Atlas Assistance Dogs

Who Is This For?

Though many disabled people can and want to participate in the training of their own service dog, starting fresh with a puppy or young adolescent is not always a viable option. This can be for a variety of reasons. Raising a puppy may take far too great of an emotional toll. An untrained puppy or adolescent may actually be a hazard or danger for someone with limited mobility or other type of disability. And working with a private trainer in the early stages of training may simply be inaccessible.

Also, just finding and starting off with the right puppy can be incredibly difficult. Not all dogs can be service dogs and it is important to know what traits to look for in a puppy when looking for your candidate. Understanding what to look for in a breeder is also crucial. These are all complex processes and navigating this system is not the right path for everyone. And that’s okay!

Assistance Dogs Set in Motion™ is for the person who can work with a slightly more mature and skilled dog, but for whom finding, raising, and training a puppy and young adolescent is simply not feasible. 

How Does It Work?

1. Puppy Selection

Atlas works with ethical and qualified breeders and rescues to select a starting candidate, typically a pup of about 8-10 weeks of age.

2. Puppy Raiser Training

Atlas works closely with the client to develop a specialized training plan so that the dog gets all the necessary foundation skills as well as a head start on any specialized skills their person will need.

While the dog is in training with the puppy raiser (typically for 10 months), the client is in the loop and also being coached and learning about training, service dogs, and being prepped for their dog's arrival.

Trainer with three dogs
Woman holding a young dog

3. Client Training

All clients take our Teams Set in Motion™ online program while their dog is being raised by our puppy raiser and then continue in it until they are ready to join Atlas' Client Certification program. They are learning in parallel with their dog!

4. Atlas Team Training & Certification

When the dog is one year old, and the client is ready, the dog will be transferred back with continuous support from Atlas. When ready, typically two months later when the dog is 14 months of age, they will begin Atlas' Team Certification Program to solidify their dog's training and get the ongoing support they need until they are ready for certification.

Learn More About Our Program

Read our Assistance Dogs Set in Motion Program document to find out how it all works.

Ready to Apply?

We are not presently accepting applications or pre-applications for this program. We plan to re-open applications in the Spring of 2023.

The first steps is a pre-application. We encourage you to read the FAQs as well as the above program documents. When you are ready, simply click the link below which will take you to our online pre-application. You can save your progress and resume at any time. Once we receive your pre-application we will contact you

Feel free to contact if you have any questions.


Approximate cost is $10,000.  Cost will vary based on the breeder’s fees, distance between the breeder and the Puppy Raiser; age at which the puppy will go to the puppy raiser; as well as local veterinary, insurance and supply costs. A cost breakdown is detailed in our Program Description. We continue to look for grant opportunities to provide full or partial scholarships. We presently have two dogs in training for veterans with their costs largely covered by scholarships.

Thanks to generous donors and additional funding, we presently have two pups in training at a significantly reduced cost for two veterans.

We continue to apply for funds that we can use to provide scholarships. Scholarship funds can be used to offset the majority of program costs. All clients are responsible for paying application fees. Once the dog is transferred to the person, they are in charge of the costs of their dog’s food, veterinary care, toys etc.

Please ask us if we presently have scholarships available.


You may fill out our initial screening pre-application from the direct link on this page. The pre-application will help us determine if Assistance Dogs Set in MotionTM is the right option for you. If so, we will send you a full application. This will then be followed by a video interview.

If we determine that you would be a great fit for the program, we will begin the process of finding the right potential service dog candidate for you. Though we will ultimately make the decision on which dog would fit your needs best, you will have a voice and get to tell us about some of your preferences.

If Atlas has purchased the puppy, we  will retain ownership of the dog until you have gone through our Client Certification Program and successfully passed Atlas’ Public Access Test. 

We do this to ensure the protection and safety of the dog. Once we have seen that you and your dog are working well together, your pup is yours!

Yes! Atlas has no issues with you having other animals in your home as long as your dog or cat will not have any issues with a new furry friend in the house. 

Puppy raisers must first have gone through our Puppy Raiser or Team Facilitator training. Please see to learn how you can become an Atlas Team Facilitator.

Please consider making a donation today to support this important work. Thank you!

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