Types of Dogs We Train

The inmates in the training program at Indiana Canine Assistant Network trains dogs in a variety of skills that assist children, adolescents, and adults who have physical and/or developmental disabilities. The majority of placements are with clients who live in Indiana.

Facilitated Assistance Dogs

For children 7 years and older, who have a disability, ICAN will consider partnering a dog in a “three-way team partnership”.  The facilitator is usually a parent (or maybe another adult) who has the responsibility of ensuring the service dog and client are a safe and effective team. For example, a facilitator may: manage the dog when out in public, help actively increase the bond between the dog and client, assure the dog’s training, health and safety concerns are met, and help the client interact with the dog.

Mobility Assistance Dogs

Specially trained for those with movement issues, Mobility Assistance Dogs can perform many tasks that would otherwise be impossible. These dogs can turn on lights, pick up dropped keys or open a door, push automatic door buttons, and carry light packages. Most importantly, these dogs provide their owners with an increased level of independence. Learn more about Mobility Assistance Dogs.

Diabetic Alert Dogs

First placed by ICAN in 2011, Diabetes Alert Dogs use their amazing sense of smell to detect low blood sugar levels. Type 1 Diabetics that experience Hypoglycemia Unawareness and adverse reactions, or even injury, can be safely alerted by a Diabetes Assistance Dog. PLEASE NOTE: Diabetic must be a minimum of 18 years of age to be eligible to apply for a Diabetic Alert Dog and live within a 50 mile radius of Indianapolis. Learn more about Diabetes Assistance Dogs. 

Veteran Assistance Dogs for Mobility/PTSD

ICAN partners assistance dogs with veterans who have mobility difficulties and PTSD.  Based on the veterans’ needs these dogs may be taught to: retrieve dropped items, push automatic door buttons, tug on or off clothes, assist in getting up from a chair, turn light on, and off. For veterans with PTSD, a dog may be trained to: interrupt a nightmare, apply pressure to an individual to aid in reducing anxiety, alert to anxiety, and aid walking with a harness and provide a slight counterbalance for minor balance issues or depth perception. Learn more about Veteran’s Assistance Dogs.

Facility Dogs

Facilities such as schools, hospitals, and therapy units that serve disabled individuals often have a need for assistance dogs. ICAN supports the legal placement of dogs in these facilities and works closely with professionals who use them to care for a variety of individuals. Learn more about Facility Dogs.

Autism Assistance Dogs (for individuals higher on the Autism Spectrum Scale)

Autism Assistance Dogs can improve the lives of children with autism, and their families, by bridging the parent-child communication gap, relieving anxiety, and promoting behavioral change.  We have found that children who are higher functioning on the autism spectrum, are better able to make a meaningful connection with the assistance dog. This bond is critical for the partnership to be successful. Since dogs communicate in ways other than speech, they can offer an alternative to traditional intervention. Please note that the wait time for an Autism Assist dog could be anywhere from 2 to 5 years depending on age, is based on the needs of the individual, and not all Autism Assist placements are given full public access.  Learn more about Autism Assistance Dogs.

In-Home Skilled Companion Dog

These skilled dogs provide help with tasks such as retrieving dropped items, tugging open drawers, doors, and providing emotional companionship. The difference between this type of placement and an assistance dog is that this type of dog does NOT have public access and does not have legal protection as outlined by the ADA. Learn more about Skilled Companion Dogs.

Please note that ICAN does NOT train:

  • hearing alert dogs
  • seizure alert/response dogs

ICAN places dogs within Indiana and placement is determined by our Client Placement Team on what dog will work best for that particular type of placement. There is a 1-3 year wait time for a dog and sometimes longer for autism assist dog. ICAN charges a $75 non-refundable application fee and a one-time fee of $2,500, or whatever the fee is at the time you receive your dog, then works with the client and dog team at no additional charge for the life of that partnership as new needs arise. Learn How to Apply.

ICAN is the only service dog organization in Indiana that is accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI).

Liz Kaye Photography