Meet the dogs of Autism Service Dogs of America

ASDA uses Golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Golden Lab mixes, and some hypoallergenic breeds in our service dog-training program. Puppies come from specially selected breeders. They begin socialization and training early, and join the ASDA program when they are 8 weeks old. Their first stop is eight weeks of more socialization and command training with our experienced puppy coaches. Then they enter our special Puppy Raiser program. All Puppy Raisers are volunteers who welcome the puppies into their homes for approximately 12 months. During this time, the puppies receive continuous socialization, command, and skill training under the watchful eye of ASDA trainers.

At approximately 18-20 months, the puppies graduate to advanced training at the ASDA service dog-training center. They accompany an ASDA trainer 24 hours a day to various locations, and they attend various levels of schools, special and general education classrooms to continue their preparation. When a dog completes the advanced training, demonstrates an exemplary score on the public access skills and socialization test, and proves mastery of the ASDA specific environments and commands, the dog is matched to a child on our waiting list. Each match is made to meet the skills of the dog and the needs of the child and their family.

ASDA specializes in training and placing service dogs specifically trained to assist individuals dealing with the special challenges of autism; we do not provide service dogs for other disabilities.

Our dogs come from a long tradition

The first formal guide dog program was developed for the blind after WWI. In the last 30 years, service dogs around the globe have provided a wide range of services for people with diverse limitations, including sight and hearing impairments, social disabilities, and mobility limitations. Research indicates that all animals make a real and substantial improvement in the quality of their people’s lives. Visits by therapy dogs to prisons, nursing homes and schools improve behavior and elevates moods. Anybody who loves dogs can understand this—everybody’s happier with dogs around!