Address: 1338 Dewey Court Madison, WI 53703 View Map
Phone: (608) 250-WAGS (9247)
Email: info@wags.net
Website:

About Us

The Wisconsin Academy for Graduate Service Dogs, Inc. began in 1987. Our mission is to promote functional independence and improved quality of life for persons with physical mobility impairments through partnerships with highly skilled service dogs. We are a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization which depends on donations, contributions, and grants from foundations, businesses, and individuals to fund its mission.

WAGS raises and trains service dogs to increase the ability of individuals with disabilities to independently execute functional, daily living skills, increase attendance in daily life events, and improve outlook on life, with the aid and support of a highly trained service dog.

 

WAGS - Wisconsin Academy for Graduate Service Dogs FAQ

Q: How can I learn more about becoming a professional Assistance Dog trainer?
A:
The Assistance Dog Institute has Associate of Science degree and certificate programs aimed at preparing trainers to enter the Assistance Dog industry

Q: Who is eligible to apply for a WAGS dog?
A:
WAGS considers many factors before accepting applicants to be a client. At the very least, our clients must: • Live within about an 80 mile radius of Madison, Wisconsin • Be able and willing to utilize the dog’s training • Be able to care for the dog physically, emotionally, and financially • Be willing to work, practice, and play with their dog.

Q: Where do WAGS dogs come from?
A:
Starting with the right dog is an crucial aspect of determining our success. We have found Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers to be the breeds that are best suited for the life of a service dog. Most WAGS dogs are currently donated from breeders throughout Wisconsin. If you are a breeder interested in donating a puppy, please contact the WAGS office. A WAGS dog should be able to help their person for many years, so only puppies with a family history free of orthopedic and other health problems can be considered. Evaluations on the temperament of each incoming pup are also conducted. WAGS dogs should have a calm demeanor and be utterly without aggression to either people or other dogs. They should get satisfaction from working and helping their owners. They should have a deep and abiding desire to please their people. They must have the potential to care more about their person than about other dogs, other people, or even a squirrel or a cat that crosses their path.

Q: How do I find out about volunteer opportunities at WAGS?
A:
Starting with the right dog is an crucial aspect of determining our success. We have found Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers to be the breeds that are best suited for the life of a service dog. Most WAGS dogs are currently donated from breeders throughout Wisconsin. If you are a breeder interested in donating a puppy, please contact the WAGS office. A WAGS dog should be able to help their person for many years, so only puppies with a family history free of orthopedic and other health problems can be considered. Evaluations on the temperament of each incoming pup are also conducted. WAGS dogs should have a calm demeanor and be utterly without aggression to either people or other dogs. They should get satisfaction from working and helping their owners. They should have a deep and abiding desire to please their people. They must have the potential to care more about their person than about other dogs, other people, or even a squirrel or a cat that crosses their path.

Q: How do I find out about volunteer opportunities at WAGS?
A:
You will find an overview of our volunteer programs and volunteer position descriptions in the Volunteer section on our web site at www.wags.net.

Q: How can I apply for a WAGS dog?
A:
From the selection of our puppies to our client training and follow-up, our mission of promoting functional independence and quality of life for individuals with physical disabilities remains central to every aspect of WAGS, Inc. WAGS strives to provide an unobtrusive helpmate to our clients; not a burden to deal with. We select a quiet, unexcitable dog so that its human partner is not constantly required to manage behavior. Our staff and volunteers know that early puppyhood education is vital to the success of these incredible helpmates. WAGS pups are given every opportunity to become well rounded and thinking dogs. We provide our puppies with toys, games, experiences, and positive reinforcement training that helps them to develop their service dog minds. Despite our careful selection and training, from time to time we do have a dog that, due to health or temperament, cannot be placed in any of the four WAGS dog roles. A non-graduate dog is usually released between 1-2 years of age. They are spayed or neutered and are current on vaccinations. Those interested in adopting a non-graduate dog need to fill out a non-graduate application, pass a home visit and pay the required adoption fee. WAGS dogs that pass their final evaluation will go on to become teammates with individuals who have requested a WAGS dog and completed our entire application process. We match one of our fully trained dogs with a qualified individual who has similar personality characteristics. Our client services include a training class at the WAGS training facility followed by specialized training in the home and environment of each recipient. We will teach the entire range of dog handling skills necessary for each team to be successful. Our services do not end there. WAGS has a comprehensive follow up program to ensure the continued success of every team.

Q: What is your website?
A: