Service Dog 101
6 Month or 1 Year Programs Available
My Service Dog Program consists of 4 sections designed to be completed in either 6 months of weekly training or 1 year of every other week training.
The average cost of service dog training falls between $7,000 & $20,000, but because this program allows the owner to do most of the daily training under the guide of an experienced trainer the cost is substantially reduced to a total of ONLY $1,500.
I realize that this is still a substantial amount for many people with disabilities to come up with at once, so I have broken my program into 4 units that allow the owners to pay for the next portion of training only when they are ready. This means that if you are stuck in one area and need longer to practice, such as with a young dog that needs more maturity, you can feel comfortable knowing you will not be rushed along.
A dog who completes & graduates from each 6 week session back to back can expect to complete the full program in 6 months. Alternately you can space the lessons out with training every other week with no extra breaks and expect to complete the program in 1 year.
Additionally, dogs may be able to "test out of" different sections if the owner can demonstrate that they have mastered the skills required to graduate from that portion of the program. For example a dog who knows all basic obedience and has a good grasp on positive reinforcement training may be able to skip Service Dog 1, while a dog who has achieved their Canine Good Citizen AND can demonstrate the required skills to the standards of our training program could potentially test out of Service Dog 2.
Service Dog 1
Service Dog 1 is a 6 week private in home course that focuses on the foundation obedience behaviors found in basic obedience classes, but from a service dog approach. Handlers will be shown the appropriate way to utilize tethering to promote bonding, introduced to positive reinforcement training , and coached through training foundation behaviors such as sit, down, stay, come, and beginning loose leash walking.
Service Dog 2
Service Dog 2 is the second 6 week course which includes more advanced obedience skills and preparation for passing the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. This test measures a dogs ability to behave appropriately around other people and dogs and is thus required before beginning public access training in non dog-friendly areas. This course will also introduce the concept of mat work and advanced stays/recalls.
Service Dog 3
Service Dog 3 includes the beginning of individual task training and preparation for the next level of the Canine Good Citizen test, the CGCA or Community Canine, which includes testing the dog in real world locations and social situations. The dog will learn how to appropriately navigate crowded areas, maintain a solid stay, and build a quick recall. Upon passing their community canine test the dog receives their service dog in training vest.
Service Dog 4
Service Dog 4 involves working on more tasks to assist the handler and working in public. During this portion the dog will be tested in such public locations as restaurants, the mall, grocery stores, and any other location that the handler will regularly be in. To pass this level, the dog must pass it's full public access test showing the team can work together in a stressful public environment while remaining safe and in control. The handler must also pass a verbal quiz proving knowledge of service dog handling law and what to do in stressful situations involving the public. Upon passing this level the handler will receive the dogs official "service dog" patches for it's vest as well as a certificate of completion and ADA information cards to provide education if there are any issues.