Any U.S. Military Veteran that has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD ) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is eligible and encouraged to apply for an ESA/Service Dog through H4 – Hounds Helping Heroes Heal. Once the application and screening process is completed, the appropriate dog will be selected. We do not select dogs from breeders; our dogs are chosen from local shelters and rescue organizations. The dog is evaluated and selected based on temperament and how they will best match with the veteran’s lifestyle and needs. Rescued dogs often have experienced trauma themselves, and the bond that forms between the hound and the hero is one of shared experience and understanding. H4’s Dogs in Training are all spayed/neutered, current on vaccinations, and receive monthly heartworm prevention & flea/tick treatments. Each dog is trained at our ranch in Fort Worth, TX or placed in temporary foster care. At the ranch, all dogs begin immediate rehabilitation through, The Four Essentials to a Stable Dog ©, a behavior modification program developed by co-founder Mark German of America’s Canine Academy. Following the rehabilitation period, PTSD service dogs are trained to perform identifiable tasks on command for the benefit of the disabled veteran. PTSD service dogs receive a minimum of 120 hours of behavior modification and schooling over a period of 3 to 6 months or more. ESA dogs are trained to offer emotional support, comfort, or a sense of security; and receive a minimum of 60 hours of behavior modification and schooling over a period of 2 months or more. For both ESA dogs and PTSD service dogs, at least 30 hours of the schooling is devoted to outings that prepare them to work appropriately and unobtrusively in public places. Upon completion of the training, H4 delivers the dog to the veteran at their location, provides assistance through the transition, trains the veteran on proper handling, and administers the Public Access Test.
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