Puppies chosen for our Service Dog Training program are carefully selected with physical appropriateness, temperament, and trainability in mind. Puppy raisers make sure that candidates are well socialized and have the fundamental skills they will need to be successful service dogs.
By the time the dogs reach 14 months of age, they have a strong foundation of obedience, have been socialized with children of all ages, and have been exposed to a wide variety of public environments. This ensures that our dogs will be safe, appropriate and comfortable with whatever life has in store for them and are ready to be paired with a service dog handler.
If you are interested in obtaining a service dog from Heeling House, the first step is to fill out a no-obligation application. You will be contacted by one of our staff members, and a consultation will be scheduled to determine eligibility.
Types of Service Dogs
Where do your dogs come from?
Heeling House service dogs come from several different sources. We have our own in house breeding program and work with approved breeders for suitable puppies to join our program.
Can you train my dog to be a service dog?
Heeling House does offer an owner-train program for certain clients that are interested in training their own dog. Both the client and the dog need to first go through an in-person evaluation and meet all Heeling House qualifications before being accepted into our training program.
Is there a fee for a service dog?
Yes. It costs between $35,000 and $40,000 to raise, train and place a service dog. Heeling House provides service dogs for $15,000. We are able to provide our dogs at this highly discounted rate because of the support of our donors. The client has a six month window in which to raise the funds for the dog. We can provide support and ideas for clients who are interested in fundraising to help raise money for their dog.
How long does it take to train and receive a service dog?
Heeling House trains the puppies in our program beginning at 8 weeks old. The full program training takes approximately one and a half years, but at this time we do have a waiting list for an available service dog. This waiting list can be upwards of two years.
How old does my child need to be to receive a service dog?
Heeling House does not provide service dogs for children under the age of five.
Can my child handle their own service dog?
No child under the age of 12 will be approved to act as the dog’s primary handler. Children 12 and under will work as a team with a parent or guardian. The parent/guardian will act as the dogs primary handler – responsible for the control, care, commands and behavior of the dog. Children 12 and older will be evaluated for the appropriateness of being the primary handler. This will be determined on a case by case basis.
Do you provide service dogs for adults?
We primarily provide service dogs for children between the ages of 5 to 18 years. On occasion we do provide mobility service dogs for adults over the age of 18. We currently do not place psychiatric or autism service dogs with adults.
Do we need to live in the Washington DC area to receive a dog?
Yes. At this time, we do require our clients to live within a reasonable driving distance to the Washington DC area.
Where can I find updates on past and present dogs in the program?
I don't need a service dog but love what you do. How can I help?
Thanks for asking! We are always thankful for donations but if you are looking to get involved in a more hands-on way of giving back, we are always searching for puppy raisers! Our puppy raisers are a vital part of our program and give each puppy an opportunity to be raised in a loving home while learning the early skills needed to become a successful service dog. Puppy raisers do NOT have to make a year-long commitment, and majority of costs for puppy raising are covered by Heeling House! Apply to be a puppy raiser and change someone's life!