for assistance dogs and their humans

An assistance dog for your family....

Many questions reach us about how the process is from the request to the moving in of the dog or even to its retirement. Therefore, we have decided to outline the process here, individual deviations are of course possible!

About us

The “Assistenzhunde Helfende Pfoten gGmbH” has made it its business to provide people with disabilities with an assistance dog. Assistance dogs have been legally recognized as aids for people with disabilities since summer 2021, but government funding still does not exist. Therefore, the “Helfende Pfoten e.V.” collects donations for the acquisition of suitable dogs and their training as well as for their care. Different “donation pots” are available for each assistance dog deployed.

As an applicant for full membership in Assistance Dog International, the worldwide recognized, networked and largest assistance dog organization, “Assistenzhunde Helfende Pfoten gGmbH” is subject to the standards and specifications of ADI / ADEu in addition to the legal requirements from Germany. We hope to achieve full membership in late 2022 and look forward to being a part of Assistance Dog International then.

The procedure

You register with the association, by e-mail or telephone and receive from the association, in addition to this letter, an application form. Please return this to the association together with proof of severe disability.

Based on the application, the association’s board of directors will decide if you are eligible to receive an assistance dog and be accompanied by the association. If the decision is positive, you will then be invited to a non-binding meeting at the club’s headquarters in 51491 Overath.

After getting to know each other, you – as well as the association – decide for or against a cooperation. If you decide not to cooperate, your documents will be archived in accordance with data protection regulations.

In the event of a joint decision to cooperate, two different variants can be considered:

a) A potential assistance dog is already owned by the association (or assistance dog trainee).

In this case, a further meeting between you, the club and the dog will clarify whether there is sympathy on all sides and whether the dog suits you and your needs. At the age of 18 months at the earliest, the future assistance dog has to pass a major health check and a so-called quality test. If both are positive, the induction can start.

b) The club does not currently own a suitable dog: in this case, the club will search for a potentially suitable dog (puppy or young dog), acquire it, train it and prepare it for the health check and the so-called quality test. If both go positively, the induction can start with you.

After health check and quality test, the training starts with you. The amount of training will depend on the local distance between you and the club, your experience with dogs, and the actual training needs. Basically, 5 training days at the association headquarters and about 20 days at your place of residence are calculated. The training is spread over several appointments in a period of 6 weeks to approx. 6 months, depending on requirements and distance. The decisive factor here is always the individual need for support!

The familiarization process ends with a team examination. This will take place at your place of residence or at the club headquarters.

After successful team testing, there will be another training MONTHLY in the first six months after the team testing. During the following six months, training is held EVERY 2 MONTHS. After one year, this interval can be extended to 3 – 4 months. A veterinary health check must be performed annually, a form will be provided.

At some point, there comes a time when the assistance dog becomes too old for his “job”. Since the club stays in contact with you during the contract period, in most cases the club can consider with you early on what the future of the dog might look like. Some dogs remain as pensioners in their assistance family, some come back to the association, which cares lovingly for these dogs then. Exactly when a dog is retired is decided in close cooperation between the trainers, the club board and the family veterinarian.


Tel: +49 2204-4807877