Clients live on our 18 acre campus for 5-10 days, training with their new assistance dog. Their training involves intensive learning about how to live and work with an assistance dog.
We schedule 2-5 clients to train at one time. Classes occur daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with an hour's lunch break. Classes include active hands-on exercises with the dog, trips into town restaurants and malls, and sit-down classes in subjects such as health records, first aid, grooming and public access. Most classes are taught by the instructor who has overseen the dog's training and who matched the dog with the client. Other classes are taught by various staff members.
The dog begins to live at the client house with the client after three or four days of training. The client is now responsible for the dog's total care and exercise after class hours. If ten days of training is required, the client gets the weekend off from training. Some clients return home for this weekend, while others relax at NEADS.
Each client must successfully complete the training schedule and also receive a passing score on a public access test to graduate and leave campus with the assistance dog.
NEADS resides on 18 acres of beautiful, protected New England land in the heart of Massachusetts. Our campus encompasses everything we need to produce skilled, happy, accomplished assistance dogs, and offers our clients a quiet respite from everyday life when they come to us for training. Each person has her/his own bedroom and bathrooms may be shared. Food and food preparation is the responsibility of each client. The house has a full kitchen, television, washer and dryer and internet access. Any help or support with activities of daily living is the responsibility of the client.
Our campus includes:
- a model hearing dog training apartment
- a 26-run indoor/outdoor kennel
- administrative offices
- fully accessible living quarters for on-campus clients
- living quarters for a 24-hour live-in caretaker
- an assistance dog training arena and education center
- a visitor welcome center
- a separate building to house the Laura J. Niles Early Learning Center for our puppies
- a quiet sitting area next to the Stillwater River, which runs beside our campus
A brief tour of our campus