Service dogs are amazing. They offer a new lease of life to people who need it most. As great as these dogs are, however, there is no denying that their training can be incredibly expensive.
Training a service dog is a lengthy process, and will eventually cost you thousands of dollars.
Because of that, and the fact that many people simply cannot afford the price, you might be wondering if you can train your own service dog.
The idea isn’t so outlandish if you think about it – while there are criteria to meet for your dog to be an effective service animal, why not do it yourself?
Service dogs do not need to be trained by a professional or an organization – which means that you have the right to train your own dog.
It isn’t as simple as that, however, as there are a lot of things to consider before deciding whether to train your own service dog or not.
Are There Training Requirements For Service Dogs?
When service dogs are professionally trained, they are credited as being true service dogs. This is because they will have passed from one phase into the next, and eventually “graduated”.
When it comes to training your own service dog, things can be very different.
Since you do not need to follow a specific program or training schedule, it may be difficult to get your dog trained.
Training your dog at an existing training academy is typically seen as the best way for you to train your own service dog.
This is because it’s more financially viable, and you are still training your dog. At the end of the program, your dog will be a certified service dog, providing they make it through training.
Can You Train Your Own Service Dog?
So, yes – you can train your own service dog! You can either go to a training academy and do lessons there, or simply train your dog in the comfort of your own home.
The method you choose must be right for you and your needs. With that being said, however, making use of training academies or schools to get your service dog trained may be more beneficial for many.
These more “professional” environments ensure that there are high standards and that everything is done in a safe and correct way.
Training your service dog at home, especially if you have little to no experience in doing so, can be an incredibly difficult task.
This can be made even more difficult if you have severe physical disabilities that do not allow you to perform certain tasks.
Your service dog would need to be trained to a high standard, and you need to physically be able to train them to do tasks.
The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Training Your Own Service Dogs
There are some serious benefits and drawbacks to consider when you are deciding whether to train your own service dog or not.
We will take a look at these below to help you make the best decision for you.
You get to be more involved in the process of training your own dog. Your service dog will be with you for 12 or more years, and as such, the two of you will be spending a lot of time together.
It is nice to have a relationship with your dog from a young age! Usually, training can take two or more years, and you may not need your service dog while they are a puppy at all, depending on where you are.
It’s less expensive. Training your own service dog is a lot less expensive than getting one from a certified training facility.
The training costs can often exceed $25,000, which is a sum that many people cannot afford.
Training can be incredibly difficult and time-consuming. When you train your service dog, it needs to be done to a high standard.
These dogs also need to be trained to deal with specific tasks. If you have a busy life or are unable to commit yourself to the job of training an animal, training your own service dog would not be possible.
If you do not have the experience to know how to properly train your service dog, standards might not be as high as they should.
Since there are no real requirements in terms of training programs or professionals, a service dog can be trained any way the owner wants.
This means that individuals who might not have experience in what their dog needs to learn how to do, or what they need, might struggle a lot.
Training your own service dog is nothing like having a dog as a pet – they are working dogs who are ultimately there to make life easier and more fulfilling to you by performing tasks and being an aid.
Can The Dog You Already Own Be A Service Dog?
Now you might be wondering – can the dog you already have be your service dog? Service dogs need to be trained to perform specific tasks in line with the impairment or disability you have.
As such, you can be asked what tasks the dog has been trained to do. You cannot pass an untrained dog as a service dog, as there are many clear differences.
A service dog can be any breed, size, or shaped dog, but they need to have key characteristics. They must be intelligent, calm, non-reactive, social, motivated, and confident.
However, they need to be able to get trained in the way of being a service dog. Training always starts young, so if your dog is older, they are very unlikely to become a service dog.
Service dogs are amazing animals. They aren’t pets, but they are greatly adored by their owners. You can train your own service dog, but it isn’t an easy process.
If you wish to train your own service animal, the best option is to make use of training academies and train your dog there.
In these places, your dog will be credited as being a service dog by the end of the process. This ensures that their training has been completed to a high standard, and they are ready to make your life better.