An open and honest evaluation of your dog and your situation will help you decide if you should train your dog to be a Service Dog.
4 considerations we use to determine the probability of success:
1. Dog evaluation
Age, parents’ temperament, litter size, height/weight, health, known (?) early health/history, personality, work ethic, existing behavior challenges, previous training, current level of socialization, natural ability to retrieve/alert/paw etc.
2. Time commitment
Training daily, weekly, yearly, maintenance training, training “in the moment”
Care, feeding, walking, exercising, brushing, bathing, extra house cleaning
Purchase cost/adoption fees, evaluation fees, veterinary care, spay/neuter, urgent care, high quality food, equipment, crate, supplies, toys, training costs 1-2 years, travel, transportation, outings
Dogs in training to become service dogs require activities that you may not regularly engage in such as outings to busy stores, walks in the woods, visiting amusement parks, attending children’s activities, meeting and talking with strangers daily, exercising, and more.
The symptoms of your disability or child’s disability may specifically limit the types of activities you regularly engage in. A dog must receive fully comprehensive socialization, training, and public outings in all environments in order to help them develop into a service dog that can go any place at any time without experiencing stress or displaying ill behavior. These are not steps or training that can be “skipped”.
Children or dependents whom must be looked after will need child care or a helper to supervise them while you exercise, train, and take your dog on public outings every day. Having a child or parent with a disability already limits the thought of any ‘free time’ for yourself, none the less to train or exercise your dog. Please be very honest with yourself when measuring the time available to train your dog.
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Katie Weibel, Master Dog Trainer. Providing training for companion, service and working dogs, sharing knowledge and expertise.