USA Service Dog Registration
USSDR Blog Banner

How To Train a Service Dog

How To Train a Service Dog

Anup No Comments January 21, 2020
blog title

Most of us on this site understand the benefits of a canine companion are too numerous to mention. On top of this, many well trained dogs provide professional service to those with physical or mental disabilities. Thanks to the ADA’s ruling in 1990, these service dogs are more than pets and are recognized for their special assistance.

One of the most common questions we get is which dogs are most suitable to be service dogs, and how do they get certified? We’ve got a step-by-step guide for getting a dog service-ready.

For more info, check out this well-reviewed guide to training your own service dog. (Pro tipit’s currently free on Kindle Unlimited.)

Which Breeds are Make the Best Service Dogs?

Any breed can make a great service dog but there are some breeds that have the natural instinct to be a working dog. That said, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, and border collies are common for a variety of services because of trainability and typical personality. With many physical disabilities a larger dog may be necessary for physical assistance like mobility, but medical alert services or emotional support can be performed by many small breed dogs.

Overall, your dog’s temperament and health are most important. That leads us to step one.

Step 1. What is the Age and Health of the Dog?

Regular visits to the vet (with regular checkups) is important: health conditions like arthritis and diabetes put an undue strain on the best of pets, so adding service animal responsibilities is unwise.

All service dogs should also be neutered so that males are less aggressive and females don’t face working when in heat. Dogs should be at least 6 months old and past the puppy phase, too.

Step 2: Personality Test

Like people dogs can be aggressive while others are submissive, and in many cases this isn’t “good” or “bad”— it’s not that simple. The right temperament for a service animal is somewhere in between these to characteristics.If your dog is calm, cool, and collected, but also alert and responsive, chances are she’s a good fit for service work.

As noted above, it can be helpful to know about your dog’s typical breed characteristics. If you have a mixed-breed pooch, a reputable doggy DNA test can help you understand their heritage better.

Step 3: Find a Reputable Service Dog Trainer

Some people have the time and spirit to train their service animal, but many of us won’t be up to the task of the in-depth training it takes to have a tested assistance animal. Legally in the United States, there is no required certification, but the service animal training community has come up with self-regulated, minimum standards for training. Search for a reputable trainer near you, you can find our national list of service dog trainers at this link

Step 4: Time to Train Your Service Dog

It is essential to put in the requisite amount of time for training properly. That’s why it’s wisest to use an established trainer.

International standards are a minimum of 120 hours over six months or more—up to 24 in some cases. At least 30 of those hours should be time spent in public dealing with the distractions and potential surprises that come with it.

While the U.S. has no defined requirement, self-regulation is critical and these hours and guidelines are wise to follow. They break down into the following three phases:

  • Heeling can be difficult to teach some dogs. It’s a lot more nuanced than “come here” or “sit,” It’s about maintaining relative position to the handler (human partner) regardless of how the handler moves.
  • Proofing can be time-consuming, as it requires training the dog to tune out all distractions and constantly be on command.
  • Tasking, or learning the specific task they’ll be performing, is what most people think will be most difficult. After surmounting the other two concepts, this is often the easiest. Tasks include providing guidance or sensing a medical alert.

Step 5: Public Access Test

It’s time for prime time. Video documentation is always helpful when it’s time to put all that training to the test. Among other things, some basic expectations for a service dog include:

  • No aggressive behavior (biting, barking, growling, etc.)
  • Only urinating or defecating on command
  • Surcease of sniffing behaviors
  • No solicitations for food or affection
  • Curbed excitement and hyperactivity

The ADI provides a public access test in PDF form you can download and utilize.

Step 6: Registration and Equipping

Currently in the United States service dogs are self regulated but need to demonstrated service dog qualities when out in public for access rights. That means we need to be as polite in our public conduct as the dogs we’ve so diligently trained.

Documenting the training process, public access test, and registering with a reputable service like the USA Service Dog Registration will help ensure canine competency and any future situation where your dog (or you) might be questioned.

The ADA has put in great safeguards to protect humans in need of service animals and their pet partners, but having solid answers and evidence in case of misunderstanding or altercation is never going to hurt. If our dogs can go the extra mile, then so can we.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SERVICE DOG ID CARD USA Service Animal Registration Your Service Dog ID card will include our convenient QR Code for a quick scan link to our registry lookup. By simply entering your dog\'s registration number your official registered profile will be accessible for quick verification in the event the validity of your service dog is ever questioned. 2054
Product Image
5 7901
Perfect - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I love it, and am glad that I choose the mesh due to the summer. Riley seems to not mind it at all either!
I haven't received it yet - by , March 25, 2011
1/ 1stars
I haven't received it yet
Quick and Easy - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I loved how the website was very self explanatory and have all the information I needed. 10/10 recommend.
ID card - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Honestly I received the card yet so I really can’t give you no feedback
I'd card - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
This has been a great service.
Quick Shipment - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Shipment came very quick and just as described
Nice I.D. - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
The registration was extremely easy, the price was more then fair, and the I.D. Card is good grade and nicely formatted. The shipping was quick so I have zero negative comments with my completed purchase l
Service dog - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I was told the Id is fake. Is that true?
Satisfied - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Very pleasant experience registering my Service Dog with USA Service Dog Registration. Highly recommend!
Receiving my tracking information from shop app - by , March 25, 2011
3/ 3stars
It’s kinda difficult to track your package with a Apple ID !
I’d bundle purchase - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Haven’t received yey
Sizing - by , March 25, 2011
4/ 4stars
Sizing should be adjusted a bit as i ordered the large size and it does not fit a german shepherd fully
Great - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Easy and enjoyable
The package - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I love it all everything is beautiful. But I didn’t get the certificate
I haven’t received my items - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I haven’t received my items yet.
Great fit - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
It fits her very well and she is comfortable in it.
Versatile - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I like being able to detach these and use them on various vests and harnesses.
Blessing great experiance with your company so helpful - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I'll let you know after my flights done and trip
The quality of the products - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
The quality of the products and service was excellent
Wonderful - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Have not recieved yet but I will a comment once it is received.