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think a service dog could change your life

Darwin and Cripsy on Bench



Due to our extensive wait list, Paragon is not accepting new applications for staff-trained hearing service dogs so that our team can focus on serving those currently waiting for a hearing dog. We encourage you to check out other service dog programs and trainers who may be able to assist you through Assistance Dogs International listings.

Interested in applying to Paragon Service Dogs for a:

what to know about applying

Applications for a Paragon trained facility dog, and Owner Training Programs are accepted on a rolling basis as we are able to accommodate. Fully completed applications are reviewed by the Paragon Application Committee, and decisions are provided to applicants within one to three month of submission.

Applications will take significant time to complete and may require that additional documentation or short video clips be submitted as part of the application. If you wish to work on it in sections, please type responses separately and copy and paste your answers when you are ready to submit. INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE REVIEWED.

Before completing any application, please pause and critically consider the program elements and whether the required commitments feel like a good fit for you. Having a service dog is a serious, long-term commitment and entails significant responsibilities. Additionally, a service dog is not an intervention that is fitting for everyone. If you are at a point in your life to devote the time, energy, and resources required to become one-half of a successful service dog team, we are excited to begin the journey with you. 

elgibility (general)

Eligibility varies slightly depending on which program you are applying for. 

However, in general a Paragon program may be a good fit for you if you can answer YES, I...

  • Am at least 18 years old and completing this application on my own or with minimal assistance
  • Live alone, with dependents, or with others who are d/Deaf or have bilateral and profound hearing loss (homes with other hearing adults may be considered on a case-by-case basis IF extenuating circumstances apply)
  • Do not have another dog in the home (exceptions are typically granted for retired Paragon hearing dogs)
  • Am able to complete an initial evaluation (1-2 days) and later team training (10-11 days) onsite at Paragon north of Denver at my own expense, and I will be able to work independently during these days (Paragon provides certified interpreters)
  • Am able to walk a dog on a leash for 30 minutes daily, without an assistive device and without falling
  • Can legally drive and/or have 20/40 vision in at least one eye (when corrected)
  • Am financially, psychologically, cognitively, and physically able to provide a hearing dog's care, exercise, and ongoing training for 10 or more years

Additional documentation/participation that may be required include:

  • References from two support people who could help during an emergency
  • Reference from a health/mental health care provider
  • Commitment to ongoing daily training with a dog throughout the dog's working life
  • Ability to have a dog with you nearly always AND have advance approval from your employer (if working; employer letter of approval is required)
  • Participation in all required in-person and/or virtual meetings and trainings and complete assignments in our Online Google Classroom
  • Adherence to all requirements, such as daily, treat-based positive reinforcement training; limiting travel and visitors for the first couple months; establishing prompt veterinary care; providing required exercise and an approved diet; and all other requirements outlined in the contract
  • Participation in weekly virtual meetings with Paragon staff for the first three months and then scheduled as Paragon determines and submit all required progress reports and updates.
  • Submission of annual veterinary reports showing good health, appropriate weight, and updated vaccinations
  • Commitment to upholding the standards of both Paragon and Assistance Dogs International, our accrediting and oversight body
  • Provide explanation in application if finances are limited to any reserve funds; support people that would assist financially; or other ways to manage a significant unplanned expense for a dog, such as a surgery

If you don’t meet our criteria due to, for example, mobility and/or vision challenges, we strongly encourage you to check out other service dog organizations that may be able to work with you.


At Paragon, we are committed to reaching the people who would most benefit from our services. Yet, we want to emphasize that our application process is thorough. When our application process is open, it may take our Application Committee up to three months to review and make a determination about an application.

For those applicants that are accepted, there are additional steps. Please realize that it may take up to an additional two years or more. Therefore, we encourage anyone considering to apply for a service dog to evaluate carefully if such a wait period makes sense. We also strongly encourage applicants to apply to other service dog organizations, or, depending upon goals, consider adopting a companion dog.

It is imperative to understand that a service dog is, first and foremost, a dog. They need attention, care, food, ongoing training, grooming, oral care, exercise, playtime, enrichment, veterinary care. And, like all dogs, they will incur expenses – sometimes extensive costs. Further, if an applicant becomes a client and is partnered with an Paragon service dog, it means that you have become one half of a two-member team, and suddenly, wherever you go, whatever you do, the dog team member must accompany you. Many individuals find that level of involvement is stifling and constraining. Finally, when accepting an Paragon dog, you commit to providing them a safe, secure, and loving forever home, continuing their ongoing training, and upholding Paragon's standards.

required handler & team training

Paragon works hard to evaluate applicants based on their needs and circumstances. After applicants are accepted as clients, we match them with dogs that best suit their needs and requirements. Each dog receives extensive public access training as well as being custom-trained to work for sounds critical to the clients. Each client is required to complete online classes and travel, at their own expense, to Paragon for Team Training (~12 days).

paragon's non-discrimination policy

Paragon strictly prohibits and does not tolerate discrimination against applicants, clients or any other covered person because of ethnicity; race; color; religion; creed; national origin or ancestry; sex (including gender, gender identity or expression, orientation and pregnancy); age 40 and over; physical or mental disability; Veteran status; genetic information; citizenship; language; family or marital status; political affiliation; socioeconomic status; or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local law.