Dogs Helping Heroes utilizes several programs when training service dogs for disabled / wounded heroes. To ensure successful training, we select only dogs that have those characteristics we believe will make them good service dogs.

What Makes A Rescue Dog a Good Service Dog?

Dogs that show the potential to become service dogs exhibit the following traits:

  • Intelligence / the ability to learn quickly
  • Trainable
  • Relaxed temperament
  • Calm and confident personality
  • Focused / not easily distracted
  • Desire to please its master and work as a team member
  • “Common sense” to know when an order should be disobeyed to keep its master safe
  • Large enough to work as a guide and reach door handles and light switches
  • Small enough to fit under tables and chairs
  • Young and healthy enough to enjoy a long working life

Training Service Dogs for Heroes with Disabilities

Some dogs receive basic manners and obedience training by inmate trainers/handlers at prison facilities, while the more complex service training for our dogs is conducted by professional dog trainers. The partners with whom we are currently working are the following:

  • Kentucky State Reformatory Camp K-9
    Chosen inmates at this prison facility are trained by professional handlers to provide basic obedience training to rescue dogs. During their tenure in Camp K-9, the dogs learn basic manners and to respond to commands. At the same time, the inmates learn job skills and importance of teamwork.
  • Duffy’s Dog Training Center
    A premier canine training center in the Kentuckiana area supplements the training received at the prisons with intensive service dog training. This training takes approximately 30 days of training and focuses on manners and formal commands, as well as service tasks. Some dogs also receive basic obedience training at the center as the demand has increased. Tasks may include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Bracing/Stabilization Skills:

Standing Balance - Assistance with Reclining/Rising - Regaining Posture after a Fall.

2. Mobilization Skills:

Climbing Stairs - Assistance with Wheelchair - Carrying Items.

3. Active Contact Skills:

Emotional Support - Disrupt Negative Behavior - Center Scattered Focus.

4. Retrieve/Tug Skills:

Fetching Dropped Objects - Bringing Human Help - Opening Doors (Attached Strap).

5. Other Skills:

Barking for Alarm or Assistance - Turning On/Off Lights.