A: Service dogs can be any breed, however, we select the most human-cooperative breeds for service dogs. Service dogs must have the desire to please and work for people. These breeds are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, Doodles, and Shepherds.
Q: Can my dog be a service dog?
A: We offer a temperament evaluation for those wanting their dog to be trained as a service dog. If your dog passes the temperament test, he or she is enrolled in our Advanced Off Leash Board and Train Program. Upon successful completion, you can enroll your dog in service dog training. Service dog training takes one year to complete, on average, in which your dog stays and learns at our facility.
Q: How can I train my dog to be a service dog?
A: We do not offer classes or group classes for training your dog to become a service dog. Training requirements cannot be successfully met in this type of learning environment and we value your investment. Many times your (or your child’s) disability, schedule, or finances dictate the training and this is not a successful game plan for meeting your dog’s extensive training needs.
Q: Can I adopt a service dog?
A: Service dogs are trained specifically for you. Because the training is tailored to you, there is not one for adoption. Service dogs require one to two years of training, and after you are matched with a service dog, the specialized training for you begins.
Q: How expensive are service dogs?
A: Service dogs start training at eight weeks old. They have extensive genetic testing and perfect temperaments for the job, resulting in a very expensive puppy, upwards of $1500-$2000. However, the puppy is still the cheapest part of training a dog to be a service dog. Training, lasting 18 months on average, accounts for most of the costs, ranging from $18000 to $25000 for a fully trained service dog. Hence, training your own dog to be a service dog will only save you about $1500 to $2000 and does not guarantee he or she will be able to pass the training.
Q: Is there funding or grants for service dogs?
A: Some local and federal agencies may be able to provide you with funding towards your service dog. This usually involves contacting local agencies (such as the Family Center) and requesting an application.
Q: Service dogs are expensive; how can my family afford one?
A: Many families do not have the funds ready to pay for a service dog. Several options to help with this are split payments and financing for qualified applicants. We do not require that you pay the entire costs all at once. Instead we split the payment, half due when you are matched with your service dog, and the other half not due until delivery day, usually 3-9 months later. You may be able to finance the first payment or all, depending on your needs.
Q: Is fundraising available?
A: Fundraising is an excellent way to offset costs for your service dog. While we do not organize your fundraising events, we often join in them! Options are virtually unlimited. A few ideas for brainstorming are: a dog wash (at a self-serve station), car wash (in a busy parking lot of a business that wants to support) , spaghetti dinner (have food items and the community center rental donated), sidewalk sale (have items donated), a walk-a-thon, just to name a few! Use your talents and contacts (sewing, mechanical expertise, gardening, friend’s business etc.) to think of creative ways to share an enjoyable product or gift in exchange for a donation.