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start on your way to a facility dog partner


Apply for Facility Dog

Applications for our Facility Dog Program 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 three months of submission.

Before completing this application, please pause and critically consider the program description and whether the required commitments feel like a good fit for you. If you are at a point in your life to devote the time, energy, and resources required to become one-half of a successful Facility Dog team, we are excited to begin the journey with you. 


In general criteria to be eligible for a Paragon Facility Dog include:

  • Are at least 17 years old and completing this application on my own or with minimal assistance (aside from ASL interpreting)
  • Will not allow persons who are not trained through Paragon to be the dog’s handler during visitations or therapy sessions
  • Are able to work with a Facility Dog at least weekly AND have advance approval from that site to do so
  • Do not have another dog in the home (exceptions may be considered) or pets who might be a distraction
  • Have a dog-safe/orderly home and am psychologically, cognitively, and physically able to provide a hearing dog's care, exercise, and ongoing training
  • Are 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)
  • Are committed to ongoing daily training throughout the dog's working life
  • Have at least one support person who could help with training occasionally and help during an emergency
  • Can provide a reference from a health/mental health care provider
  • Can participate in all required in-person and/or virtual meetings and trainings and complete assignments in Online Google Classroom
  • Understand the importance of my positive leadership role for my dog’s comfort, security, and successful training
  • Believe that providing disciplined training and playtime and affection is a good fit for me.
  • Understand that trained Facility Dogs are not perfect and that I cannot take the “dog” out of “Facility Dog”
  • Will offer suggestions for how we can navigate together any challenges we might encounter during training
  • Will uphold the standards of both Paragon and Assistance Dogs International
  • Will stay connected to Paragon as an Active Team, which includes annual recertifications
  • Can work closely with other clients, staff, interpreters, and others from diverse backgrounds

letter of facility team support (required)

A letter/email is attached to your application from at least one site where visitations or therapy will take place that grants permission for the named primary handler to engage in at least weekly visits or therapy as part of a Facility Dog Team. If the applicant works in private practice, the letter should come from a co-practitioner, facility landlord, or a licensed colleague.

paragon's non-discrimination policy

Paragon strictly prohibits and does not tolerate discrimination against applicants, clients or any other covered person because of 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.