Atlas Assistance Dogs helps people with disabilities train their own service dog so that they can gain greater independence in their daily lives. Along with our clients and their dogs, we are helping to democratize service dog training so that service dogs aren't only for people who have the money to afford one or who are lucky enough to obtain a trained dog from an institution. We challenge traditional assumptions about who can train service dogs, how dogs should be trained, and what dogs and people can accomplish together. Many people, including many in the service dog world, believe that people with disabilities can’t train their own service dog. Our clients are helping to show that they can!
We create a customized training plan for each client and their dog. We teach clients disability-mitigating skills and how to self-advocate. We help refine the dog’s and client’s ability to work in distracting public environments and ensure they have the skills and confidence necessary to navigate anywhere they go in day-to-day life. We use only positive, ethical, fear-free training methods. We treat both our clients and their dogs with respect and kindness.
Our skilled Team Facilitator volunteers work hands on, at least twice a month, with our clients and their dogs, training and coaching them throughout the program over a period of at least six months. A client-dog team that passes our Public Access Test at the end of the program, is established as a certified Atlas team and earns their vest and ID card.
Atlas does not have a physical location. We support clients across the United States, as long as we have Team Facilitators available in their area to work with them. Our clients take online courses coupled with their one-on-one in person training, so the hands-on training is conducted in all the places the client regularly frequents.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (March 2023)