Can your dog be a service dog?

The right temperament is key

What do we look for?

Friendliness, Confidence, Trainability

Before starting any service dog training program, the first step is to make sure that your dog has the right temperament to be a service dog. It’s not about how much training your dog has, it’s about measuring how well your dog can handle different situations.

  • How does your dog react to strangers? Does your dog want to greet everyone or are is he/she a little timid and needs time to warm up to new people? How would your dog react if a toddler came running towards him/her?
  • How does your dog react when seeing another dog? Does your dog get agitated, pull on the leash and bark? Does your dog try to engage the other dog in play or simply ignore the other dog?
  • How does your dog react when hearing a loud noise? Does he/she run away? When he/she startled does your dog quickly recover and investigates the source of the sound?
  • How would your dog handle going into a busy mall?
  • How much effort is your dog willing to make to get a small treat?

All of these questions will be important to determine how easily your dog can be trained and if your dog is safe enough to take out in public and still be able to focus on you. Some dogs are ready to jump right in, others may need a little extra help, and some would just be too overwhelmed to make a good service dog.

Although we will do our best to help you succeed and would love to have your business if your dog does not have the temperament for service dog work, we will not be able to accept your dog into our training program.

Assessing your dog

Online from anywhere, you live

To get your dog assessed, you will need to schedule a consultation with one of our trainers. The consultation is done over Zoom. At that time, one of our trainers will measure your dog’s potential to be a service dog, discuss your needs, and answer all the questions you might have about our program.

In order for us to assess your dog, we will need you to email us videos of you and your dog in different situations (see below). We understand that your dog might have already worked with other trainers or been assessed by other trainers. In order to join our program, however, we will still need to assess your dogs as different trainers have different standards and approaches to dogs.

It’s best if you can have another person film you and your dog. We’ll want to see your dog’s reactions to the following situations:

  • Walking on a sidewalk while traffic drives by;
  • Walking through a park or neighborhood (1 minute);
  • Taking treats outside;
  • Response to a loud noise outside (Dropping an object on the pavement, a horn honking, car door slam);
  • Response to a dog in the distance (maintain a minimum of 6 feet away);
  • Response to seeing people in the distance (maintain a minimum of 6 feet away).

Assessing your dog’s potential and your needs

Testing gives us an idea of your dogs’ potential to be trained as your service dog

 

At the time of the consultation, we’ll go over the videos with you to measure your dog’s chances of becoming a service dog. If we estimate that your dog is a good candidate, you will be able to join one of our training programs. This however does not guarantee that your dog will make it all the way through the program as problem behaviors can always develop along the way, especially with younger dogs. Certain behaviors may increase or decrease with time, training, and exposure to different stimuli.

 

The cost for the initial consultation is $100

 

During the consultation, we’ll also help you define your training needs. If your dog has the right temperament to be a service dog, we’ll determine which training service will best fit your situation and discuss a program that fits your needs. 

The consultation will give you time with a service dog expert who will answer your questions and help you define your goals and your options.

We offer different training services for your dog as your service dog. You’ll find a full description of each service and pricing by clicking on the buttons below.

Find a training program that fits your needs

Different options for different people

Board & Train

We train your dog

 

You don’t have the time and desire to train your dog yourself? No problem, we’ll be happy to take your dog into our facility and do it for you. Our trainers will discuss with you what your needs are and create a personalized training plan for your dog.

Private coaching

In-person and online

 

You like to learn at your own pace and have specific needs? You would love to learn how to train your dog but live too far to drive to our facility? Schedule in-person or Skype sessions with one of our certified trainers

Group Classes

Cost-effective

 

You’re on a budget or you love the idea of training your dog yourself? This is a great opportunity to learn while sharing and learning from others in the group. Learn all you need, from basic obedience to advanced skills. No previous experience needed.

New Book from Jennifer Cattet Ph.D.: “Selecting and Training your Service Dog: How to succeed in public access training.”

Not every dog has the temperament or genetic make-up to do service work, but with the proper reward-based training, many dogs can succeed in public areas. Succeeding in Public Access Work is the subject of Jennifer Cattet’s new book, which is especially important given some of the controversies surrounding poorly or un-trained service dogs being brought into public areas. Jennifer prepares you and your dog to meet the standards of the Public Access Test developed by Assistance Dogs International. While the book focuses on training, it also covers in detail a number of other important questions including:
– How much time, effort, and cost are involved in acquiring and training a service dog?
– Can you train a shelter dog for service work and are there breeds of dogs you should avoid?
– What are your rights and the laws relating to service dogs?
– How do you deal with the public when working with your service dog?