What is a service dog?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as dogs or miniature horses that are individually trained to perform tasks that directly mitigate the disability of an individual.

How can a service dog improve my quality of life?

A service dog can open doors, pick up dropped objects, provide mobility assistance, respond to impending medical issues, and more.

What tasks are your service dogs trained to do?

We work very closely with our clients to determine what their service dogs need to be able to do in order to give them the most independence and freedom. We don’t just look at your physical health but also your lifestyle, dreams, and goals for the future. Examples of tasks previous service dogs have been trained to perform include…

  • Pick up and deliver dropped objects
  • Retrieve medical bags
  • Turn on lights
  • Open and close doors and drawers
  • Alerting and orienting handlers to sounds
  • Mobility assistance
  • Responding to medical conditions such as seizures, anxiety, and fainting

What breeds are best to be service dogs?

Most service dogs tend to be golden retrievers, Labradors, Poodles, and mixes of these breeds. However, other breeds of dogs are able to be trained to be service dogs.

What’s the difference between service dogs, emotional support animals (ESA), and therapy dogs?

Therapy dogs are pet dogs who provide comfort to people in hospitals, schools, retirement homes, and many other settings. These special animals have one handler and provide comfort to many people. If you’re interested in training your dog to become a service dog, please email Abigail Witthauer.

Emotional support animals do not have any specific training. Their primary job is to provide emotional comfort and companionship to their human. Emotional support animals are allowed some special access considerations in certain types of public housing and airplanes only and only with proper documentation from a doctor. They are not allowed ANY public access in areas where a normal pet dog would not be allowed.

Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks to aid an individual with a disability. Service dog handlers are protected by the ADA and because of this, service dogs are considered medical equipment and are allowed to accompany their handlers wherever they go with very few exceptions.

How do I obtain a service dog?

The first step in obtaining a service animal is to meet with your medical doctor(s) and determine if you are disabled and whether that disability may be able to be mitigated by a task-trained dog.  Once this has been determined, it is important to gather as much information as possible before purchasing a puppy or making plans for training.  Meet with experienced service dog trainers and handlers as well as making applications to major service dog training organizations long before considering the selection of a candidate dog.

How much do service dogs cost?

The training of a service dog in the USA is typically estimated to cost $15,000-35,000.

Do you offer financial assistance for receiving a service dog?

If you’re in need of financial assistance to get a service dog, we recommend talking to The Roverchase Foundation.

How long does service dog training last?

Most service dogs begin training at 4 days old and continue training until they are 18mos old.