How Does the Training Program Work?
Each month, a cohort of 10-12 veterans arrives at our headquarters for a three-week, in-house training program at no cost to them. K9s For Warriors provides a trained service canine, housing, all meals, equipment, veterinary care, and 120 hours of training in a family-type atmosphere that provides essential peer-to-peer support. The service canine is already trained when it is paired with the veteran. The three-week training period is to teach the veteran how to use his/her new service dog, and to facilitate the bonding necessary for the two to be a successful team.
The program includes public access testing, service canine equipment, seminars, veterinary care, meals, and housing.
What kind of assistance dogs does K9s For Warriors train and provide?
We provide service dogs trained to perform tasks to mitigate a disability. K9s For Warriors is an accredited program by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and upholds the highest standards for service dog training for military veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and/or military sexual trauma (MST).
Who is eligible to apply for the program?
K9s For Warriors provides for veterans who became disabled while serving our country on or after 9/11/01. Applicants must have a verified clinical diagnosis of PTSD, TBI, or MST to qualify for our program. At this time, K9s For Warriors does not provide service dogs to individuals who are legally blind or hearing impaired.
What is the application process?
Once a warrior submits an application it can take 2-4 weeks to be fully processed. The Warrior Relations team will go through the application, perform a background check, and conduct a phone interview with the veteran applicant to learn more about his/her disbility(ies), home and work environment, personality, and family. This information allows K9s For Warriors to train and provide the best dog suitable for each warrior's needs. Once accepted into the program, a warrior is scheduled for a class date and paired with a peer mentor who is a graduate of the program. Our team remains in constant communication with veterans on the waitlist to answer any questions, provide emotional support, as well as assist with travel to and from K9s For Warriors.
What happens if I am accepted into the program?
Should you be accepted to attend our academy, you must be able to attend a three-week long residential course in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Our campuses are dry, and we provide all transportation.
How much does the program cost?
The cost to train and place a service dog is approximately $27,000. However, there is no cost to veterans to attend training and receive a service dog, other than travel to and from K9s For Warriors. Alternatively, we have a list of organizations that may be able to help with travel. (You will be responsible for expenses such as souvenirs, tobacco, etc.)
Is there a waitlist?
Yes, at this time the waitlist is about 18 months. However, changes are known to happen that allow applicants to arrive months ahead of their scheduled date.
What breeds are used in the program?
Our dogs are rescued from shelters and donated by the public; we do not use specific breeds. Due to insurance restrictions and state sanctions we are unable to use breeds including Pit Bulls, Dobermans, Chow Chows, Rottweilers and Dalmatians.
We will consider mixes of these breeds so long as their commonly negative traits are not predominant. Although we must turn away these breeds for our mission, we fully support and encourage the rescue and adoption of all homeless animals.
If I already have a dog, will you train him/her?
Will I get to pick my dog?
No, all dogs are selected and trained to meet the specific needs of your disability, home and work life.
Will I be able to take my dog into a VA hospital or facility?