About Circle Tail Assistance Dogs

(Go here for information on adopting dogs or puppies as pets)


Circle Tail trains service/hearing dogs that have public access and service/hearing dogs that just work in the home. Click here for information on In-Home assistance dogs.

Please note, we do not currently train psychiatric support dogs, medical alert dogs (except Diabetes Alert Dogs), or public access service dogs for children with Autism.

Assistance Dog Public Access Law

Circle Tail trains the following types of Assistance Dogs:


  • Service Dogs for people with disabilities other than vision or hearing loss, (Please note, we do not currently train psychiatric support dogs, medical alert dogs (except Diabetes Alert Dogs), or public access service dogs for children with Autism) and

How much does a Circle Tail dog cost?

A Circle Tail dog and training is at no cost to the individual. It is estimated that it costs an organization at least $10,000 to successfully train and partner one dog/person team. There is a $25.00 non-refundable application fee, plus a nominal fee for supplies at the time of partnering. All applicants must demonstrate that the dog will be properly cared for both physically and financially and agree to certain responsibilities.

How are Circle Tail dogs obtained?

Circle Tail receives its puppies / dogs through donations from families, breeders, humane societies, county shelters, or rescued as strays. Circle Tail promotes the use of unwanted puppies / dogs to help make their lives enjoyable and purposeful. Circle Tail currently does not have a breeding program. Selected puppies / dogs are of a size able to do the work required and of a breed or mix that is easy to groom and train. The puppy / dog must be confident and willing to work. They also must be good with other dogs, cats and people of all ages.

What breeds of dogs does Circle Tail train?

In general, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherd Dogs make the best service dogs. Smaller dogs can be used for hearing dogs. However, Circle Tail doesn't necessarily focus on the specific breed of the dog so much as making sure the dog has the right temperament for assistance work. Dogs are carefully evaluated during the selection process and those dogs that have the temperament to be a working dog are selected for the program. Assistance dogs can be pure breeds, mixed breeds, large dogs, or small dogs.

How are Circle Tail Dogs trained?

Circle Tail dogs receive their training on site at Circle Tail or through the Inmate/Canine Educational Program. Circle Tail works with the Ohio Reformatory for Women and Dayton Correctional Institute in Ohio. The inmates are responsible for all of the puppies'/ dogs' physical and emotional needs. They oversee their social development and instruct them in good house manners and basic and advanced obedience.

Dogs receive critical socialization and refinement of their advanced obedience commands through the Foster Family Program. Dogs are placed in foster families where they are socialized around everyday experiences they otherwise don't experience through the prison program. Families work with the dogs in their home and public places making sure to use their advanced service skills.

Dogs are carefully tracked throughout their training by Circle Tail trainers.

How long do Circle Tail dogs work?

Most dogs are partnered between 2 - 3 years of age. The average work life of an assistance dog is 6 - 8 years. When the dog retires, s/he may remain with the partner as a pet or return to Circle Tail.

How are Circle Tail dogs funded?

Circle Tail is supported entirely by public contributions. Circle Tail receives no government funding. Financial support of Circle Tail is tax deductible as allowed by law.

How can I sponsor an Assistance Dog?

To sponsor a Circle Tail Assistance Dog, please print the attached form and send it with your tax deductible contribution to the address on the bottom of the form. We thank you for your generosity and consideration and our dogs thank you as well!

You can also consider sponsoring an Assistance Dog Team Starter Tote. Circle Tail would like to provide Team Starter Totes to newly partnered assistance dog teams to help them on a successful path to partnership. Totes include start-up supplies such as a collar with ID tag, leash, toy, assistance dog vest or harness, some grooming supplies, 6 months worth of heartworm and flea/tick control medication, 1 month supply of food, membership in the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners and more! Approximate cost for each tote is $350. Sponsors will receive a photo of the assistance dog team they helped.


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International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) is a cross-disability organization representing people partnered with guide, hearing and service dogs.