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Volunteer Trainer Program

Volunteer Trainers are part of the Service Dog in Training Program. They participate by bringing a service dog in training into their homes for socialization, basic obedience, house manners, basic service dog skills, and some advanced service dog skills until they are ready to return for advance training, typically between one and two years old. 4 Paws supplies the tools and information necessary to be successful in raising the service dog in training with the goal of becoming a service dog. We are committed to partnering with you to achieve this goal.

General Requirements/Criteria:

  • Volunteer Trainer homes must be within 3 hours of 4 Paws for Ability, Xenia, OH
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Complete an online training program and attend an in-person orientation at 4 Paws for Ability
  • Comply with 4 Paws policies and procedures and provide a stable, safe environment for a puppy to live
  • Must have a vehicle that can be used to travel to 4 Paws for Ability for scheduled and emergent requirements including monthly SDIT classes, supply pick up, veterinary appointments, and emergency medical needs

Our Program May Be a Good Fit For You Because:

  • No prior experience necessary
  • Orientation and Obedience classes are provided for Volunteer Trainers to get the necessary training they need to be successful
  • Veterinary care, food, and a startup set of supplies are provided at no cost to the Volunteer Trainer when received from the 4 Paws Center in Xenia, OH.
  • The commitment of a Volunteer Trainer is flexible but generally they work in our program for about one year, though many volunteers choose to continue to participate past that time period.

Types of Volunteer Trainers:

Primary Handlers:

This is an individual, family, or university student who lives on or off campus who will be caring for, training, and socializing a 4 Paws dog in their home. Primary handlers live and work with one dog that they have been paired with.

Secondary Handlers:

This is an individual, family, or university student who lives on or off campus looking to short-term assist other Volunteer Trainers during the day or overnight. Secondary handlers work with a variety of different dogs in our program and are not paired with a specific dog.

Weekend/Weeknight Handlers:

This is an individual, family, or university student who lives on or off campus who will be caring for, training, and socializing a 4 Paws dog in Advanced Training in their home on weekends or in the evenings and on weekends. Weekend handlers are considered primary handlers in that they are working continuously with one dog in the program that they are paired with. This involves driving to and from 4 Paws in Xenia, Ohio at least twice a week as their dog works with one of our professional trainers during the business day.

Apply for our Service Dog in Training Program:

Click on the button below to submit your application! You will be asked to upload pictures of your home environment, a picture of yourself, and a Housing Verification Form in order to complete this application.