Service dog program overview

Service dogs are specifically trained to provide assistance to individuals with disabilities through support with daily activities and providing motivation to to tackle everyday challenges. Our dogs are specifically trained to provide enhanced mobility and renewed independence to United States veterans, active-duty service members, and first responders with disabilities, allowing them to once again live with pride and self-reliance.

America's VetDogs welcomes veterans, active duty service members, and first responders into its community and supports them with an uncompromised commitment to excellence, from highly certified trainers, to meticulously constructed curriculum. We're sensitive to the changing needs of our clients, and with our innovative two-week training program with a 3:1 student/instructor ratio, we can focus on incorporating a blend of customized training formats that meet an incoming student's goals and objectives. 

We craft a program students will find exciting to participate in as it's relevant to their specific lifestyle and needs.  We carefully listen to each incoming student and work to match them with the right dog, so as they graduate as a team, they are ready to take on new challenges with a greater sense of independence.  Our campus in Smithtown, New York provides an environment where students can learn safely with caring instructors.  

For applicants accepted to our program, all services are provided for free including travel, lodging, training, and a lifetime of aftercare support services.

Our Facilities 

Our beautiful 15-acre campus in fully a equipped with a Student Residence Hall  that offers single rooms with a private bath. Each room has individual climate control,  private telephone lines, free WiFi, assistive technology and more. These rooms were completely renovated in May 2023 with new climate control and bedding courtesy of BEDGEAR.  During your stay, our formally trained chef provides delicious meals while meeting all special dietary requirements. The  Student Union features a spacious dining room, comfortable lobby, a snack room,  two laundry facilities and an outdoor patio. Smithtown, New York is located 50 miles east of NYC on Long Island. Our campus is located in a quiet neighborhood community surrounded greenery and trees.

Matching Process 

One of the hallmarks of America's VetDogs is its meticulous matching program to ensure that each student is matched with the dog that best suits that person’s mobility, personality, lifestyle, and physical needs.
We are also able offer cross-trained guide dogs to perform service dog tasks.  These service dog tasks can be added to a training program for qualified students on a case-by-case basis whose mobility has been further compromised and tasks can include providing balance, retrieval and hearing assistance.

Building a Team

America's VetDogs students come from all backgrounds, ages, and all geographical locations.  From WWII, to current conflict veterans, they share one common goal: to live without boundaries.  Applicants for an assistance dog must be United States veterans who have been honorably discharged from the military or first responders who are visually or hearing impaired, or physically disabled.  Learn more about program qualifications here. 

Once accepted into the program, our students will come to our 10-acre campus in Smithtown, New York, for our two-week in-residence training program.  Classes are kept small to ensure personalized attention for each student and their new dog.  Over the course of the time spent with us, the student and dog bond and learn how to work together as a team. 

Educational Workshops

Students will also participate in various educational workshops on grooming and care for their dog, obedience, accessibility awareness and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as assistance dog etiquette.


Our students and their dogs are guaranteed a lifetime of aftercare.  After the team returns home, our staff follows up with each graduate team to inquire how they're working together.  If follow up training is requested, one of our field service representatives will work with them to provide personalized attention in their home environment as they adjust to their daily routine.

Field Service Representatives

The Foundation has field service representatives who are skilled guide and service dog instructors who support our program across the United States.  They assist with in-home training, graduate follow-up training and aftercare if necessary, and they can assist potential students during the application process.  Once a dog is placed in a consumer’s home, a field service representative will be their main contact if they have any questions or further training needs.  As with our on-campus training staff, our field reps are committed to providing quality follow-up services to our graduates for the entire working life of the guide or service dog team.