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Welcome to the Adolescent Dogs Online Academy for Owner Trained Assistance Dogs in the UK

Who are we?


We are a team of qualified, force free dog trainers who have been training family dogs for over 16 years, often helping Owner Trained Assistance Dogs to reach their goals

Our Assistance Dog Programme is open to anyone who wishes to train their own pet dog to become their assistance dog, covering a wide variety of disabilities including physical, medical, psychiatric and neurological. 

Sadly, the waiting list for owners to seek help from charities is often long (up to 5 years), or their lists are full due to increasing demand, or you need to spend crazy amounts of money to buy one of their trained dogs, making it difficult for many owners to access the help they need and taking them further away from their dream of training their dog to assist them in everyday life

Our mission is to help as many owners as possible to turn this dream into a reality, providing top quality training they can follow from home, along with our personal support and coaching, so that they can train their own dog to become an assistance dog for them.  

Online Programme

We provide full training from puppy to fully trained, guiding you and your dog through all stages of training

You'll have instant access to over 450 step by step video tutorials covering puppy training, socialisation, basic to advanced obedience cues, distraction proofing, public access training and behavioural challenges

In addition to this, we have step by step tutorials for teaching a wide range of tasks so that your dog can learn to mitigate your unique disability

There is Live trainer support available 7 days a week and optional weekly Live Zoom meetings

You'll work your way through our Awards via video submission from Puppy to Gold level (similar to the KC awards) and the Mitigating Task award before being invited to do an Access Test from 18 months of age

What disabilities do we support?

We support a wide range of disabilities including:

  • Physical disabilities (wheelchair users, POTS, EDS, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, ME, Spina Bifida, Cerebal Palsy, Spinal Injuries, Brain injuries, Strokes, Amputees etc)
  • Medical support (Diabetes, Seizures, Addisons, Allergies, Blood Pressure, Migraines, POTS, Crohns)
  • Psychological support (Autism, PTSD, Disassociative Identity Disorder, FASD)
  • Guiding & Hearing - we only currently have light guiding & hearing videos available, but our trainers are happy to support your training journey in any way we can
  • Emotional support dogs: sadly emotional support dogs are not recognised in the UK; this means we cannot accept applications to train your dog to become an assistance dog to support anxiety/depression without a letter from a qualified Psychiatrist stating that your condition is classed as a disability and has a long term and substantial impact on your day to day life 


Frequently Asked Questions​


How do I sign up? Simply fill in the questionnaire below and email us proof of your diagnosis. You'll be approved within 24 hours and can then choose to setup either monthly or yearly membership

How does the programme work? Once signed up, you'll gain instant access to over 450 video tutorials covering obedience exercises and tasks. You can work through our Award levels from Puppy to Gold by submitting videos of the training exercises. We also offer an 'access test' level which is done with our trainer in Guildford or Stafford (or within 50 miles)

What if I don't live in the UK? We accept teams from all over the world. You will need to check your local laws regarding assistance dogs. You can take your awards via video submission and utilise a local trainer for your Access Test (this needs to be recorded)

Is there a waiting list? We have NO waiting list to join our programme

Is my dog suitable?  As long as your dog is under 6 to 8 years of age (depending on breed), in good health and without any concerns over their temperament, you can begin your training journey. If you are concerned about any of the above, please send us a message. We offer free assessments.

Does my dog need insurance? Yes, your dog must have public liability insurance. Agria and Petplan cover assistance dogs

What age can I start my dog? We accept puppies from 8 weeks of age. You'll find video tutorials covering all of your puppy's needs throughout their first year, from puppy socialisation tips, confidence building, obedience and the foundations for tasks. As the journey can take 2 years, we don't recommend commencing training with dogs over the age of 6 (depending on breed).

How long does it take to train a dog? To train your dog from puppy to fully trained (ready to pass an access test), takes a minimum of 18 months. You should expect the entire process to take roughly 2 years (depending on how much time you put into training and how suitable your dog is)

Can I train more than one dog? We don't recommend training more than one dog at a time. This is due to the amount of time and commitment required to train each dog. As well as the on-going training needed throughout your dog's life to keep the training in place. If you do decide to train more than 1 dog, please ask us about a price to have 2 dogs on the programme

Will my dog become a registered assistance dog? There is no official registration or certification for assistance dogs in the UK. As long as your dog is well trained and mitigates your disability, you are covered by the Equality Act 2010. ​


Can your programme help with air travel? Yes, British Airways have accepted our supporting letters for training as proof for travel. You will need to check with other airlines

Will I be able to buy training vests? Yes, once your dog has passed their Bronze award, you can purchase an 'assistance dog in training' vest, settle mat and lead slip with our logo on it. You can fully customise your gear with your own preferred colours and design. This will help you with access whilst your dog is still training. An 'Assistance Dog' jacket can be purchased once your dog passes the Access test & temperament test level

Can you support with access issues? Yes, we can provide official letters confirming your membership with our programme and the level of training your dog has achieved, as well as providing membership cards. We are also happy to email any establishments refusing you access such as Universities, Businesses, Colleges and Services.

Do you offer In Person support? Yes, we offer 20% off one to one lessons in Surrey with Mike and 10% off one to one lessons in Guildford and Stafford. We also offer a 20% discount off our residential training stays which are a popular choice for fast-tracking your early training, overcoming training struggles, teaching tasks or preparing your dog for public access training

What if my dog is already highly trained? You can still join us, but you'll still need to submit videos for Bronze to Gold. If your dog has already reached a high level of training, you can do all 3 right away, but you'll need to meet the following criteria to take your Access Test. Either

1. Be actively training with us for 6 months

2. Attend a one to one lesson with our Head Behaviourist in Ewhurst, Surrey

3. Your dog attends a residential training stay

We like to get to know our teams before taking them through the Access Test.

Puppy raising & training

We also provide a puppy raising & training programme. We are looking for breeders who would like to donate well bred puppies for us to raise, train and match to a person in need of an assistance dog. It costs us over £30,000 to train each puppy for their first 6 months. Please get in touch if you have a puppy to donate.

Gifted residential stays

We offer a limited number of gifted and discounted residential stays and one to one lessons each year to members of our Assistance Dog Programme. Sadly we don't currently have enough members to offer as many stays as we would like. We have provided over £60,000 worth of gifted stays between 2021 to 2022. In order to help as many teams as possible, we offer a standard 20% discount on residential stays, with increased discounts when we are able to offer them

Mission statement

Helping dog owners with disabilities to train their own assistance dogs. 

We will do this by:

  • Giving them access to qualified, force free trainers
  • We will provide a high standard of training throughout each dog's life
  • We will educate the public about disabled peoples rights under the Equality Act 2010.  
  • We will commit to animal welfare and train and work only fit healthy dogs. 
  • We will educate all our members about their legal responsibilities as a dog owner and an assistance dog handler.
  • We will offer regular assessments every dog that is registered with the Adolescent Dogs Assistance Programme
  • We will create a friendly community for members to support each other every step of the way.

To train as an Assistance Dog, your dog must:

  • Have a sound temperament; not show any fear or reactivity issues and be in good health.
  • Be trained to an advanced level (we can help with this). Dogs can take the Awards at any age, but Access Tests are only available once your dog reaches 2 years of age. 
  • Demonstrate 3 specific skills that provide assistance you need because of your disability (we can also help with this training)

Dogs with behavioural issues are rarely suitable to train as assistance dogs, so please contact us for a free assessment.

Our Application Process

​Our programme is open to anyone wishing to train their own dog to aid in their disability. We accept puppies as young as 8 weeks of age to begin their learning journey

Not every dog is suitable to become an assistance dog, and not every dog / owner team will reach the standard of training required to pass all the assessments

You can join us right away and start training.

You will need to provide the following documentation:

  • A letter from your doctor stating your medical diagnosis (or if waiting for an autism diagnosis; a paper trail confirming the process and needs of the individual)
  • Proof of pet insurance that covers public liability

To train as an Assistance Dog, your dog must:

  • Have a sound temperament; not show any fear or reactivity issues
  • Receive yearly vet checks to confirm suitability and be in good health.
  • Have public liability insurance
  • Be trained to an advanced level (we can help with this). Dogs can take the Awards at any age, but Access Tests are only available once your dog reaches 18 months of age.
  • Demonstrate 3 specially taught skills that provide assistance you need because of your disability (we can also help with this training)

Dogs with behavioural issues are rarely suitable to train as assistance dogs, so please contact us for a free assessment if you are unsure if your dog is a suitable candidate.

Task videos currently available:

  • Retrieve items (keys, medicine)
  • Pickup small items (pencils, credit cards, paper etc)
  • Find and retrieve scented item#
  • Brace for standing
  • Take item to designated area
  • Open doors
  • Close doors (with nose or paws)
  • Interrupt anxiety attacks using paws
  • Interrupt anxiety attacks using nose
  • Tactile stimulation for anxiety
  • Interrupt self-harm or repetitive behaviours
  • Make space in crowds
  • Deep pressure therapy
  • Chin rest
  • Provide comfort
  • Carry an item
  • Turn on a light
  • Ring a bell
  • Take off socks/clothes
  • Walk beside a wheelchair
  • Wheelchair training and troubleshooting
  • Backup out of doorways
  • Target training
  • Navigate around a wheelchair in tight spaces
  • Nudge arm/foot back onto arm/footrest of wheelchair
  • Settle under legs / table
  • Remove blanket
  • Jump up alert
  • Empty washing machine
  • Alert to alarms, doorbell, sounds etc
  • Scentwork to alert to seizures, changes in blood pressure etc
  • New videos added monthly


There is a membership fee which can be paid monthly or annually. 

Members will be able to:

  • Access VIP CLUB training videos 
  • Access Assistance Dog videos: includes tasks, anxiety support and wheelchair videos
  • Receive online support
  • Receive ongoing support & evaluation
  • Purchase our Assistance Dog in Training vests, settle mats, backpacks & lead slips
  • Purchase a membership card to help with access issues
  • Take our Assistance Dog Awards to build a clear training goal
  • Receive 10% off one to one lessons and 20% off residential stays
  • Free assessment of video entries for Puppy to Gold Awards
  • Access Test is £120 (includes 1 year membership_
  • Monthly membership fee drops to £50 per year once you pass the Access Test and includes ongoing access to the online academy, trainer support, support with access issues, the right to carry a members card, the right for your dog to wear a vest with the Adolescent Dogs logo and free yearly Access Test re-takes in person or via video.
  • 100% of members fees goes towards us gifting residential stays to assistance dogs in need. Read more here

Membership will only be granted to those who meet the eligibility criteria. All documents must be sent to [email protected] 

The Assistance Dog Academy benefits from a more than 50% discount off the current Academy subscription so that we can help as many people as possible. This is an introductory price and subject to change.

Steps to sign up

  1. Fill in your application form here:
  2. Then email your documents to [email protected]
  3. Then choose your membership option below

Access Test Example