Selection and training of applicants

Canine Partners has developed a detailed assessment process to identify those people who are most likely to enjoy the benefits of an Assistance Dog. Potential Partners are asked to complete and return an application form and then medical reports are requested from their doctor, consultant and health care specialists - whichever is most relevant to their individual circumstances. All details are treated in the strictest confidence.

Eligible applicants are invited to attend an initial assessment day to see how they interact with the dogs and to see if they enjoy the process. It is an opportunity for us each to start getting to know each other. A home visit is then carried out by one of our regional Occupational Therapists to see if the applicant would need to make any adaptations to their home or garden to prepare the way for their future Canine Partner. Then if the applicant is successful they will be put on a waiting list to be matched with the most suitable dog. This can take anything between 9-14 months. The matching process will necessitate further visits to Heyshott to work with the dogs and identify the most suitable Canine Partner. Once the dog has completed its tailor-made training, the Partner will attend a two week training course staying in specially adapted facilities at Heyshott. If practical reasons make it impossible for a Partner to travel to Heyshott our service may be provided in a different way.


We need to make sure that an Assistance Dog will bring benefit to a potential Partner - dogs bring extra chores and responsibilities as well as "the fun side" and an applicant needs to be prepared for this. Dogs need exercising every day, regardless of the weather, if they are to be happy. Having an Assistance Dog will not be the most appropriate answer for everyone - between us we try to come to the right conclusion for every individual. There will also be some costs associated with dog-ownership although these may be covered by Direct Payments and of course, the dogs are given FREE OF CHARGE to their Partner. Full details of costs are provided. They become the dog's full custodian and so complete a Dog Custodian Agreement Form (the charity retains ownership of the dog). Our dogs are fully insured and this becomes the Partners' financial responsibility on renewal.

What are the Partner's responsibilities?

A Canine Partner is totally reliant upon its Partner for feeding, grooming, exercise and play. A Partner must be willing to undertake the majority of these responsibilities themself as it is important that a one-to-one bond develops. This ensures that dog and Partner get maximum benefit from their partnership together. The Partner undertakes to become the dog's legal "Custodian" and agrees to provide for all its needs (the Charity retains actual ownership of every dog it trains). Our dogs enjoy learning new tasks which will help their Partners, but in return they need lots of love, praise and affection. It is also important that they have the opportunity to exhibit normal natural doggy behaviours - these are often the times that a Partner enjoys the most too. So everyone's happy!

If you're not sure if having a Canine Partner is the right thing for you, why not contact us anyway to get more information? And if you don't believe "your need is as great as somebody else's", why not apply and leave it to us to decide? Your need may be greater than you think, either physically or emotionally. 


Please fill in or print off the Application Form for a Canine Partner here.. or call our Partnership & Aftercare Department on 01730 716 043.


Latest News

First BIG Bluebell Dog Walk
Our first BIG Bluebell Dog Walk of the season took place this Sunday in London, launching a record number of walks for 2014. There are 14 walks to choose from all over the country with the first at leafy Eltham Park South, Eltham in London. Organiser Julia Milligan invited walkers to join her for the hour-long stroll through the bluebells at the Glenesk Road park from 10.30am. The BIG Bluebell Dog Walk enjoyed a scenic hour long walk to raise funds and awareness for the Charity.

Solidering On with Steve and Kizzie
Saturday night saw one of our favourite partnerships take centre stage at the Soldiering On Awards in Central London. Steve and canine partner Kizzie were honoured at the annual event and named winner of the Soldiering On Canine Award 2014. The former Royal Navy Petty Officer had won a public vote to take the title. Readers of the Sunday Mirror as well as the huge family that is Canine Partners supporters and volunteers chose the partnership to lift the coveted title.

Passing the baton for Canine Partners
One of our partnerships and two puppy parents have been chosen to play their part in the Queen's Baton Relay as part of the celebrations for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. Zoe McLean and Remus and dedicated puppy parents Lorraine Bonnar and Graham Smith have been selected to carry the baton on its way to launch the XX Games. The baton left Buckingham Palace on 9 October last year and will travel to 70 Commonwealth countries before it arrives in Scotland for the opening ceremony in Glasgow on 23 July.

CEO's Blog

The London Marathon - an alternative view

Andy Cook - Monday, April 14, 2014
Well what an amazing day!! If anyone ever gives you the chance to take part in the London Marathon, grab it with both hands first, and think of the pain afterwards, as a necessary evil of participating in a once in a lifetime experience. I never dreamed my name would get pulled out of the hat - only one in seven do - and I must admit I had very mixed feelings when it did, last October, as your life is then committed to a winter of training. But w  Read More

Canine Partners’ Leicestershire Training Centre

Canine Partners needs to raise £3.1million to build a second Training Centre in order to train more dogs and change more lives.

We have purchased a site in a village called Osgathorpe, halfway between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Loughborough, which has a range of barns, outbuildings and associated land. The plan is to replace the barns and adapt some of the outbuildings to create the specialised buildings we need.

Having a Midlands Training Centre will not only increase our output, it will also make the charity far more accessible for those on our waiting list who are unable to make the long journey to our centre in West Sussex. 42% of the applications we received last year were from people living in the mid and northern regions of the UK. Many of our existing partnerships will also benefit from being able to receive support from the new centre.

The site will consist of a training centre and office facilities, fully accessible accommodation and kennelling.

This is an extremely exciting time for Canine Partners and we would be delighted to receive your support.

For more information about this project, please contact Cat Harvey on 01730 716018 or email

Jobs available at the new centre will be advertised on our Vacancies page here: Work for us



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