CLIENT (HANDLER/DOG TEAM) CERTIFICATION
Who does Atlas serve?
Atlas’ clients are people with disabilities who want an active role in training their dog as a service dog. This may be a dog they already have or a dog they select and acquire with the help of a trainer. Clients may have done the dog's foundational training on their own or with the help of a trainer of their choice. In some cases, our clients may have already partially trained their dogs to perform tasks that help them move past the limitations caused by their disability. They are looking for the support necessary to ensure their dog can reliably perform tasks that mitigate their disability and they can work well as a team in the environments the client frequents. They want the confidence that comes with certification and support of an organization like Atlas.
This is a change from the traditional model where fully trained service dogs are provided to an individual by one of the many fine nonprofits dedicated to this work or purchased from a professional trainer. These sources are not nearly enough to fill the need for service dogs. Moreover, nonprofits often focus on serving a particular segment such as veterans or children, and their waiting lists are long. Buying a fully trained dog is beyond the financial reach of many people.
Atlas is focusing on the needs of those not presently served by traditional service dog organizations. We recognize this approach won't work for all people or all types of disability skills. Some skills involve significant and complex training and are best done in a boarded situation where a trainer is working with the dog daily. Some clients don't have the support or ability to be active in training their own dog. Those people are often better served by the traditional model. However, there are many many more who would succeed with and/or prefer owner-based training, and we are here to fill that need.
Atlas is dedicated to helping our clients succeed in training their dog and shaping the ways their dog can help them be more independent and more able to push past the challenges their disability puts in front of them.
Please read the FAQs for client/handler team certification before applying.
Please start with the Pre-Application Information Package. When you are ready to apply, get the Application Package.
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