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Who We Serve

We specially train service dogs and facility dogs to assist children with disabilities. 

Applications are currently closed, please check back Fall 2024.



Service dogs are specially trained for families of children* with autism, and related diagnoses, such as but not limited to Down Syndrome, Fragile X, Apraxia, and ADHD. Good Dogs are trained to perform specific tasks to mitigate these disabilities. Examples of tasks include applying pressure, receiving pressure, interrupting or redirecting behavior, providing focus and grounding, and creating a social and communicative bridge. All service dogs are placed as teams of three that include the dog, child, and a parent/caregiver who lives with the child and serves as the primary dog handler.  


Facility dogs are placed with professionals such as teachers, principals, and therapists who work in facilities serving children with autism and related disabilities. The handler is a professional who utilizes the highly trained dog to help children with autism and developmental disabilities meet their goals during therapy sessions or school days. Learn more or apply for a Facility dog here.




Please read the following information before scheduling a Free Chat:

We believe that each family should be considered individually. Just as our kids are one-of-a-kind, so is each family's situation. In order to ensure successful teams, we have the following eligibility requirements for a Good Dog! Service dog:


The child* must:

  • Have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder or a related disability that is mitigated by service dog tasks such as: applying pressure, receiving pressure, interrupting or redirecting behavior, providing focus and grounding, and creating a social and communicative bridge. Learn more about the benefits of these tasks here

  • Be six years of age or older at the time of the dog’s placement in the home.  

  • Live with the parent/caregiver who will be the primary dog handler.


The parent/caregiver must:

  • Live with the child and be willing to be the primary handler. The child may become the primary handler at a later point, if all parties agree that this is possible. In most cases the parent/caregiver will remain the handler. 

  • Be willing to attend a 5-day Team Training in Southern California and pay for travel and accommodation costs. The child does not attend this training, only the parent/caregiver who will be the main handler of the dog. Once the parent/caregiver and dog return home, it is up to the parent/caregiver to transfer the knowledge to the child and any other handlers at their pace and learning style.

  • Be 18 years of age or older

  • Be willing to complete all pre-requisite learning, pass required evaluations, and participate in the on-going training and graduate support program.

  • Have access to the internet with a webcam (or smart phone).


*The term “child” refers to a person with a disability of any age who is not going to be handling the dog independently and/or who may be able to handle the dog independently in the future. "Child" must live at home with a parent or live with a caregiver committed to the dog's care or supervision of care. We do not have an age limit for our service dog recipients paired with an adult handler.



  • We do not specialize in safety. If this is your number one priority then Good Dog! is, most likely, not the organization for you. We are happy to discuss your options with you in a Free Chat.

  • We do not place dogs in households where any individual in the household may inadvertently physically or emotionally harm the dog through meltdowns or other behaviors.

  • It is important that the parent/caregiver handler is prepared to be an effective leader for the dog and can adhere to our guidelines to successfully transition the dog into the family.  As a result, changes to the home environment after acceptance onto the waitlist, such as the birth of new children, the addition of new pets, or a move, may delay the placement of the service dog in your home.

  • Families who reapply for a successor dog after their dog has retired will have priority over new applicants on the waitlist. 

While Good Dog! has established eligibility criteria for the type of service dogs we provide, we do not discriminate against any applicant based on race/ethnicity, creed, gender, religion, marital status, age, nationality, physical or mental disability, medical condition, sexual orientation, citizenship status, military service status or any other consideration as indicated by federal, state or local laws.

​​We do not place the following types of dogs:  

  • Mobility dogs for individuals with physical limitations (While we will consider children with mobility limitations, we will not place dogs with children whose primary or exclusive need is a mobility service dog)

  • Emotional support animals (While our dogs do provide emotional support, our dogs are highly trained service dogs and we do not place dogs exclusively as emotional support animals)

  • Owner-trained service dogs for individuals who have a dog they would like assistance in training as a service dog  

  • Balance dogs

  • Seizure alert or response dogs 

  • Hearing dogs 

  • Guide dogs for blind or visually impaired

  • PTSD service dogs 

  • Diabetic alert dogs 

  • Allergen detection dogs

Assistance Dogs International has a list of accredited organizations that offer these valuable services.  
If you are unsure or have a question about whether we place service dogs that would suit your child’s needs, please sign up for a Group Free Chat.




Please note that at this time we are NOT able to service independent individuals with autism.

Currently our program is designed for a team of three: parent-child-dog. (Over time it may be possible for the child to become the main handler, but there must be a parent present to oversee this process.)

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