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.
A number of non-accredited assistance dog organizations and some individual private trainers may state that they work to the standards set by Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation. However, they have not been accredited and their work has not been subject to scrutiny by experienced accreditation assessors.
Applying for accreditation
Members or Candidate programs that want to apply for accreditation or re-accreditation should review the accreditation documents.