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Common questions about service dog training...

What is a service dog?

Service dogs perform a task that meets a need for someone with a medical diagnosis.  Service dogs can perform a wide range of services from stabling someone while they are walking, picking up items, alerting for seizures  or  diabetic  episodes, or helping someone  with PTSD  manage  a  crisis.

Can I train my dog to  be  my service dog?

Service dogs need to be able to:

  • be comfortable in a large  variety of settings, from your doctor's office  to your kids ball game. 

  • be comfortable around other animals, dogs, and people.

  • be able to be calm  and focus for  extended periods of time

  • be able  to be motivated to learn and  perform complicated tasks 

If your dog meets all or most of those  criteria then the answer is, yes, you probably can. 

What are the legal requirements for a service dog?

At the time of writing this, a service animal  can only be either a dog or a pony.  There are no national criteria training criteria for certification of a service  animal.  In general, you must have a disability, your dog must perform  a task on command or  need, and they can not be a disruption in public.    A well trained service dog will blend into the background in any situation.

Check out the ADA requirements

What is your training methodology?

I am not currently certified as a service dog trainer because most organization require the trainers to swear never to use a correction on a dog.  I believe that there are 10-15% of  dogs that can be truly trained for  service level obedience using positive only techniques.  The average dog is like the average person- we  aren't going to do it right 100% of the time because that just isn't a realistic expectation.  We need consequences to keep us motivated to do it right (think about speeding  and speeding tickets).   If you were to spend  $20,000 on a dog that has passed a larger national program, the dogs that would need a correction  have already failed out of the program.   I am training to turn the average pet into an animal that can do a job for a family member and thereby find a sense of purpose in  having a role to play in the family.  I don't limit myself to the top 10-15%.  I do as much training as I can motivating with food, affection, and play, but when those don't work I will use humane corrections that will not stress out the dog.

What is the cost in training my dog to do service work?

That answer will depend on a lot of factors, like how intelligent your dog is, how motivated they are  to learn, how  comfortable they are with people, places, and animals, and their overall energy level.   It will also depend on what level of  training they are  starting with and what task you need to them to perform.  Some dogs will  almost teach themselves a  skill- like balancing an owner when they start to fall or sitting on someone's feet when they start to  have a seizure.  At that point we just need to train  the dog to focus, and work on advanced obedience skills.   And the last variable is are you able to follow up on training with your dog between lessons?   For those who can train, or have a family member who is willing, we can  begin with weekly lessons and progress at your pace.

Dog in Action

Service Dog Training with Faithful Friends LLC

Giving dogs a purpose!

If you think you would  like to  train your dog for service work please give us a call to set up an evaluation.

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