International Association of
Assistance Dog Partners

FAQ - Membership and Benefits

Q.   What are IAADP Membership Categories?

A.   IAADP membership categories are listed below.

GENERAL BENEFITS: All members receive our networking publication, Partners Forum, and a discount on IAADP Conference registration fees with the payment of annual dues. New members receive a packet with educational material tailored to their membership category.

IAADP assistance dog Partner Members are eligible to receive additional benefits, as described below. These benefits may change from time to time.

Q.   What other benefits may be available to me as a Partner Member?

A.  IAADP was originally conceived of as a self help network by its disabled founders. Reducing the financial burden of assistance dog partnership on the disabled individual has been one of IAADP's goals since its inception in 1993. In the United States and Canada, benefits for Partner Members include free Advantage, a flea control product, produced by Bayer Animal Health. Their new combined flea, tick, and mosquito control product, K9 Advantix, is only available in the States at this time.

Advantage - USA

Canadian Benefits

The Canadian Assistance Dog Health Support Program - requires Acrobat Reader (below) new material

Text only Adobe Acrobat Reader download page

You are eligible for a free AVID microchip and free enrollment in Petrack or the AKC Companion Animal Recovery Program. A newly announced benefit is Nutramax Labs Cosequin when prescribed and distributed by your veterinarian. Cosequin is used to protect and support joint cartilage.


Partner Members may also be able to obtain a financial grant from the Veterinary Care Partnership program if a particular case meets the VCP eligibility guidelines. We urge you to become familiar with VCP's purpose, protocol and eligibility criteria before a problem arises.

Veterinary Care Partnership

Partner Members in the U.K. and other countries are encouraged to initiate contact with companies in their geographic regions to seek ways to make the cost of partnership with an assistance dog more affordable for those on limited incomes.

Q.  I have an emotional support dog. Why can't I join as a Partner Member to obtain the extra benefits?

A.  According to IAADP's bylaws and agreements with corporate sponsors, only dogs who can legally accompany their disabled partners into public places under the Americans with Disabilities Act or equivalent international legislation, are eligible for assistance dog status. The United States Department of Justice uses the term "service animal" to describe this very special kind of dog. Only qualified disabled individuals with assistance dogs are eligible for an assistance dog partner membership. In order to change a dog to service animal status under the ADA, thus entitling the disabled person to public access rights, three things are necessary.

  1. The dog's partner must have a disabling condition severe enough to impair one or more major life functions, as defined by the ADA.
  2. The dog must be trained to perform identifiable physical tasks to mitigate the disability.
  3. The dog must be well behaved and under the control of its handler in public places.
Dogs meeting these criteria are termed "assistance dogs" by IAADP and many other organizations. IAADP recognizes three types: guide dogs for the legally blind, hearing dogs for the deaf and hard of hearing and service dogs who perform trained tasks for people with disabilities other than blindness or deafness.

Both assistance dogs and companion animals such as those labeled emotional support dogs or social therapy dogs can provide comfort, stress relief, increased social interactions and other therapeutic benefits. But that is not enough to legally compel businesses to make an exception to their "no pets allowed" policies.

The rationale for granting public access rights to disabled persons is that their guide, hearing or service dogs function as assistive devices. Just as it would be an act of discrimination to deprive disabled people of their wheelchairs, hearing aids or white canes when they venture out into public, refusing to allow disabled people to rely on their assistance dogs in public places and on public transportation was viewed by legislators as equally deplorable. A service animal / assistance dog who is individually trained to perform tasks to mitigate a disability cannot be treated like a pet by those operating public accommodations. A service animal / assistance dog has been officially classified as a form of assistive technology.

Q.  What do you mean by "trained tasks that mitigate a disability?"

A.  Concrete examples given by the US Department of Justice in its 2002 FAQ For Businesses of trained Tasks that mitigate disability, include, but are not limited to, guiding the blind, alerting the deaf or hard of hearing to specific sounds in the environment, wheelchair pulling and assisting someone during a seizure in specific ways.

2002 ADA Business BRIEF: Service Animals

This task training is the basis for granting legal access rights to disabled citizens in the USA.

As a general rule, emotional support dogs and social therapy dogs do not receive the necessary training to perform disability mitigating tasks on command or cue that will increase a disabled person's safety or independence. Thus the owners of such dogs do not qualify for public access rights under ADA. We respect the role that an emotional support dog and other non-task trained dogs have in the lives of disabled individuals. Their owners are welcome to join as IAADP Friend Members.

Only disabled persons who work with task trained assistance dogs can enroll as Partner Members of IAADP, vote in our bi- annual elections and depending on their country, receive additional benefits supporting the assistance dog / human partner relationship.

Educational Note:   For a list of potentially useful tasks that a service dog can learn to perform to assist someone with a psychiatric disability like panic disorder, depression and / or post traumatic stress disorder, click on this link.

Service Dog Tasks for Psychiatric Service Dogs

For a list of more than a hundred tasks performed by other kinds of assistance dogs, click here.

Traditional Assistance Dog Tasks

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