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Owner-Assisted Service Dog Training

In the Owner-Assisted Service Dog Training program in Las Cruces, New Mexico, qualified clients will train their own dog as a service dog under the direction of Four Paws and a Wake Up staff and experienced trainers.

Unlike other dog training programs, this program focuses on the owner's needs and the commands and skills the owner needs to mitigate their disability.


  • Individuals must have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  • The disability must be documented by a medical doctor or psychiatrist.

  • Veterans must provide a DD-214 and the VA rating decision letter.

  • A Medical Information Form will be sent to your primary physician as part of the application process.

  • Individuals and their dogs must have completed the Four Paws Basic Obedience Class.

  • Individuals must be willing and able to commit to attending 60-minute classes 1 day a week for 10 to 12 months depending on the skills needed and the dedication of the individual.

  • Must continue training for at least 20 minutes a day when not in class.

  • Must be willing to participate in scheduled outings in the community. 

What is Owner-Assisted Training?

  • The owner of the dog does the training under the guidance and direction of Four Paws and a Wake Up staff following a curriculum of training. 

  • Individual uses their own dog.

  • The dog must be at least 6 months old and the owner must have had the dog for at least 6 months.

  • The individual does the training under our direction.

  • The Individual and dog have an established bond.

  • The individual is engaged in the process.

  • Skills essential for the individual are taught.

  • Training is accomplished within 10 to 12  months depending on the skills needed.

  • Standards are maintained for a quality-trained dog.

  • No training experience is needed.

  • This service is fee-based.

How Does OAT Work?

  • OAT is a fee-based training curriculum that considers the needs of the person and their disability, the dog they have, and the skills that are needed. 

  • The individual submits an application to enroll in the OAT program.

  • Our team reviews the application and conducts a consultation with the person and their dog. 

  • After the assessment of the dog, our team will determine if the dog is suitable to begin service dog work, customize a training plan, and set a date to begin training classes. 

  • Classes are in a small group format. 

  • Our full training package includes a minimum of 40 hours of guided training, detailed training plans, accompanied public outings, and coaching. 

  • After a final assessment, you will receive a letter attesting to the training achieved, a service dog identification card, and a vest for the service dog.

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