Make a Difference


We train service dogs to help those with disabilities unleash their ability.




Our service dog training program begins as soon as the puppies are born — and it’s not long before they’re changing the lives of our clients, inmates, and volunteers.



parallax background
 
 

We take the responsibility of training a service dog seriously.

It takes a lot of resources to properly train a service dog. And someone with a disability often has to wait one to three years before bringing a dog home with them.

We know that’s a long time to wait for a service dog. That’s why we keep our puppies active, healthy, and well-trained: to prepare them to impact our clients’ lives for years to come.

parallax background

Our dogs and clients are our top priority.

As the only ADI-accredited service dog training program in Indiana, we follow rigorous standards to not only comply with regulations, but also to take the best possible care of our dogs and clients. We do this by:

Maintaining safe, clean training facilities
Treating all clients fairly — regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origins, or disabilities
Providing proper vet care for our dogs
Training with humane methods and positive reinforcement
Screening clients and dogs for ideal matches
Complying with all legal regulations for training, events, etc.
Renewing our public access certification every year
Keeping our accreditation up-to-date

parallax background

We're all capable of giving back, so we partner with Indiana correctional facilities to train and place our service dogs.

Although we must hold inmates responsible, we also need to give them opportunities to learn skills that can help them become productive, responsible citizens.

ICAN provides job training and skills, which reduce the inmates' likelihood of recidivism while helping them transition back into our community. We carefully screen and select Indiana inmates (handlers) to train ICAN dogs for up to two years.

 

DOGS-IN-TRAINING LIVE SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH THEIR HANDLERS.
By taking 24/7 responsibility for ICAN dogs-in-training for two years, the handlers learn professional and life management skills to help them prepare for successful re-entry into their community. In addition to the work with their handlers, each dog-in-training regularly goes out into the community with furloughs, where they learn the ways of the world in which they'll eventually work.
OUR PROGRAM HAS A POSITIVE IMPACT ON HANDLERS AND THEIR FAMILIES.
We focus as much on training service dogs as we do on educating inmates. The handlers set and reach goals as they grow in respect, responsibility, empathy, teamwork, confidence, discipline, and the use of logic over emotion. And they use these skills once they're rejoined their communities and families. ICAN handlers report more positive and sustained interactions during visits with their children. Inmates can show their children what the dogs know and “coach” their children in working with the dog. This creates a wonderful shared experience and connection between an inmate and their family.
PARTICIPATING IN THE ICAN HANDLER PROGRAM HELPS THESE INMATES SUCCEED ONCE THEY'RE BACK IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.
Handlers who complete a two-year apprenticeship (3,600 hours) receive a Certificate in Assistance Dog Training from the Department of Labor (DOL) and earn a six-month time cut. On average, 25 handlers complete the apprenticeship annually, and based on a per diem of $52.79 per offender, ICAN saves the Department of Corrections $241,514 annually on time cut alone. Today, many released inmates who trained ICAN service dogs are productively employed in animal-related professions.

parallax background
parallax background
 

Participating in a co-op helps us choose moms and dads that will breed great service dogs.


We’re part of the American Breeding Cooperative (ABC) with other accredited service dog organizations. This ensures that we know the history, temperament, and health of our dams and sires (moms and dads) — and anticipate their puppies’ personalities and potential to become service dogs.

With the co-op’s support, we can increase our training success rate, maximize our investment in breeding females (and their puppies), and best meet the needs of those who qualify for service dogs.

 

Our dogs love being active, helpful, and around people.

As soon as the puppies are born, their training begins!

  • Birth

    Once the puppies are born, our Litter Hosts encourage their eagerness to learn while ensuring that the mama dog and her puppies get proper nutrition and exercise.
  • 8 weeks

    At eight weeks, the puppies go to live with Puppy Raisers (some of our furlough volunteers) for socialization in new settings.
  • 16 Weeks

    At 16 weeks, our puppies move to one of our Indiana training facilities, where inmate handlers begin training them on basic skills. As the dogs progress through their training they’ll learn more advanced skills and cues. (You can see some of the skills we teach them below.)
  • Every 6 Weeks

    Every six weeks, a dog will leave the prison for three weeks at a time to live in the community with a furlough volunteer. This volunteer will practice skills and cues with the dog, as well as socialize them in the outside world.
  • 20-24 Months

    After we confirm a placement for the dog, they go through Team Training with their client and handler, then they graduate from ICAN.
  • 24+ Months

    ICAN provides support and follow up for the lifetime of the partnership.
 

Career Change Dogs

Not all dogs have the temperament or health required to become an assistance dog. But dogs with useful skill sets are available for use as career change dogs. In that case, we partner with other working dog programs for those dogs.

Our dogs help clients and inmates

discover hope, independence, and unconditional love.


Donate Now