Three Black Labs in Service Vests in front of US Flag
On stage talking with servicemen about PAWS with puppies in hand.
Puppy straining against leash while winking.

Service Dog Training

What is a service dog?

The American Disability Act (ADA) defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.

Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. Guide dogs are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. This is a type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some activities include:
  • Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds
  • Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments
  • Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance
A service animal is not a pet.

If you have further questions about service animals or other requirements of the ADA, you may call The U.S. Department of Justice's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

Visit the ADA webpage at http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

For frequently asked questions about Service Dogs visit: http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm

Is a service dog right for me?

What can a PAVE service dog do for me?

PAVE trains the service dogs to be reliable public access dogs that behave well in public and at home. The dogs are trained to perform general tasks, for example opening the fridge, a door, picking up items and so on.

They are also trained to provide a calming presence. If you have nightmares, the dog could be trained to wake you and calm you down. Dogs can be trained to interrupt compulsive behaviors. Some dogs eventually learn to recognize early signs of anxiety in their partners and can be trained to respond. A PAVE service dog is not trained for any protection work but is expected to be friendly and non-aggressive toward all people when in public.

What are the requirements of a potential candidate for participating in the PAVE training program?

As a potential candidate, you should:
  • reside in the USA and be able to attend training in Oregon,
  • be able to provide your own transportation and lodging during training,
  • be able to meet the physical, mental, and emotional needs of a dog, or have an adequate support system in place to do so in areas where you are unable to yourself,
  • be willing and able to commit to the training program including daily training sessions with the PAVE dog and agree to adhere to the PAVE guidelines and training rules,
  • agree to adhere to the PAVE rules and regulations concerning the ongoing care and training of the dog,
  • have the full support of your family, including caregivers, in your quest to receive a PAVE dog, and
  • be able to provide financial support for the dog after ownership has been signed over to you, including quality food and equipment plus veterinary care.

How do I apply for a service dog from PAVE?

Once you have read all information on this page and meet all the requirements, please send us an email at with some basic information: name, address, what the dog is needed for, and we email you the application materials.

Unfortunately, the need exceeds the availability of trained service dogs. Dogs are matched based on the needs of the veteran and the availability of a service dog that would best meet those needs and circumstances. The ability of a potential recipient to provide a safe environment and loving care of the service dog is an important condition for placement. The veteran must be able to provide financially, emotionally, and physically for the dog. On average the expense for food, toys, equipment, and routine veterinary services amount to $1000 per year over a lifespan of an average of 12 years. Please consider this financial commitment before applying for a PAVE service dog.

PAVE does not charge for the dog.