A good organization has high standards and produces quality for the long haul. The dogs are genetically and phenotypically sound in structure, health and temperament. The dogs have been raised, nurtured, trained and socialized with care and diligence. The skills are taught with long-lasting methods of positive reinforcement and dogs are taught to problem-solve for unplanned situations.
A good organization will continue to support their recipients in their on-going training needs, and many will provide group training lessons for teams to attend for continuing education. An Assistance Dog team should be functioning at successively higher levels as the years go by, due to the amount of training the new partner continues to give their dog every day.
A good organization recognizes what their resources are capable of providing, and determines eligibility for potential recipients based on what the organization can reasonably support; a good organization should not provide an Assistance Dog to an applicant if the organization is not able to also provide potentially needed help to maintain the team to proper working standards… this means acknowledging what type of support can be provided by the organization’s resources, and then placing dogs only with recipients able to receive/apply that support.
Before setting your sights on a particular organization or private trainer, evaluate at least a few potential sources. Determine what qualities are important for your specific needs, and search for the provider which meets your criteria. Receiving an Assistance Dog is a huge undertaking and the provider you choose will influence the years to come.