Do I Qualify?

Learn more about qualifications for a service dog.

Whether an ICAN dog would be perfect for you, or another type of support animal might help you more, we can connect you to the resources you need.

parallax background
parallax background


Below you’ll find a few questions or needs we often hear from people who aren’t sure if they qualify for a service dog.

We’ve also provided additional resources you can look into, as well as application forms for an ICAN service dog.


My primary need is for a psychiatric service dog or an emotional support animal (ESA).

Psychiatric service dogs have been trained for specific tasks to mitigate an individual’s mental health disability, including PTSD. ICAN does not provide or place psychiatric service dogs, but Assistance Dogs International (ADI) may be able to help you. Please visit for more information.

Assistance Dogs International is the accrediting organization of service dog providers throughout the world. Doing a “member search” will provide you with accredited service dog programs that place psychiatric service dogs in your local geographical area.

Emotional support animals (ESAs) are not service dogs. They do not require any specific training and are not trained to do specific tasks. Emotional support dogs are not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. ICAN does not provide or place emotional support dogs.

However, if an ESA is right for you, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers ( can connect you to the foster dog community and help you find the best dog for your needs.

As a veteran, I have a primary need for a dog to assist me with PTSD.

ICAN places service dogs with veterans who have a primary mobility or balance support need, with PTSD as a secondary need. But if your primary need is PTSD assistance, please visit to find the best service dog for you.

I want to apply for a diabetes alert dog.

We train and place service dogs to assist individuals with diabetes who struggle to determine their blood sugar levels. Unawareness of low or high blood sugars is critical to the success of a diabetic alert dog. Frequency is also a factor in the dog’s success; undetected lows and/or highs must occur multiple times per week.

Here are a few more things you should know about applying for a diabetic alert dog:

  • Candidates must be at least 18 years old to apply.
  • ICAN only places diabetic alert dogs with individuals who live within 50 miles of Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • We won’t place a diabetic alert dog in a home that already has a dog (or dogs) living in it.

My primary need is a guide dog for hearing or sight.

We unfortunately don’t train or place dogs for individuals with hearing or sight assistance needs. But if you visit, you can learn more about service animals that may be right for you.

My child has autism. Can ICAN assist?

We can! Applicants must be verbal and able to give cues independently to have an autism assistance dog. The minimum age to apply is 8 years old. Currently, we’re only placing in-home skilled companion dogs for autism assistance. This means that the dog provides support to their person in the home only. They do not have public access and are not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The applicant must have previous exposure to dogs and be comfortable around dogs. If the applicant has sensory issues, we want to make sure they’re okay with a dog licking them, dog saliva, and shedding.

ICAN occasionally places dogs with adults who have autism, depending on the applicant’s need for a dog. Applicants must be able to independently work with the dog. Public access is not guaranteed, but it will be considered.

I want to turn my pet into a service dog. Can ICAN help me do that?

Not all dogs have what it takes to be a service dog. The average placement rate for service dog organizations is 50-60%. This is after two years of intense training and significant financial commitment. If you choose to purchase or obtain a dog or puppy with the hopes of training it to be a service dog, please be prepared to commit to the life-long care of the dog if it doesn’t meet your service dog needs.

ICAN is a prison-based training program. The inmates at three Indiana correctional facilities are the primary trainers and handlers of all our dogs-in-training. ICAN does not have the resources outside of the correctional facilities to assist with training your personal pet.

But for those wishing to train their own dog or get assistance with training their dog, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers ( is a great resource to find training in specific geographical areas.

I want to apply for a facility dog.

ICAN places facility dogs in Pre-K through 12 schools, courthouses and CASA programs, rehab and nursing facilities, and hospitals. For those applying for a school facility dog, the animal needs to be facilitated by an applicant who is in a social work or counselor position. This will ensure that the facility dog is utilized to its full potential.

If I am paired with an ICAN dog, what happens next?

We currently have a 20- to 30-month wait to receive a service dog. Being placed on the waitlist does not guarantee placement of a dog. We encourage candidates to apply to other accredited programs as well, just in case. Doing so will not affect your position on the ICAN waitlist.

Prior to the dog going home, the recipient must attend 10 days of Team Training. ICAN’s Team Training takes place in the Indiana Women’s Prison and in the local Zionsville and Indianapolis community. During these two weeks, the recipient will be responsible for expenses related to travel, lodging, and some meals.

Once the dog goes home, the recipient is required to keep up the dog’s training. They must be prepared to make a daily commitment that continues throughout the life of the dog. The recipient must provide the service dog with routine mental and physical exercise, which will help both the pup and the individual stay healthy and independent.

Still have questions?

Please visit our FAQ page, or contact ICAN’s Director of Client Success at (317) 672-3865. To learn more about our application process, please click here.

When you bring a service dog home,

you’ll find purpose, independence, stability,

and a new best friend.