Raising a Service Dog: The Complete Guide to Dog Training

by | Feb 11, 2023 | Training

Raising a service dog is a big responsibility. These dogs play an important role in helping people with disabilities and providing emotional support to those in need. They are highly trained and are expected to be obedient, well-behaved, and reliable at all times. In this guide, we will discuss the steps involved in raising a service dog and how to train them properly.

What is a Service Dog?

A service dog is a highly trained dog that provides assistance to people with disabilities or mental health issues. Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks and are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They are not pets, but rather working animals that provide a valuable service to their handlers.

What are the Benefits of a Service Dog?

Service dogs provide a range of benefits to their handlers, including increased independence, improved mobility, and emotional support. They can assist with tasks such as opening doors, retrieving items, and providing physical support. Service dogs can also help their handlers feel more secure and reduce their anxiety levels.

What Breeds are Best for Service Dog Training?

There is no one breed that is better suited for service dog training than another. However, some of the most commonly used breeds for service dog training include German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Poodles. These breeds are known for their intelligence, obedience, and trainability.

The Steps Involved in Raising a Service Dog

Selecting a Puppy: When selecting a puppy for service dog training, it is important to choose one that is healthy, energetic and has a good temperament. You may choose to purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder or adopt a rescue puppy.

Socializing Your Puppy: Socializing your puppy is a crucial step in the service dog training process. This includes exposing your puppy to a variety of people, animals, and environments.

Basic Training: Basic training involves teaching your puppy obedience commands such as “sit”, “stay”, and “come. This is important as it lays the foundation for more advanced training.

Task Training: Task training involves teaching your puppy specific tasks that they will need to perform as a service dog. This can include retrieving items, opening doors, and providing physical support.

Advanced Training: Advanced training involves fine-tuning the skills that your dog has learned and preparing them for certification. This can include public access training, which teaches your dog how to behave in public places.

Certification: Certification is a crucial step in the service dog training process. It involves testing your dog’s abilities and ensuring that they meet the necessary standards to be considered a service dog.

The Importance of Consistency in Service Dog Training

Consistency is key when it comes to service dog training. Your dog needs to know what is expected of them and should receive consistent training and reinforcement. This will help them to develop good habits and become well-behaved and reliable service dogs.

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Trainer

Hiring a professional trainer can be a great way to ensure that your service dog receives the best possible training. A professional trainer can provide you with guidance and support throughout the training process and help to ensure that your dog becomes a well-trained and obedient service dog.


Raising a service dog is a big responsibility, but with the right training and guidance, it can be a rewarding experience. Whether you choose to train your dog yourself or hire a professional trainer, it is important to remember that consistency is key. Following these steps and dedicating time and effort to the training process will help ensure that your service dog becomes a valuable asset to you and those in need. By providing love, care, and the proper training, you will be able to raise a happy, healthy, and well-behaved service dog.


What is the difference between a service dog and a therapy dog?

A service dog is trained to perform specific tasks to assist their handler with a disability, while a therapy dog is trained to provide emotional support to those in need.

Can anyone own a service dog?

No, only people with disabilities who require the assistance of a service dog can own one.

How long does it take to train a service dog?

The length of time it takes to train a service dog can vary, but on average it takes between 18 to 24 months.

Are there any specific breeds that make better service dogs?

No, any breed can be trained to be a service dog as long as they have the right temperament and are able to perform the necessary tasks.

How much does it cost to train a service dog?

The cost of training a service dog can vary, but on average it can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. It is important to keep in mind that this is a long-term investment and the benefits of having a well-trained service dog are invaluable.