Primary Handler

Primary Handlers:

Primaries are students who foster a service dog in training. The dog will live with you as a primary and you will be responsible for it's training and care.

Primaries will get certified and paired with a puppy through 4 Paws for Ability in Ohio. You may request the breed and sex of your dog, but not a specific dog. You may ask for an older puppy/dog too!

Primary Handlers Responsibilities:

  • Care, grooming, & training of their dog

  • Getting housing approval

  • Transporting their dog to 4 Paws in Ohio when needed (training evaluations & spay/neuter)

  • Buying treats, toys, and other needed supplies

  • Bringing their dog to 4 Paws at UIUC Events to get financial support towards you and your SDiT from our club

Club Events:

  • General Meetings

  • Training sessions

  • Fundraisers

  • Collaborations

  • Member Socials

  • Field Trips

How 4 Paws at UIUC Supports their Primaries:

  • The President helps primaries through the WHOLE primary process and is available by text at any time for an issues or needed support

  • We have two GroupMes: a sitters chat & a primary chat. The sitter chat offers a group of 4 Paws certified volunteer trainers for primaries to ask to watch their dog whenever they need. The primary handlers chat provides an opportunity for primaries to talk and get support on issues or anything else with their dog.

  • If your SDiT attends at least 70% of our events, our club will offer financial support for your dog to help cover the cost of supplies not given by 4 Paws for Ability (more details on how attendance is calculated when you receive your pup or email us)

    Support includes: toys, treats, poop bags, grooming supplies & other supplies, partial gas reimbursements from trips to 4 Paws, some reimbursed vet costs (not surgeries or other serious vet care) at our partnered hospital, and more!

Primary Handler Process:

The first step is to email us that you want to be a primary so our President can help you through the process.

Email Us

Next, we will add you to our weekly email list where you will receive club updates, information on upcoming events, and more!

Added to Email List

Come to Events

You'll be able to come all our 4 Paws events and bring your SDiT!

Get certified & get a SDiT

Get certified through 4 Paws for Ability and get placed with your SDiT. Then you will pick up your pup!

*Primaries do not need to pay dues since they will be spending money on their dog*

Getting Certified to Be a Primary:


Information Session

Canvas Couse

Go through the Canvas Course and complete the quiz. This holds ALL the information & rules about handling and working with 4 Paws' dogs.

Once you complete the application, you can sign up for a virtual or in person Information Session hosted by headquarters to get to know 4 Paws, what they do and how you want to fit in!

Fill out the Volunteer Trainer Application on 4 Paws for Ability's website

In Person Orientation & Classes

Attend an in person orientation at 4 Paws for Ability in Ohio. Then complete the into and dog handling classes.

- 4 hours total to complete all

Housing approval must be done before this step