Canine Program



The Canine Program is comprised of a three-phase training curriculum designed for Veterans who are invested into the theory of the human-animal bond as well as the healing power of animal training. Since the earliest days of human existence dogs have provided a level of companionship unique to anything else. The Canine Program aims to help Veterans establish a foundation of communication with their currently owned dog or a matched dog from a partnering shelter/Puppy Development Program. Once this communication is established, Veterans will begin to connect with their dogs on a mutually-beneficial level, developing the ability to train new behaviors and synchronize in a unique partnership. While in this program, Veterans will learn the value of modern, canine training techniques that will enhance and build upon the unconditional bond that their canine companion has to offer.

Veterans interested in applying to this program must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be a Veteran, or active duty service member who is pending retirement or separation from the military.
  2. Must have a service-connected disability rating from the Veterans Administration for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with Military Sexual Trauma.
  3. Be able to provide a medical referral from current or previous clinician that shows proof of treatment for a period of no less than six months.
  4. Must be able to identify at least three people who are part of a support system. Peer support is available for those that express interest or identify need.
  5. Must have a clear understanding that this program does not guarantee service dog placement/endorsement.
  6. Must have an increased desire for independence.
  7. Be open to learning new coping mechanisms to deal with anger/frustration.
  8. Show the willingness to provide support for the dog's physical and mental wellbeing.
  9. Be willing and able to implement modern, canine training concepts from Clear Path’s trainers.



Dogs will be selected for Canine Program based on the following criteria:

  1. Must be up to date on all vaccinations, including rabies and distemper
  2. Must be at least six months and no more than three years of age
  3. Must be spayed or neutered
  4. Must regularly receive flea and tick preventatives
  5. Must be cleared by veterinarian to participate in training
  6. Must have no history of aggressive behavior
  7. Must be cleared for training by program manager and trainer(s) for enrollment

*For those entering the application process, it is not recommended that a canine is selected without first consulting with the Canine Program staff. Canines enrolled into the program are carefully screened for health, temperament, and trainability. The process of matching a dog with a prospective Veteran is taken very seriously and there are several considerations that must take place to ensure the best possible chance at a successful team.*




Veteran/Dog Teams who successfully complete Phase I of the Canine Program may be considered for Phase II training – Team Building. This would require further training (up to three months) highlighting public access, introduction to tasks and CGCA preparation. This opportunity is based on a trainer’s observations and overall team progression during the course of training. This will be openly discussed when this opportunity presents itself. Understand that this is not the goal of Phase I, but is made available for consideration under the appropriate circumstances. Phase III of Canine Programming is Synchronization. This phase is an additional three months of training highlighting behavioral modification, generalizing tasks and a public access test. Canines selected for service dog training must meet the following requirements upon selection:

  1. Tolerance to a high level of stress
  2. Sensitivity without anxiety
  3. The ability to perceive environmental and interpersonal cues
  4. The ability to complete tasks in very difficult and emotional situations
  5. No reactivity, possessiveness, guarding behaviors or increased anxiety

This program requires a high level of commitment on both the Veteran and the trainers at Clear Path, and it is important that training is occurring during a consistent frequency outside of training sessions.

Ready to apply?

After reviewing our Canine Program webpages, if you have questions about the program, please contact us at