity up to $35,000 to produce each Autism Service Dog
PTSD Service Dogs
- Applicants must have psychological injuries and trauma-related injuries as designated in the DSM-V caused by performance of their occupation as a Veteran or First Responder
- VICD (a division of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs) matches recipients with a Service Dog that meets all of the Assistance Dogs International (ADI) standards
- Together they embark on a unique 52-Week Healthy Community Living Program
- Application Form
- Applicants must meet the Aanderson Criteria, and must have a letter from a medical professional, stating the criteria has been met
Contact BC and Alberta Guide Dogs
BC Head Office (Greater Vancouver)
Tel: 604.940.4504 Fax: 604.940.4506
Toll-free within North America: 1.877.940.4504
Alberta Office (Calgary)
Toll-free in Alberta: 1.877.258.0819
2. Autism Service Dogs, Inc.
Autism Service Dogs, Inc., is one option for where to get a service dog in Canada, and it’s an Assistance Dogs International accredited, registered charity.
- They provide highly effective autism service dogs for children in between the ages of three to 18 years of age with autism and related disorders
- They serve most parts of Southwestern Ontario
- All interested applicants have the right to be considered to receive a service dog
- Each ADS service dog enables a child, who might otherwise feel isolated, to build self-esteem, and participate in important things like school and community life
Contact Autism Service Dogs Inc.
102 North Park Street, Brantford, ON N3R 4K1, Canada
3. Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind
Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind is an Assistance Dogs International accredited organization. It is a national, charitable organization, and relies 100% on donations and fundraising.
- Clients lease the guide dog for $1.00
- Clients are responsible for the care, feeding and veterinary costs
- Clients can apply to the Veterinary Reimbursement Fund for routine expenses
- You are eligible to apply if you are registered as legally blind, a permanent resident of Canada, and at least 16 years old
Contact Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind
PO Box 280, Manotick, ON K4M 1A3 Canada
4. COPE Service Dogs
COPE Service Dogs is an Assitance Dogs International accredited organization.
- Specializes in training dogs for people with mobility disabilities
- Clients live within a 3 hour drive from the Barrie, Ontario
COPE Service Dogs Does NOT Deal with the Following:
- Guide dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired
- Hearing dogs for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Seizure alert/response dogs for people with epilepsy
- Diabetic alert dogs for people with diabetes
- Autism assistance dogs
- Psychiatric service dogs for people with PTSD, depression, anxiety or any other psychiatric disability
Contact COPE Service Dogs
P.O. Box 20035, Barrie, ON L4M 6E9, Canada
5. Dog Guides Canada
Dog Guides Canada – Lions Foundation of Canada – is a registered charity, as well as an Assistance Dogs International accredited member. Their mission is “to empower Canadians with disabilities to navigate their world with confidence and independence by providing Dog Guides at no cost to them and supporting each pair in their journey together.”
Each Dog Guide team costs approximately $35,000 from breeding to training. The foundation relies on donations and does not receive any government funding. They provide:
- Canine Vision Dogs
- Hearing Dogs for folks 10 years of age or older and who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Seizure Response Dogs for folks 10 years of age or older with epilepsy are capable of activating an alert system. They can also bark for help in the event of a seizure
- Service Dogs for folks 10 years of age or older with physical or medical disabilities
- Autism Assistance Dogs help children between 3 and 12 years of age who are on the autism spectrum. These special Dog Guides provide safety, companionship, unconditional love, a calming relief for children in high anxiety situations, and reduce the stress commonly experienced in public places
- Diabetic Alert Dogs help people aged 10 or older who are insulin dependant with hypo-glycemic unawareness
- Facility Support Dogs
- Career Change Dogs
Contact Dog Guides Canada
152 Wilson Street, Oakville, ON L6K 0G6, Canada
6. Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society
Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society is another option for where to get a service dog in Canada, and is an Assistance Dogs International accredited member. They provide trained service dogs to the people who need them for $1, even though the cost to train one dog is around $40,000. Dogs with Wings relies on donations and fundraising. Their dogs are:
- Service Dogs for physical disabilities and mobility conditions
- Autism Service Dogs for children between the ages of 3 and 10 years and help with sensory regulation, companionship, sleep disturbance, stress and anxiety reduction, social facilitation with peers, safety and independence
- Facility Dogs
- Companion Dogs
Contact Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society
11343 – 174 Street NW, Edmonton, AB T5S 0B7, Canada
7. National Service Dog Training Centre, Inc.
Another option for where to get a service dog in Canada is the National Service Dog Training Centre, Inc., is an Assistance Dogs International accredited organization.
- Certified Service Dogs for Autism – for people who live within Canada and have an official Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, and are between the ages of two and eight
- Certified Service Dogs for PTSD used to assist individuals living with long-term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Canine Assisted Intervention – opportunities to integrate CAI Dogs into a variety of treatment plans are numerous, from mental health, addictions, literacy, physical therapy and more
- Companion Dogs – are placed with children 18 years of age and under with various disabilities, and these dogs do not have public access or any specific skills training aside from basic obedience
- Very Important Pets – with the four programs, NSD are able to place over 83% of dogs with clients. Dogs who are not suitable for programming transition into pet dogs
Contact National Service Dog Training Centre, Inc.,
1286 Cedar Creek Road, Cambridge, Ontario N1R 5S5, Canada
8. Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS)
Pacific Assistance Dogs Society is an Assistance Dogs International accredited organization located in British Columbia. PADS breeds, raises and trains fully certified assistance dogs.
Their mobility and PTSD, and hearing dogs, provide life-changing independence. PADS provides dogs to people with physical disabilities other than blindness.
Their accredited facility dogs work with community professionals, such as teachers, RCMP and psychologists to help support healthy communities.
- Service Dogs for physical disabilities other than blindness
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Service Dogs are trained to support First Responders and Veterans with C-PTSD or PTSD
- Hearing Dogs
- Facility Dogs
- VIP Dogs
9048 Stormont Ave, Burnaby, BC V3N 4G6, Canada
Assistance Dogs International Accredited Organizations That Serve Canada
This may sound strange, but perhaps when searching for where to get a service dog in Canada, your dog might not actually be in Canada (yet).
The following organizations are not necessarily located in Canada, but they do serve Canada and Canadians. This means that it’s possible to be placed with one of these dogs, but you may need to travel.
You may need to pay for all associated costs of traveling for training with the dog and related activities. However, many programs do cover the cost of transportation, and other expenses for you. Check with individual organizations to learn more.
Understandably, not everyone with a disability is able to travel, but I thought I would list these here, just in case.
9. Duo Dogs
Duo Dogs is an Assistance Dogs International accredited organization, and since 1981, has placed over 115 dogs across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Today, they have 101 assistance dogs working.
- Duo Dogs places all of its dogs at no cost to the client
- There is a $100 application fee and you will also be responsible for the cost of equipment
- All interested individuals need to complete an application
- When you’re approved, and placed with a dog, you’ll need to attend a two-week “Team Training” in St. Louis to receive your dog
- Duo Dogs has a 20,000-square-foot headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri
Duo Dogs trains:
- Mobility Service Dogs
- Hearing Service Dogs
- PTSD Service Dogs
Contact Duo Dogs
10. Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc.
Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc. welcomes people who are blind or visually impaired. It is located 45 minutes outside Manhattan. They serve all of the United States, Canada and Mexico and currently have graduates from Brazil, Israel and El Salvador. It is Assistance Dogs International accredited.
In order to apply for a guide dog, applicants must:
- Be legally blind
- Demonstrate the need for a guide dog to help you remain safe and effective in your everyday travel
- They also look for clients that can independently travel practical and purposeful routes with their current mobility device
Contact Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc.
Phone: (631) 930-9000
371 East Jericho Turnpike, in Smithtown, NY (Long Island)
11. Guide Dogs for the Blind
Guide Dogs for the Blind is located in California, and is the largest guide dog school in North America. More than 16,000 guide dog teams have graduated from the U.S. and Canada since 1942. It is Assistance Dogs International accredited.
All of the services for our clients are provided free of charge, this includes:
- Personalized training
- Extensive post-graduation support
- Financial assistance for veterinary care, if needed
- This organization relies on generous support of donors and volunteers, and receive no government funding
Contact Guide Dogs for the Blind
12. Guide Dogs of America / Tender Loving Canines
Guide Dogs of America / Tender Loving Canines’ is a registered non-profit organization, with headquarters in Sylmar, California (Los Angeles area). It’s Assistance Dogs International Accredited.
They have programs for:
- Visually Impaired – must be legally blind, at least 18 years old
- Autism – for ages 6 to 16 years
- Veterans – Veteran applicants must be honorably discharged with a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Military Sexual Trauma and/or a mobility limiting disability
- Facility Dogs
Just some of the services they offer are:
- A professionally trained, highly qualified, expertly matched service dog
- Personalized instruction in how to care for and work with your service dog
- Public transportation to and from the school
- Room and board during the 1 to 3-week in-residence training program
- Veterinary care at their on-campus clinic
- Extensive post-graduate support services
- Training follow-up sessions
- Boarding Services
Contact Guide Dogs of America / Tender Loving Canines
13. Leader Dogs for the Blind
Leader Dogs for the Blind recipients must be at least 16 years old and legally blind. You must be physically and emotionally capable of caring for a dog. It is an Assistance Dogs International accredited organization. It is located in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
There is no charge for any of their programs and services. This includes the guide dog, equipment, training, transportation to and from campus, and room and board during training.
They offer some unique options, including:
- Guide dog training program for people who are Deaf-Blind
- Free GPS device and training
- An accelerated program to teach orientation & mobility
- Summer camp for teens to incorporate teaching leadership skills, orientation & mobility skills and self-advocacy
- Customized services for those who can’t leave work or family for a long period of time
- Urban guide dog training for clients who live, work or travel in big city environments
- Warm weather training during the winter for clients who live in temperate climates
- On-campus follow-up services for college students who recently received their first Leader Dog
Contact Leader Dogs for the Blind
1039 S. Rochester Rd., Rochester Hills, MI 48307-3115
14. Little Angels Service Dogs
Little Angels Service Dogs is an Assistance Dogs International accredited organization. It has locations in San Diego, California and Bartlett, New Hampshire.
- There is a $30 application fee
- The recipient will be responsible for 1/4 of the total expenses of the dog, which is $9,500
- Little Angles we will be available to guide you through the process of fundraising
- The costs for travel expenses are separate from the amount raised for the service dog
- Recipients who don’t live close to the facilities will need to travel and stay near for the two weeks of handler training
- Travel expenses vary and are the responsibility of the recipient
Little Angles places the following types of dogs:
- Autism Assistance Dogs
- Hearing Assistance Dogs
- Mobility Assistance Dogs
- Psychiatric Service Dogs
- Seizure Alert Dogs
- Diabetic Alert Dogs
Contact Little Angles
paws4people’s is Assistance Dogs International accredited, and its main headquarters is in Castle Hayne, North Carolina. The average cost of a fully trained dog is $100,000. Each dog is provided to the client or handler at NO COST. paws4people specializes in training customized dogs for:
- Children and adolescents with physical, neurological, psychiatric, and/or emotional disabilities
- Veterans and Service Members with Chronic/Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma, and Moral Injury
Mobility Assistance (MAD) Dogs
- Can help people with equilibrium or vertigo
- Mobility limitations
- And related disabilities
- Dogs can provide balance, stability, and wheelchair support
Sensory Development / Tactile Pressure (STP)
- A Physical and/or Neurological Assistance Dog that is specially trained for people with developmental disabilities
- Medical Alert Assistance Dog are specially trained to enable people with psychiatric disabilities to lead more independent lives
- Dogs can help by performing tasks that a person otherwise could not do
- Or, tasks that someone would have extreme difficulty doing for themselves
- The most common diagnosis are: Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), Complex-Post-Traumatic Stress (CPTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and/or Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and various personality disorders
- These dogs are trained to perform tasks like search specific rooms before their handler enters, interrupt nightmares, alert their handler to someone approaching from behind, and detect changes in their handler’s cortisol levels, and physically interrupt disruptive episodes
Allergen Detection (ALG)
- A Medical Alert Assistance Dog specially trained to sniff out a particular substance based on an a person’s allergies
- Once the dog detects the allergy substance, they are trained to alert their handler, or someone nearby, to notify them of the presence of the scent
Incident Response (IRD)
- Medical Alert Assistance Dogs are trained to respond to an emergency situation
- Then, they perform a pre-defined set of commands to provide notification of the individual’s condition
- They may alert a family member or caregiver, retrieve emergency medications, or press a medical alert button
- When assistance arrives, the dog can be trained to open the door and direct the responder to the handler
- These dogs are trained specifically to mitigate symptoms of numerous disabilities including seizures, brain aneurisms, or heart conditions
Diabetes Alert (DAD)
- A Medical Alert Assistance Dog specially trained to identify changes in scent as a result of hypoglycemia or abnormally low blood sugar and to alert the handler or a caretaker
- Diabetes Alert Dogs are taught to recognize changes in the handler’s blood sugar level and alert the handler to check the level or take medication
Hearing Alert (HRG)
- A Medical Alert Assistance Dog trained to assist people with hearing disabilities by alerting them to everyday sounds – a ringing doorbell or a knock on the door, a telephone, an alarm clock, or a smoke detector
- Outside, they may alert the handler to a siren sound, a vehicle’s back-up beep, or someone calling the handler’s name
- Hearing Alert Dogs are trained to get the handler’s attention and lead the handler to the source of the sound.
16. The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs
The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs is Assistance Dogs International accredited, and is located in Salem, Oregon.
- Their service dogs are bred specifically for temperament
- The dogs are trained by inmates in two of Oregon’s Correctional institutions & at the Oregon State Hospital
- Dogs are trained at a variety of locations, including at their facility in Salem, Oregon, the Oregon Correctional facilities, and throughout the Willamette Valley by volunteer puppy socializers
They offer the following programs and training:
- JLAD Trained Mobility and PTSD Service Dogs
- Owner Trained Mobility & PTSD Service Dogs
Contact the Joys of Living Assistance Dogs
Phone: (503) 551-4572
17. The Seeing Eye
The seeing eye is Assistance Dogs International accredited and is located in Morristown, New Jersey.
The seeing eye:
- Breeds and raises puppies to become Seeing Eye Dogs
- Trains Seeing Eye dogs to guide people who are blind
- Teaches blind people in the proper use, handling, and care of the dogs
- Conducts and supports research on canine health and development
Contact The Seeing Eye
More to come…