This article provides details on what you should consider when determining if your dog can be trained as a service dog.
I also discuss if qualifications are needed, what is needed to register your dog as a service dog, training requirements and costs, plus much more.
If you are thinking about training your dog to become a service dog, read this article in its entirety to get a better understanding of the process, what is required of you, and what is required of your dog.
Let’s jump into it and discuss registration and training for service dogs.
Registering a Service Dog
There isn’t any registration necessary for a dog to become a service dog. However, it is highly suggested to ensure your dog qualifies as a service dog by following the ADA requirements.
I’ve listed in this article and other articles I’ve written about service dogs on this site (be sure to check those articles out at the end).
Establishments can’t discriminate on the breed of dog you have as a service dog so you can have any breed as a service dog as long as the dog receives the proper training for the tasks or work it will be performing in relation to the disabilities that require its assistance.
As long as your dog is old enough, healthy, and trainable, it can become a service dog.
If you want to get your dog trained as a service dog, check out the next section.
Training a Service Dog
There are no specific regulations or policies stating that a service dog needs any type of specific training to be considered a service dog.
However, the dog should have the proper training to assist in tasks or do specific work related to the disability of its handler.
In other words, you can get your dog trained or train your dog as a service dog by ensuring it can perform the tasks or work needed to be considered a service dog.
This training can be done by a professional or you can train your dog on your own.
Where to Get Service Dog Training
You are not required to get a certification or have paperwork for your dog for it to be considered a service dog. However, the dog should have proper training.
Since there are no established training methods by the ADA, you can either train your dog yourself or get your dog trained by a professional trainer.
While there are no minimum requirements in training your dog to become a service dog, international standards suggest 120 hours over the course of 6 months.
The training should consist of the tasks or work that your dog will be performing, as well as spending time in public to ensure the dog can learn to resist distraction while doing what it has been trained to do as a service dog.
For example, if your dog is going to be a mobility assistance dog, your dog would need the proper training to be able to pick things up, close drawers, pull a wheelchair or do whatever other tasks the disabled person needs help with.
It just depends on the disability and that is what the dog needs the training for.
You don’t have to get any specific training from a “Service Dog Trainer” or anything like that.
You just need to make sure your dog can be trained to perform the tasks needed and that your dog can be obedient and free of distractions in public.
You can find professional dog trainers in your local area but that can get really expensive in a hurry.
If you want to try to train your dog yourself, there is a training program that covers all types of aspects of training your dog for one low price.
This is great for people on a budget that want to train their own dog to become a service dog.
You can spend hundreds to thousands of dollars hiring a professional or you can click here to check out a low-cost training program with a money-back guarantee and see if you can train your own dog to become a service dog.
Training Cost for Service Dogs
The cost of training a dog to become a service dog just depends. It can be anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on what type of training your dog needs to become a service dog.
Getting your service dog trained in all aspects by a professional trainer could cost you over $20,000.
The best way to determine what it is going to cost is to call several local trainers in your area and get quotes to compare.
However, if you feel up to training your own dog to become a service dog, a training program that is easy to follow may be a good fit for you.
Click here to check out a training program that is low-cost and guaranteed to work for your dog.
While there is no formal training for a service dog, this program covers many different aspects of training that can help your dog become a service dog, so check it out.
What Qualifies a Dog as a Service Dog?
There is no paperwork to fill out to have a dog as a service dog and there is no specific breed of dog required.
Some online sites sell certifications that you can get to show your dog is certified as a service dog but this seems like a waste of money since certification isn’t necessary.
Check out the following general requirements for a dog to be considered a “service dog“:
- The person with the service dog must have a disability (mental, physical, or emotional).
- The service dog must be trained to perform specific tasks or to do specific work related to the disability of its handler.
- The dog should be trained to be well-mannered and well-behaved in public and shouldn’t be easily distracted.
When I refer to the dog’s training, I am not only referring to the training for the specific disability but also referring to the obedience of the dog.
This is very important when training a dog to be a service dog.
To be ready to perform the tasks or work needed for a disability in public, the service dog should be trained to behave in public.
Some things the dog should be trained in are as follows:
- The dog should not be aggressive towards other animals or people.
- The dog should not be allowed to sniff anything unless it is trained to do so in relation to a disability.
- The dog should not try to eat or look for affection while it is working.
- The dog should not be overly excited or active in public (unless relating to a disability).
- The dog should not bark excessively in public.
- The dog should be easily distracted by loud noises or other actions taking place in public.
- The dog shouldn’t go to the bathroom in public unless it has been given a command to do so.
Those are some of the more general guidelines to follow with your dog to ensure it is behaving as a service dog should.
How Old Does a Service Dog Have to Be?
As a general rule of thumb, a dog should be at least 18 months old and have been training for about 6 months in public doing the tasks or work needed for the disability to be considered a service dog.
If you have a dog that has turned a year old and is capable of being trained, you can start training them to become a service dog.
Your dog can fully transition to being a service dog when it is around 18 months old unless training takes a longer period of time.
Many suggest not having a service dog go over 10 years of service.
So, if your dog is 2 years old when it becomes fully trained as a service dog, your dog should stop being a service dog around the time it reaches 12 years old.
What Breeds Are Best as Service Dogs?
Any dog can become a service dog with enough work, training, and bonding with its handler, but some dogs are more intelligent and easier to train than others.
I should note that it wouldn’t make much sense to have a dog breed like a pug or a poodle as a mobility animal pulling a wheelchair, so the dog should be able to handle the workload based on the needs of the disability it will be helping assist with.
While there is no specific breed requirement for a service dog, here are some of the most popular breeds that are used as service dogs because of their ability to be trained and their intelligence:
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- German Shepherds
- Border Collies
- Standard Poodles
- Golden Labradors
This article gave you valuable information on what is required to get your dog ready to become a service dog.
With the proper training, dedication, and work, any dog can become a service dog no matter the breed.
It is best to follow all guidelines and ensure your dog is properly trained to avoid any potential problems with establishments when out in public.
While there is no specific paperwork or certification required to label your dog as a service dog, your dog should be able to perform certain tasks or do certain work in relation to a disability.
Taking a dog out in public and labeling it as a service dog when it hasn’t had the proper training can be considered service dog fraud and is punishable as a crime in some states.
If you are interested in learning more about service dogs, check out the articles on service dogs below to give you a better overall understanding.
Other Articles I’ve Written That May Interest You
- Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart? Home Depot? 40 Dog-Friendly Stores
- What are Service Dogs? Detailed Guide with 11 Types & More
- 12 Tips to Spot a Fake Service Dog or Poorly Trained Dogs
- Differences Between Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, & Therapy Dogs