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Part of the mission of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) is to establish standards for the assistance dog industry ensuring that:

  • Dogs are treated humanely
  • Clients are treated with respect and dignity
  • Training is delivered in a professional way at all times.

Assistance Dog users trust their lives and safety to their dogs, so everything related to the training of both the dogs and people must meet extraordinary criteria.

Over many years, members of ADI have developed an accreditation manual and accreditation procedures to evaluate the quality standards of assistance dog programs.

Areas evaluated include:

  • Safety and cleanliness of the training facility
  • Fair and ethical treatment of clients
  • Proper health care for the dogs
  • Humane training methods for the dogs
  • Criteria for screening suitability of both dogs and clients
  • Criteria for matching dogs and clients
  • Criteria for administration of all program operations
  • Compliance with all legal regulations.

When a member program is ready for accreditation, a trained assessor spends several days at the training facility. The assessor interviews staff, clients, volunteers and applicants in addition to reviewing paperwork and files in order to make sure that all of ADI’s standards are being met. Currently approximately 110 ADI programs have been accredited (by ADI and/or by the International Guide Dog Federation). All programs are required to be re-accredited every 5 years in order to maintain their voting membership in ADI.

Members or Candidate programs that want to apply for accreditation or re-accreditation should review the accreditation documents linked below. The documents for 2015 are posted and are the documents that should be used by candidates and members that have not already initiated the accreditation or re-accreditation process with ADI.

After reviewing the documents, programs that are ready to begin the accreditation process should complete and submit the one-page Accreditation Application along with the accreditation fee.  Once the application and fee have been processed, a representative of ADI will contact the program regarding the next steps.

Questions about this information should be directed to:

ADI organizations based in Europe should contact the European secretariat for their application and paperwork instructions.

Related Documents (useful downloads in pdf format)

Accreditation Procedures
Effective January, 2015

Accreditation Process Chart
Effective January, 2015

Accreditation Manual
Effective January, 2015

Guidance Notes
Effective January, 2015

Paperwork Summary Chart
Effective January, 2015

Pre-assessment Paperwork Instructions
Effective January, 2015

Common Questions & Answers
Effective January, 2015

Accreditation Application
Effective January, 2015

Accreditation Annual Statement of Compliance
March 2009

Additional related documents

ADI Minimum Standards and Ethics
ADI Glossary