The Owner Train program is for those who feel that they have the patience, time and desire to utilize their own dog as their assistance dog. The dog that you would like evaluated for this training MUST meet the criteria outlined on this page. The program is a minimum of six (6) months long and you must be able to meet in the El Cajon area at least once a week in person.

If you think this is the program for you, please complete the pre-application and you will be contacted by our Training Director.

If you have additional questions, you may email us at support@nextstepservicedogs.org.

Dogs suitable for NSSD training:

    • Age is between 1.5 years old and 3 years old.
    • Naturally calm and not easily distracted.
    • Friendly to people and other animals.
    • Has a Canine Good Citizen Test Certificate or proof of basic obedience class.
      1. Canine Good Citizen Test
      2. If your dog is ready to take the test, find an approved tester in your area HERE
      3.  Register to take the test.
      4. Submit passing paperwork along with all other required documents.
    • Veteran-owned dog team must attend training classes for a minimum of six (6) months.
    • All dogs must meet the criteria of the NSSD temperament test.

In addition to completing the NSSD Application the following must be met:

* DD214 showing Honorable Discharge
* 80% service-connected disability rating or greater
* VA verification letter required
* Medical Professional reference form completed verifying disability (TBI, PTSD or Mobility)

*Applicant must reside in the San Diego, California area to be eligible for our program.

**NSSD does not condone discrimination with regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability or veteran status in applicants, paid staff or volunteers. All applications will be considered equally.