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Latest News

Highlights of the recent ADI Trainers’ Conference

In mid-September, ADI held its annual Trainers’ Conference in Hagerstown, Maryland, USA.

Eighty individuals from twenty five states and Canada, met to exchange ideas and gather information regarding the raising and training of puppies in correctional facilities.

Speakers from Guide Dog, Service Dog and Hearing Dog Programs, as well as Correctional Facility Staff, made power point presentations, facilitated panel discussions and shared their first-hand experience with prison puppy programs.

Some of the topics that were discussed included:

  • The types of Prison Puppy Programs
  • Steps to open a prison Puppy Program
  • How inmates are chosen to participate
  • Prison Puppy protocols that assure success
  • How to Increase the number of canine placements
  • Puppy training curriculums used
  • The role of a Prison Puppy Liaison
  • Getting positive PR for your program
  • Pups on Furlough Program and
  • ADI Prison Puppy Standards

The highlights of the conference were the tours of the two men’s medium security prisons; Maryland Correctional Training Facility and MCI-Hagerstown.

ADI members got to see where the puppies were housed, observe puppy demos and ask a DOC panel consisting of prison officials and inmate handlers, questions. They also got to witness a graduation ceremony for three puppies that had graduated from the prison program and were about to return to America’s VetDogs for their final training and matching with a veteran.

Prison Puppy Programs are “Win Win” for everyone:

  • The ADI Program wins as prison puppies train up more quickly and that translates into placing more dogs with disabled people
  • The inmate wins as he learns to nurture and can give back to society in a positive and safe way
  • The correctional staff wins as they find that puppies bring a “calm” to prison that changes the whole atmosphere
  • And the puppy wins as he grows up to be a well-trained Assistance Dog.

Celebrating Assistance Dog Week 2015

It’s International Assistance Dog Week and we’re celebrating life-changing assistance dog partnerships.

Assistance Dogs transform the lives of their human partners with debilitating physical and mental disabilities by serving as their companion, helper, aide, best friend and close member of their family.

“Golden Retriever Udo has been my assistance dog since Valentine’s Day 2011. We were partnered after my first assistance dog Caesar, also from Dogs for the Disabled, passed away suddenly.

Learning to live with a successor dog is a bit like being given a new pair of your favourite sneakers, they look the same, are the same size and colour, but it takes a little while for them to become shaped to you, and for you to become accustomed to a new spring in your step!

Udo coming into my life made it feel whole again, not just because of the very practical everyday tasks he does to assist me but because he gives me confidence and a sense of routine which I often lack when alone.

I’m a survivor of traumatic brain injury. Sometimes life can be challenging, not only physically but cognitively and emotionally too. Udo is a robust character who just seems to know when I’m having a tough day. If I cry he snuggles up to me, and provides a tremendous sense of acceptance. He has also been brilliant in adjusting to deterioration in my health and although he has needed to learn new tasks, he loves the opportunity to earn more treats and and to take on new challenges.

Udo is my ray of sunshine and I’m grateful to him for sharing my life and enabling in the way he does.”

Wendy and Udo – Dogs for the Disabled partnership.

Trainer’s Conference 2015 – save the date

The dates for the next Trainer’s Conference have now been confirmed.

America’s VetDogs and The Guide Dog Foundation will host the Prison Puppy Conference on September 15, 16 & 17 2015 in Hagerstown, MD, USA.

Meet with other ADI Trainers for workshops, presentations and discussion on how to open, expand and grow Prison Puppy Programs to place more Assistance Dogs.

Visit the conferences web page to find out more.


Would you like to work for one of our organisations?

ADI accredited members can advertise their employment opportunities on the ADI website, so it’s a great place to look if you are interested in working for an assistance dog organisation. Visit the employment opportunities page to browse the current vacancies.

American Airlines Puppies in Flight Program accepting applications

US Airways, which is merging with American Airlines, is continuing its participation in Puppies In Flight.

American Airlines is now accepting applications year round for the Puppies In Flight program.

This program allows American Airlines employee volunteers to become trained to work with assistance dogs and take them on transports and test flights (short turnaround trips).

Click here to find out more, read the guidelines and make an application.

Help the campaign for public access for all assistance dogs

Assistance Dogs Europe (ADEu) and the European Guide Dog Federation (EGDF) have joined forces to lobby together in Brussels to get the Equal Treatment Directive onto the agenda of the European Commission, and to gain public access for all assistance dogs and those in training.

ADEu and EGDF cannot achieve this task on their one. They need your help.

Helping us is very easy:

  • Please report every problem concerning public access to the school who trained your dog and to Mark van Gelder (  Why? Politicians do need statistics. If we cannot give them any numbers they will be loath to tackle this problem.
  • EGDF and ADEu plan to launch a petition concerning public access for all assistance dogs and assistance dogs in training in, hopefully in early2015. If you agree on the necessity of public access for all assistance dogs and assistance dogs in training, please do sign this petition.  If we can collect enough signatures, members of the European Parliament, and more specifically, several Committees will work on this issue. But once again, we do need your help.

On a national level, many European Assistance Dogs programmes are actively lobbying to change legislation in their own country to ensure assistance dog partnerships get equal treatment and full access to all public buildings. In most countries this also includes public access for assistance dogs in training. It is important we continue to do this.

If you have any questions about public access in Europe, please contact Mark van Gelder

Recent Trainer’s and ADI International Conferences a huge success

For the first time the Trainer’s and ADI International Conferences were combined this year and they were a huge success.

Over 150 people attended the Trainers Conference and over 200 came to the ADI International Conference held in Denver, Colorado, last month.

Keynote sessions covered a wide range of topics, including:

  • Ways to reduce kennel stress
  • How to understand animal behavior
  • Using storytelling to powerfully share your mission

In addition, breakout sessions presented by ADI members as well as guest speakers, covered a variety of topics, generating productive discussions among attendees.

Tours of the KONG Factory were offered as well as the LEED platinum-rated Denver Animal Shelter—both which were entertaining and informative.

Thank you to our sponsors: Planet Dog Foundation, Petcurean, KONG, Bold Lead Designs, and Leader Dogs for the Blind for helping to make this year’s conference possible.

Give us your feedback

If you attended the conferences then don’t forget to complete your conference evaluations as soon as possible. Responses are anonymous and your feedback greatly helps to improve future conferences.

Linsay Ganassa
Freedom Service Dogs of America

ADEu opens Amsterdam Stock Exchange

As part of the recent Assistance Dog Week, Assistance Dogs Europe (ADEu) had the honour of opening the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

Find out more and watch a video here: Opening the Amsterdam Stock Market

Register now for the ADI International, Trainer’s and AAII Conferences

Online registration is now available for the 23rd ADI International Conference being held in Denver, Colorado, this September. For the first time ever, the International Conference will be combined with the Trainer’s Conference and the 2nd Annual AAII Conference.

Find out more on the Conferences page

Register now for the ADI Trainer’s Conference 2013




The 2013 Trainer’s Conference is being hosted by PADS on October 6 – 9, 2013. at their Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre in Surrey, Vancouver.

Click here to find out more and register.