Helpful Hounds Assistance Dogs

Helping to change the lives of young people and their families

Helpful Hounds was started to help with the growing demand of, mainly, young people who, with their families, would greatly benefit from having an Assistance Dog. 

Our objective is to help the person we support to achieve their maximum potential, whether that is educationally, socially or in work opportunity.

We are a Charity (Registered in England and Wales No.1181017) that helps to change the lives of young people and their families, living within Southern England.

We generally use the term “Assistance Dog” as one that works with a Physically Disabled Person or that works with Autism, Down’s Syndrome and other emotional issues. 

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Training an assistance dog
Clare Foss-Smith

We train the dogs to a very high standard. All Helpful Hounds have the same basic training, including qualification for our Foundation Certificate and then the Kennel Club Bronze, Silver and Gold Certificates (or equivalent). Then the specialist training will be based on the specific needs of the individual, family or school the Helpful Hound will be working with.

In addition, our Helpful Hounds are specially trained:

  • to help young people on the Autism spectrum and those with Down’s syndrome, by helping them gain confidence, develop independence and improve their quality of life.
  • to help young people with physical disabilities, such as POTS, Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy by granting them independence and improving their quality of life. Again, we train all our dogs to perform a minimum three tasks, but as many as needed by the Physically Disabled Person. We will also work with a small number of adults in this way.
  • to help those with Mental Health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, OCD and Tourette’s by helping to grant them independence and improving the quality of their lives.
  • as Medical Alert Assistance Dogs

We have found that more Schools, especially those that are Special Needs or have Special Needs Students or Departments, are welcoming Dogs into their world to fulfil a number of roles.

Helpful Hounds, official charity partner of AFC Bournemouth logo


Our Helpful Hound, Henry, has made a huge difference to the wellbeing of both our students and staff here at Beaucroft Special School. Every day he helps our students transition from one place to another calmly and safely. He is always happy to greet people with a ‘Henry Hug’ and puts a smile on the face of everyone who meets him. Having made such a huge impact to our school in just one term, we look forward to seeing the positive effects he will bring over the coming years.
Helpful Hound Henry

PLEASE NOTE: On 23rd April 2023, a company Helpful Hounds Ltd was registered and is advertising Assistance Dog Training. We have been made aware by someone who was concerned. Helpful Hounds Ltd has no connection whatsoever with Helpful hounds Assistance Dogs and is not a Charity but a commercial company.