Working together for assistance dog teams

Independent quality assurance and funding

Teams deserve our help!

Assistance dog teams are blazing new trails and designing their own solutions proactively.
Their partnership, discipline and care are fascinating – but unfortunately they are often left to their own devices.

Numerous barriers block the path to a qualified assistance dog for many. This is unfair – but we can change that!

Join us so that…

  • the path to an assistance dog becomes easier,
  • quality replaces improvisation,
  • teams are better supported and
  • new teams are encouraged.

About assistance dogs

Assistance dogs live permanently with their human partner and mitigate their disabilities by performing tasks, following a thorough, extensive education. This important assistance allows their owners to live safer and more mobile lives. As a result of this role and their extensive education, assistance dog teams have public access everywhere where people in street clothes are welcome. Despite this, apart from the well-known guide dogs for the blind, many other types of assistance dogs are almost unknown and can struggle to find funding.

For more information, visit Pfotenpiloten.


This is how we are creating change:

✓ Independent, objective assessment: comprehensively documented, our assessment answers the question, “How do I recognise an assistance dog team”? We have resumed the pilot phase following the pandemic, and can still offer some free exams in this development phase.

✓ Quality Assurance: A continuously developing quality management system according to DIN 9001:2015 ensures consistent quality and that feedback from our stakeholders is routinely implemented.

✓ Demonstrating impact: High-impact research convinces stakeholders – therefore improves the sector. We are looking for committed partners!

✓ The goal: Comprehensive funding. Standards, independent assessment and research improve acceptance and progress. We establish partnerships and funding structures so to better support teams.

Who is Assistance Dog Foundation?


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Assistance Dog Foundation is a direct subsidiary of Pfotenpiloten and focuses on quality assurance and sustainable funding structures. The division of tasks became necessary in order to do justice to the many fields of activity needed to support the assistance dog sector.

We do not train teams ourselves, but aim to support in a variety of ways in the future. To this end, we are establishing various partnerships in addition to a team evaluation – but are taking strict care to remain independent of interest groups.

In addition to the assistance dog owners, we also keep an eye on the needs of the dog, the instructor, the public and stakeholders – only a concept that suits everyone can develop and support optimally.

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Advisory Board


Get to know our honorary advisory board here. Representatives from politics, society, business, research, medicine and animal welfare join us in advocating for assistance dog teams.

How about you? Join in! Our newsletter (4 times a year) keeps you up to date:

Our Directors

On 06.08.2020, Assistance Dog Foundation was incorporated by the Board of Pfotenpiloten as a direct subsidiary of the association.

Our supervisory board

As an initiative of the Pfotenpiloten, the Assistance Dog Foundation is also accompanied by our Supervisory Board.


Nils Hafa

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Farid Bidardel

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Nils Hafa

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Ich habe das Projekt Pfotenpiloten in meiner Zeit als Standortleiter des Social Impact Labs Frankfurt kennengelernt. Es hat mir von Anfang an sehr gut gefallen, der Social Impact ist klar erkennbar mit einer sehr motivierten und strukturierten Gründerin. Sehr gerne unterstütze ich das Projekt in der weiteren Entwicklung. Aktuell bin ich bei GreenTec Capital als Senior Company Builder verantwortlich für die Akquisition und Beratung von innovativen, wirkungsorientierten Start-ups in Sub-Sahara-Afrika.

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Susan Georgijewitsch

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Bereits in seiner Gründungsphase überzeugten mich Vision, Umsetzungsplanung und Leidenschaft der Gründerin von Pfotenpiloten. Und was bisher erreicht wurde, u.a. an Strukturbildung, ist beeindruckend. Gerne unterstütze ich mit meinen Erfahrungen aus langjähriger Tätigkeit im Consulting und im Fundraising für gemeinnützige Organisationen die weitere Entwicklung.

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Farid Bidardel

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Mit Pfotenpiloten verbindet mich vor allem die engagierte Gründerin und der klare soziale Mehrwert. Als Mitbegründer und Vorstandsvorsitzender der und CEO von TensorParc bringe ich  meine Erfahrungen in die Prozessstrukturen gerne mit ein. Zuvor verwaltete und entwickelte ich für die Social Impact gGmbH – zusammen mit JPMorgan, KfW, Generali & Deutsche Bank – nationale und internationale Programme für benachteiligte Unternehmer und social Entrepreneure. Durch meine Forschungs- und Lehrtätigkeiten mit den Schwerpunkten Bildung, Innovation und Unternehmertum bringe ich zusätzlich als Design Thinking Coach einen neuen Blick auf bestehende Entwicklungsprozesse.

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Why we do not (yet) fund teams


Although it would be more satisfying to simply fund teams and thus making people more mobile with an assistance dog *today*, this approach can only support a small group. The core of the problem lies in the lack of structures and the improvised nature of the sector.

In order to provide systematic support for once in the future, we will first focus on the basics. We build understanding, develop independent structures, and
develop reliable ways of quality assurance. On these foundations, effective care can be built that is fair to all parties involved.

Today, on the road to a reliable solution, there are still
seven barriers to successful living with assistance dogs in

Germany (and many other countries) lack a strong foundation with improvised career paths, lack of education and outreach, and a lack of independent quality assurance.

A solution that is effective in the long term must take into account all stakeholders: In addition to the handler, dog, instructor and the public.

Once clear structures have replaced the current improvisation, support can be systematically built upon them – the path becomes easier and safer for everyone.

We still have a long way to go!
To build effective structures and solid foundations as an independent organisation, we need your help. 

How we are different


Assistance Dog Foundation is a
non-profit for better foundations
advocacy. To do so, we form diverse
partnerships – while remaining
strictly independent of
interest groups.
This is central to
our work and why we do
not train teams – and
never will.
We keep in mind the
needs of the dog, the trainer, the stakeholders, the public, and the team.
We are convinced that only a
concept that suits everyone
can develop optimally.