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Getting Started OAT-NC

The Help You Need to Train Your Dog

  • You read the information on Owner Assisted Training and you are ready to get started. This is a commitment of time and energy on your part.  You get out of the classes what you put in.  If you attend the classes and do not work with your dog outside of class then your dog will not progress.   

  • Class pre-requisite is the basic obedience course offered by Four Paws NC.  This helps to ensure all owners and dogs are at a similar level when starting owner-assisted training.  It also prepares the owners for what they can expect during owner-assisted training.

  • Complete an OAT Application, and medical information and pay the application/consultation fee.

  • Four Paws NC will contact you once your application is reviewed to schedule a consultation.  Please allow at least one to two hours for the in-person consultation with you and your dog.  A significant other or caregiver can attend with you.

  • If you and your dog are accepted in the OAT, an agreement will be prepared by Four Paws NC outlining the commands and skills that will be targeted and costs.  Some adjustments may be made during training to best achieve the objective.

  • Once the agreement is approved by both parties, a class date will be scheduled. 

  • Fees are payable in full before the initiation of any level of training. Each module of training is billed separately and paid at the beginning of the module of training. Fees are non-refundable if your dog is found unable to continue training for any reason

  • Most OAT participants can expect to work for between 24 to 36 weeks before being ready to schedule the Public Access and Skills Assessment necessary to complete the program.

  • The program is divided into different levels. Each level builds upon one another and will be taught in order. Dogs with previous training experience will still need to start with our beginner level.


Your Dog Big or small we love them all

  • Small or large dogs, pure-bred or mix-breeds are eligible for training with some criteria that are simple, yet mandatory. ​

  • The dogs' size must be appropriate for the disability served.  

  • Dogs need to be a minimum of 6-9 months of age and have had some level of training. 

  • The dog must not be aggressive to people or other dogs or have been trained in aggressive techniques such as protection.


  • FELONY CONVICTIONS ARE INELIGIBLE:  Anyone convicted of a felony, domestic violence, a sexual offense of any kind or any type of animal mistreatment, abuse, neglect, or cruelty cannot qualify for this program.

  • VISUALLY IMPAIRED:  Four Paws NC cannot assist someone with visual impairment or blindness.  Our team does not have the necessary skills to train a seeing-eye dog.

  • AUTISM: Four Paws NC cannot assist someone with autism.  Our team does not have the necessary skills to train a service dog for autism.​

  • NON-VERBAL:  Four Paws NC cannot assist someone who is non-verbal or using a communication board. ​

  • THIRD-PARTY HANDLER:  Four Paws NC cannot assist someone who requires a handler for their service dog.  While the ADA does allow for this type of situation, we believe the use of a service dog is to make someone with a disability more independent.  

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