About Us

Our vision is to transform lives and advance the Service Dog sector. Our dream is wellness and support for all.

Our mission is to foster integration and independence for individuals and social service agencies by providing them with highly trained Assistance Dogs.

Our History

  • Founded in 1996, we registered as a charitable organization.
  • In 2003, we added the Service Dog Program.
  • In 2007, we expanded to offer Autism Service Dogs for children.
  • In 2009, we added the Facility Dog Program.

Organization and Governance

Training Philosophy

At Dogs with Wings, our training philosophy is rooted in compassion and partnership, guided by the standards set forth by Assistance Dog International (ADI). Here’s how we approach training:

  1.  Respect for Sentient Beings: We recognize that dogs, like humans, are sentient beings deserving of dignity and respect.
  2. Building Partnership: Our focus is on fostering a strong partnership between the learner and the handler, built on teamwork and trust as the cornerstone.
  3. Empowerment and Choice: We create an environment where the learner feels empowered to make choices and explore their surroundings freely.
  4. Positive Reinforcement: Training is based on the principles of positive reinforcement, following the guidelines of LIMA (Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive), with a commitment to abstain from physical punishment.
  5. Health and Welfare First: Before any training is implemented, we prioritize addressing the health and welfare needs of the dog, following the Humane Hierarchy principle.
  6. Individualized Approach: Each learner is treated as a unique individual with specific needs and desires, ensuring personalized attention and care.
  7. Science-based Methods: We advocate for scientifically proven training methods such as shaping, luring, and capturing, while avoiding techniques like spatial pressure or physical handling.
  8. Minimal Equipment Use: We aim to minimize the use of additional tools and equipment on the dog, prioritizing their comfort and well-being.
  9. Avoidance of Aversive Equipment: We refrain from using equipment that applies aversive stimuli, including but not limited to shock collars, prong collars, *slip leads, or *spray devices. *Slip leads or Pet corrector/Citronella spray may be used outside of training in the unlikely event of an emergency transportation device, or to assist in emergency conflict situations.
  10. Upholding Animal Welfare: As a member of Humane Canada, we adhere to the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, ensuring that dogs under our care are free from hunger, discomfort, pain, fear, and distress.
  11.  Client Task & Well-being Consideration: The tasks trained for the dog’s client are carefully selected to ensure they do not compromise the dog’s well-being.
  12. Respect for Individual Choice: We continuously assess the dog’s personality and strengths to allow them to choose the program that best suits them. We acknowledge that not all dogs are suitable for every program and prioritize their well-being by releasing them to become pets when it’s in their best interest.