Since 1995, ECAD’s core program, Open Doors, has directly served the needs of over 300 disabled clients and has helped thousands of distressed individuals. Every Open Doors Assistance Dog receives two years of education to prepare them for their career. These purpose-bred, hand-raised dogs learn specific behaviors to serve people with physical needs or to support those in challenging circumstance with a wet-nose nuzzle, an extended paw, and a wagging tail.

Open Door Service Dogs

Variety of Assistance Dogs ECAD Places:

Service Dogs

A dog that works for individuals with disabilities other than blind or deaf. They are trained to perform a wide variety of tasks including but not limited to; pulling a wheelchair, bracing, retrieving, alerting to a medical crisis, and providing assistance in a medical crisis. Some of these disabilities include but are not limited to Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Sleep Apnea, Friedreich's Ataxia, Vertigo, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, and Spinal Cord Injuries
Apply for a Service Dog  |  Request for More Information

Skilled Companion Dogs

A service dog trained to work or perform tasks with an adult or child with a disability under the guidance of an additional person, a facilitator. A facilitator is typically a parent, spouse or caregiver who handles and cares for the assistance dog, encourages and is responsible for the customized needs of the placement.
Apply for a Service Dog  |  Request for More Information


The applicant must:

  • Be in need of a Service Dog to assist in activities of daily living due to some type of a physical restriction.
  • Be willing and able to travel to our Connecticut training center for interviews, Team Training and yearly public access tests.
  • Have an acceptance of his or her physical disability.
  • Demonstrate they can put into practice the information they have learned during Team Training.
  • Develop a bond with their Service Dog and perform safely as a Team in public.
  • Have the ability to commit to uphold the training for the life of the dog.
  • Must be able to show that he or she has the appropriate environment and resources to properly care for a dog.


All participants are required to complete a thirteen-day Team Training, where they are taught commands, skills, and canine behavior through lectures, dog handling drills, and community field trips. During Team Training, attendees have the option to stay on-site in shared lodging.