Furlougher & Puppy Starter Volunteer


Dog and walker Get hands-on with the pups by becoming a furlough or puppy starter volunteer! Puppy starters help provide rich socialization experiences for puppies from 8 to 16 weeks. The puppy lives with you 24/7 and like a furlough volunteer, they go to work, church, school, outings, etc. with you. Special training is required (16 hours, (8 – two-hour sessions) to become a puppy starter which is different from being a furlough volunteer.

Furlough volunteers are needed to give our dogs an opportunity to leave their training environment and practice their skills in real-life situations. This is an important part of a service dog’s training as primary instruction is provided in Indiana prisons which provides constant training and reinforcement but is somewhat limited to sights, smells, and sounds that are important to a service dog’s education.

Furlough volunteers assist with the socialization of young puppies, exposing older puppies to public environments, dog transportation, and more.

The time commitment necessary to become a furlough volunteer is 18 hours (8 – two-hour sessions) of orientation classes followed by at least 12 additional hours of continuing education annually.

The average furlough assignment lasts 2-3 weeks. During this time, you will take full responsibility for the dog while in your care.


Please note that furlough dogs and puppies may not be left with relatives or friends who have not completed training. ICAN dogs and pups also may not be taken to daycare facilities or bark parks. You need to be able to take your ICAN dog to work with you as they should not be crated for more than four hours, and for puppies, no more than two hours. For their safety, ICAN dogs or puppies should also not be left loose in your backyard or house when you aren’t home.


Before completing an ICAN furlough volunteer application, it is important that you watch the following video which provides pertinent details about our furlough program. Such details may influence your decision to participate. Should you decide to participate upon completing the video, please complete the furlough volunteer application. The 2020 Spring Foundation Class is now closed. To enroll in the next Furlough Training, all applications must be completed and approved by our Volunteer and Canine Coordinator no later than August 10, 2020. The first training session will take place on September 14, 2020. If you have additional questions about the class, please contact our Volunteer & Canine Coordinator at juliem@icandog.org to complete a Volunteer Application Form.