Apprentice Assistance Dog

Instructor Vacancy

Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland’s (AADI) mission is to change the world for children with autism. Founded in 2010, AADI is a national charitable organisation which trains and places highly skilled assistance and companion dogs to provide safety to children in public places or act as a constant companion to the child with autism in their home environment. AADI’s dogs open up a whole new world of opportunity and possibility for children with autism and their families. 

Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland are expanding their Assistance Dog Programme and are accepting applications, on an ongoing basis, for the role of Apprentice Autism Assistance Dog Instructor.

This is a permanent full time position, 37.5 hours a week, salary negotiable dependent on experience. 

This is a 2.5 year apprenticeship style programme where you will work under the supervision of one of our Qualified Instructors training assistance dogs for children with autism. Upon completion of your 2.5year on the job training you will be offered a role as an Assistance Dog Instructor.

This role is central to the delivery of our assistance dog service and as a national charity you will be involved in training the dogs and clients throughout Ireland.

The role involves:

  • The training of suitable dogs as assistance dogs for children with autism, this includes assessment of the dog in all environments and preparing the dog to be attached to the child with autism. 
  • The training of the dogs successfully graduated from our Puppy Programme at approximately 15 months old.  This will involve up to 19 weeks training with each dog and will include teaching the dogs tasks and ensuring they reach a high standard in all areas.   For more info on our training program visit
  • Assessment of families, the family is assessed for suitability and type of dog that would suit their needs, this takes place in their home environment.
  • Matching each dog close to the end of its training to ensure it is matched to a suitable child and family that have been assessed. This may involve a visit to the proposed family with the dog to assess initial interactions. 
  • Class training – training of clients with their dogs – this takes place over 5 days and covers all the handling, training, maintenance and welfare of the dog whilst building the confidence of the proposed main handler before they take the dog home
  • Post class aftercare – this includes the first few attachments with the dog and child and routine aftercare for all assistance dogs, these take place in the family home/environment.  After the initial series of aftercare visits each family receives a yearly visit. This is to make sure the dog and child unit are still working well together and to check on the dog's welfare.
  • The training and placement of assistance dogs is done on a four to five month rolling system with the ability for you to place up to 8 to 10 fully qualified assistance dogs per year, when fully qualified.

The Role requirements:

  • 2+ years practical dog handling experience
  • Qualification in canine behaviour and / or social science, nursing or other people training  / dog related roles
  • Ability to be able to understand dog psychology and confident managing a pack of dogs
  • Physically able and happy to work outside in all weather conditions
  • Excellent people, client engagement and communication skills
  • Good understanding of G Suite and the use of databases
  • Confident delivering presentations to a small group virtually and in-person
  • Ability to work occasional evenings, weekends and unsociable hours as required
  • This position is based at our HQ in Little Island, Cork. Travel and overnights will be required when working with clients on aftercare and for home assessments.  (This is  approximately 6 weeks per year)
  • Must have a full clean driving licence (company van provided)
  • Eligible to work in Ireland

AADI values the best interest of its clients and is committed to developing long term relationships that make a positive difference in the lives of children with autism.

Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland is accredited to Assistance Dogs International. We are a growing organisation focused on training and placing autism assistance dogs with children who have autism. You can find wealth of information about Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland, its training program and current staff team on our website

Closing date for applications:  Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

Please submit your cover letter and CV to

For more information on this role please contact Nuala on

Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland is an Equal Opportunities Employer