Autism Assistance Dogs

Trained to enhance the safety of children with autism by acting as an anchor and preventing the child from bolting. (Currently serving in Oregon, California and Washington.)


Dumas & Liam – How Dumas changed Liam’s life forever

What is an Autism Assistance Dog?

Life is full of possibilities. But if you have a young child on the autism spectrum, there are times when those possibilities seem limited. At Dogs for Better Lives, our Autism Assistance Dogs are helping families create more possibilities for safety, confidence, and comfort.

Autism Assistance Dogs are professionally trained to act as an anchor to reduce or slow a child’s ability to bolt, apply deep pressure, and to provide companionship dedicated solely to the child. Combined with their professional training, an Autism Assistance Dogs’ calm and caring behavior have shown to decrease anxiety, increase calmness, reduce emotional meltdowns, and foster more manageable bedtime routines.

Dogs for Better Lives is the premier provider of professionally trained Assistance Dogs. We are currently serving children throughout the states of Oregon, California, and Washington who are between the ages of 4 – 11.

Autism Assistance Dog Capabilities

  • Provides a calming effect, may increase a child’s willingness to communicate
  • Provides opportunity to improve social skills
  • Reduces emotional meltdowns
  • Provides safety by serving as a stabilizing “anchor” to prevent child from bolting
  • Provides companionship

Apply For A Dog

Before you decide to apply for a Autism Assistance Dog, please read about our  Autism Assistance Dog Program Requirements.

Our Process


Click on the ‘Get Started’ button above to fill out and submit an application. Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will be notified via email of the next step. If you have any questions about the application, please email or call 541-826-9220.


All applicants for Autism Assistance Dogs must have a documented Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. This will be reviewed by the Application Screening Committee. If eligibility requirements are met, then you will be requested to submit additional documentation, such as a Medical History Form.

In-Home Interview

In-home interviews provide us with additional information on the applicants’ needs and lifestyles. A Dogs for Better Lives associate conducts this interview; all members of the household must be present for this interview appointment.

Acceptance or Denial

After the interview is completed and returned to us, the entire application packet will be carefully reviewed and a final decision made as to whether or not one of our professionally trained dogs is suitable for the applicant.

Waiting Period

The waiting period is approximately 36 months from the time the person is accepted to receive an Autism Assistance Dog.


Autism Assistance Dogs are accompanied by a trainer to the home of the client. The trainer teaches the teaches the child and family how to keep the dog working consistently and how to maintain the dog’s obedience training.


Following the placement, regular communication is required. The client reports regularly on the progress of the dog. When problems arise or the client has any questions, the trainer offers help and answers questions. In-home follow up is also done.

Dogs for Better Lives provides follow-up support for the life of the team.