Foundation stage

Our foundation stage of training is designed to establish a strong and mutually beneficial partnership between you and your Assistance Dog. It is important to remember that Assistance Dog partnerships require a reciprocal commitment from both sides - they take care of you, and we must ensure their well-being as well.

The foundation stage is divided into four parts:

1. Partnership School Level 1: This includes small group workshops held at least once a month in a spacious and private setting. These workshops provide practical support, help build confidence, teach general canine life skills, offer enrichment ideas, and introduce the concept of co-op care.
2. Partnership Social: You will have the opportunity to participate in trainer-supervised meet-ups with other teams in low-demand environments. These gatherings serve as a source of peer support, allow you to meet others at a similar stage of the assistance dog pathway, learn about unwritten handler etiquette, and practice your skills in controlled real-world settings such as secure fields and pet-friendly establishments during off-peak hours. Group walks may also be organized.
3. 1-2-1 Public Access Training: Once a week, for a duration of two hours, you will receive support in a low-demand public access environment. This training will focus on specific skills that need to be practiced in real-life situations.

It is important to note that during the foundation stage, dogs are unlikely to possess the full set of skills required for public access work. Therefore, we strongly advise against taking them out asan assistance dog without trainer support or agreement from the service provider.

Typically, most partnerships complete the foundation stage within one month of joining. However, trainers may recommend certain partnerships to undergo the foundation stage assessment after a minimum of six hours of training, depending on their progress.

If a partnership was not previously known by their trainer before joining ID CIC, the foundation stage may be assessed by the partnerships’ trainer.

Upon successful completion of the foundation stage, dogs will receive a downloadable certificate and will be eligible to progress to the assistance dog candidate pathway.