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Service Dogs
How to Get a Service Dog
Service Dogs
What Service Dogs Do
Is a Service Dog for You
How to Get a Service Dog
The Right Dog
The Right Source
The Right Trainer
The Right Training
Your Goals
Your Resources
Getting Ready for a Service Dog
Equipment
Health Care
When You Get a Service Dog
Working in Public
Possible Sources:
 
Provider Organization
Many provider organizations exsist throughout this country and the world.  Each has a specific criteria, target client, geographic span, and special interest.  To make a match with a provider organization, you need to become familiar with the various organizations and their characteristics.  Lists of provider organizations can be found at the following websites:
 
 
You may find it helpful to join a Yahoo or other group discussion list and ask for opinions from people who have service dogs or are in the process of getting a service dog.
 

Application Process
You will be required to submit an application and other supportive materials when applying for a service dog.  To see examples of application materials and practice filling out a SAMPLE APPLICATION and collecting necessary information, go to:

Funding
Some provider organizations charge recipients a minimal fee.  Other organizations, and private trainers will expect a person getting a service dog to pay for the entire cost of the dog, which ranges from $5,000 to $15,000.  If you apply to and are accepted by a provider organization that belongs to Assistance Dogs United Campaign, you can apply to receive a voucher which pays the cost of your dog.  Information about vouchers is available at:
Private Trainer
Contacting and contracting a private trainer is another option.  The training process for both the dog and the handler is quite extensive.  Be sure the trainer you choose has sufficient background specifically in service dog training.  Carefully interview a trainer about their experience with your specific condition, how long they have trained service dogs, and their philosophy and techniques of training.  Personal attention from a private trainer can be very valuable as preparation, even before a dog is located.  Another advantage of a private trainer is close proximity to your location.
 
Self-Trained
Many persons have effectively trained a dog they already have to do service dog work.  Alternatively, a suitable dog may be located.  There are books, organizations, and groups designed to direct an owner in training their own service dog.  Keep in mind that the first dog may not complete the training.  There are many reasons a dog may be disqualified from service dog work.  Be ready to re-home and begin again with any dog.  Sometimes the most likely candidates will opt out unexpectedly.  The following websites have information about self-trained service dogs:
Assistance Dogs of America is an organization that will certify self-trained service dogs.  To see their requirements for certification, go to:
Service Animal Registry of America offers Certification for Service Dogs and Trainers of Service Dogs
Some organizations will work with you to train your own dog.  Included are:
Choosing a Path
A great deal of thought needs to go into choosing which option you will pursue in getting a service dog.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the choices, and serious weighing of the benefits versus the drawbacks of each will help you to find the right path for yourself.
 
Homework:
Answer these questions for yourself about your energy, resources, lifestyle, and ability to travel, to help you decide which path is best for you to pursue in getting a service dog. 
If you are a person visiting this site who has information, comments, stories, opinions or other input on this topic that would be helpful and could be included on the Comments and Input page for this topic, please email:

Education and Support for People and Service Dogs