- What kind of dogs does New Horizons use?
New Horizons trains Golden Retrievers & Labrador Retrievers as service dogs.
- How do you act around a service dog?
It is important to ignore the service dog, even if it doesn’t look like it is working at the time. If you feel that you must pet the service dog, it is very important to ask the dog’s handler for permission first. For more information, explore our Service Dog Etiquette page.
- How can service dogs be recognized?
Typically, our service dogs can be recognized by the green “vest” they wear over their back that includes our logo. However, service dogs are not required to wear a vest.
- How do you become a trainer of a service dog?
Training begins at 8 weeks when our pups go out to Puppy Raisers and we utilize our amazing community of volunteers who take on the responsibility of teaching the puppy basic obedience, socializing the puppy, and exposing their puppy to the commands. Part of their training is also through our prison pup program where inmates work with our pups to solidify the skills of our dogs. Towards the end of their training, they will return to New Horizons and enter advanced training with our expert trainers.
- What kind of training is needed to own a service dog?
Once the service dog successfully completes our advanced training program, our clients enter a two week Team Training session where they work with their dog to learn all the commands, dog behavior, public access and techniques for a successful placement.
- How old are the dogs when they are placed?
Our service dogs are around 2-1/2 to 3 years old when they are placed.
- How much does it cost to get a service dog?
It costs New Horizons $45- $50,000 to raise and train a service dog for one person. Our recipients are asked to fundraise AT LEAST $15,000 prior to receiving a dog. This is a pay it forward system. Recipients are responsible for transportation to and from our Team Training program, as well as lodging and meal expenses during the 2 week program. Once the dog is placed, the client is responsible for the dog’s equipment (e.g. leash, collar, vest) and the dog’s well-being (e.g. food, monthly meds).
- What tasks are New Horizons dogs trained to perform?
We train our service dogs with over 80 commands. Our service dogs work primarily to assist adults and children in wheelchairs or those individuals with other mobility and balance problems. Our service dogs are trained to open and close doors, retrieve various objects, as well as other specialized tasks. We have dedicated programs for veterans with disabilities and children with autism. We also have facility dogs assisting in other working situations such as rehabilitative facilities, nursing homes and private homes, depending on the dog’s temperament and abilities.
- What tasks are New Horizons dogs NOT trained to perform?
We do not train our dogs to serve as alert dogs for diabetic attacks, seizures, or the detection of other medical symptoms. We do not train our dogs to serve as guide dogs for the visually impaired, to serve as hearing dogs for the hearing impaired, or to primarily serve as emotional/social support for their individual partner.
- Who is eligible to apply for a New Horizons dog?
We accept applications from individuals living in the state of Florida who have physical or developmental disabilities. Each application is reviewed on an individual basis to ensure a successful placement.
- How old do you need to be to apply?
The applicant must be 5 years old to apply for a service dog from New Horizons.
- How long is the wait list?
Currently our wait list is 1-1/2 to 2 years, approximately.