We are in the process of digitizing our Application, we have had a few delays. We hope it will be completed within the next few weeks. Please come back and apply once up and running.
Here are some common questions pertaining not only to our program, but also Service Dogs in general.
Q: What are the different types of dogs that you offer?
A: Please see the Application Process page for a list of the types of dogs that we offer.
Q: What is the difference between an Assistance and Service Dog?
A: An Assistance dog is a generic term for Guide, Hearing or Service Dog specifically trained to do more than one task to mitigate an individual’s disability. Therefore, all Service Dogs are a type of Assistance Dog.
Q: How can I identify a Service or Assistance Dog in Public?
A: Most Service or Assistance Dogs can be identified by a backpack, jacket, scarf or harness, but not all Assistance Dogs are wearing identifying equipment. You should always ask an individual if you are allowed to approach or pet an Assistance or Service Dog prior to doing so. Most individuals prefer that their working dogs are not touched while working.
Q: Do you train dogs for children as well as adults?
A: Yes, we specialize in placing dogs with young children with special needs. About 40% of our placements are with children.
Q: What type of dogs make the best Assistance or Companion Dogs?
A: Generally Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles and Golden or Labradoodles. The crosses of the two breeds have the characteristics that make for a good Assistance Dog. For our Military family, we also offer German & Dutch Shepherds for some placements. However, there are many other breeds that have proven successful when trained as Assistance Dogs and occasionally we will have another breed that is available. We also accept both puppy and adult donations in accordance with our training program. Occasionally other breeds from rescues are available.
Q: How old are your dog’s when placed into a home as a Service Dog?
A: Approximately two years of age.
Q: How long does it take to train an Assistance Dog?
A: There is no set time, as each dog is customized to the individual needs of the recipient. We strive to place most dogs by the age of two. Each dog generally completes it socialization and undergoes specific training (obedience, task work, etc.) before being matched with the future owner. Once we match the dog with the recipient, the custom training is then added to the Assistance Dog.
Q: What types of tasks are your dogs trained to do?
A: A full Service Dog is trained in up to as many as 95 commands. This includes retrieving and delivering dropped items. They can push buttons, turn lights off and on, help to alert you of a doorbell, provide balance, and even help with emotional support. They can also be taught to bark to indicate when help is needed, go and find a person and lead the person to the handler. There are many other tasks that may be needed by a person with a disability. We customize the training of your Service Dog to perform the tasks that are needed by you.
Q: Why shouldn't a Companion or Assistance Dog be protective?
A: Assistance Dogs are to help make an individual more independent, not protect them. Assistance Dogs are taken into public with a disabled individual, many whom are not able to physically restrain their dogs. Therefore, their dog must be safe for the public. Many dogs, especially working breeds, naturally sense their owner's disability and their vulnerabilities. These dogs generally learn on their own to protect at inappropriate times. This may be compounded by individuals who don't recognize that they are unconsciously encouraging this behavior.
Q: Do you train dogs for Veterans with PTSD, TBI, and other related military injuries? Click here for our Veterans page.
A: Yes, we offer dogs to Vets, with commands that help with hyper vigilance, panic issues, flash backs, TBI and other PTSD issues. Our dogs can even help with emotional support and the daily issues connecting back with society after returning from combat. Our 4-pawed friends become their best buddy and are always there for them.
Q: How long does it take to receive an answer from New Hope once your application is sent in?
A: Our response time is usually between four to six weeks; in some instances it may take up to eight weeks. This allows us to review your application, obtain documentation from therapist and doctors. This allows ample time to meet with the trainers and staff to best determine a plan of what tasks your service dog can perform to make your daily living easier.
Q: How long is the wait time to receive my dog?
A: Companion dog wait time is normally six months. Service Dog wait times are the longest they are normally between six to twelve months. Your waiting time is determined by the specialized training that goes into your dog. Of course these times could be less or more depending on the availability of dogs that we currently have on hand and the type of training that is needed.
Q: Do you offer Seizures or Diabetic Alert Dogs?
A: No, we offer Seizure or Diabetic Response Dogs. They are trained to provide comfort and/or a sense of safety to a person who is experiencing or has just experienced a seizure. We then work with you, while your bonding with your dog to potentially alert on these items. We work towards hopefully obtaining a few minute alert on Seizure, Diabetic, Narcolepsy, and PTSD.
Q: Where can I learn more about the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
A: The American with Disabilities website can be found at this link: http//:www.ada.gov
Q: What is Team Training and how long does it take? Click here for our page on What to Expect at Team Training.
A: Once your Service Dog is ready for you, we have you come to our facility to obtain the training needed for you to work with your service dog. This is called Team Training because you and your Assistance Dog are now a team, working together to assist in your daily living. This training period is different for each recipient and their new Companion or Service Dog. Time for Team Training is approximately a total of 14 days. You should expect to work with our trainers for approximately 6 to 8+ hours per day while at our facility. These times vary due to the recipient’s disabilities and the extent of the training that has been taught to the dog. Of course please keep in mind, the more extensive training the dog has, the more time that will be needed to work with the recipient.
Q: Where will I stay during my training session/s?
A: There is a Hampton Inn & Days Inn within a 15 minute drive of our facility. Both offer a business rate to our clients based on availability. Please click on each hotel for the direct link to that hotel. They may also offer a lower seasonal, AAA, or AARP rate if applicable to you.
Q: Does New Hope provide food, meals or cooking services during team training or an training sessions?
A: No, we do not provide food or meals during the training session. We do offer an accessible kitchen facility where clients can prepare their own meals using food they bring with them or purchase at a nearby grocery store. The semi-equipped kitchen does offer pots, pans, plates, silverware, oven, microwave and fridge. There are a variety of sit down and fast food restaurants within a 15 minute drive if you prefer to eat out.
Q: Does New Hope provide any kind of assistance with travel expenses?
A: No, we do not assist with travel expenses, this is something you will be responsible for. If you visit Mapquest you can view a map of our location, and also get driving directions to our location. This will include the number of miles from your location to our facility, which will help you decide the best way to travel. We do have a local PA Welcome Center located just 1 mile from our facility if you would like information on things to do locally.
Q: I require assistance from a personal aide, do you provide personal aides, or do I need to arrange to provide my own aide?
A: No, we do not provide personal aides for our clients, so this is something that you would need to provide on your own along with any associated costs for your aide to travel with you.