Mission: Neads' assistance dogs provide life-changing independence, companionship, and connection to people with a disability. With a dedicated staff and enthusiastic volunteers, neads carefully matches clients with the right dog and provides ongoing support during their entire relationship. Neads has led the industry since its inception, matching over 1,600 expertly trained assistance dogs with people who need them.
Programs: Dog training - neads dogs are trained to perform and behave obediently through the use of positive reinforcement and clear leadership. Neads dogs are taught a list of core commands and they follow a basic training schedule throught puppyhood. 90 -95% of neads puppies are trained in 9 correctional facilities in massachusetts and rhode island. Under the guidance of neads staff, prison inmates are able to provide consistent training at a high level. To ensure that the puppies have a full range of experiences,puppies spend their weekends at a volunteer's home and follow a curriculum that includes car rides,traffic, bus stations, movie theaters, restaurants, grocery stores, and all the typical experiences of life. Once a dog is nearing ocmpletion of the program and is matched with a specific client, the dog's training is tailored to the client's unique needs. Most importantly,we raise and train the perfect working partner for each of our clients. Neads trains the widest range of assistance dogs in the united states. Hearing dogs alert human partners to the source of a sound; service dogs for adults and children perform everyday tasks like picking up dropped items, opening doors, and more; social dogs help a child on the autism spectrum feel calmer and more confident; service dogs for the classroom, therapy and ministry engage and inspire a practitioner's community. Our canines for combat veterans program is designed to help the growing population of wounded veterans.
client training - neads clients live on our campus for 1 -2 week learning how to work with their new assistance dog. Approximately 55 clients graduate through our program each year. 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. Each client must successfully complete the training schedule and also receive a passing score on the assistance dogs internatoinal public access test to graduate and leave campus with the assistance dog. Clients are supported in a variety of ways by neads for the service life of their dogs.
I am a Professional Working Dog Trainer with over 20 years of experience in the working dog and assistance dog field. I have seen the quality of the dogs from NEADS go downhill severely since early 2002 and it is getting progressively worse. While NEADS in fact has a very friendly staff, the loss of their old training director in the early 2000’s impacted the quality of the final product produced by NEADS to a very concerning level. While the majority of people that puppy raise and train these special dogs have their hearts in the right place, they lack the professional experience needed to reproduce the quality of trained dogs they once offered in the late 90’s. Although NEADS is an ADI accredited School, the complaints of performance issues now fall on deaf ears by ADI when it comes to a good number of ADI accredited organizations. Many of the recipients that have issues with a NEADS dog live in fear of the organization repossessing their assistance dog and place them on another multiple year waiting list because of issues the organization is unwilling or unable to repair with their current assistance dog.