Training your own service dog starts with 1). understanding the laws regarding service dogs, 2). assessing your dog's temperament and suitability for performing as a service dog and 3). understanding the time and financial resources needed to train your dog to be unobtrusive and well mannered in public, as well as to perform at least three tasks to mitigate your disability.
Please note: Training your own service dog will require approximately 6 - 18 months of training. Austin Dog Alliance will not certify students under 13 years of age as the service dog handler.
To provide you with enough information to make a decision regarding next steps in training your own service dog, Austin Dog Alliance provides a quarterly seminar on How to Train Your Own Service Dog. This seminar is given by a senior member of our service dog training and placement team.
If you are anxious to get started, consider signing up for a dog manners or puppy manners course to teach your dog basic skills. If your dog has already mastered basic skills, an Out and About - Teaching Your to Work in Public or Dog Manners 2 or Canine Good Citizen class is a good place to start.
The length of time and cost to train your own service dog is dependent on multiple factors, including:
age of dog
temperament of dog
your ability to learn advanced dog training techniques
the amount of time you spend training each day
your consistency in expecting service dog level of manners in all situations
the dog's history
If you include equipment and training treats, the cost could be between $750 and $2,500. Again, the cost depends on the factors listed above.
Do you have financial aide?
At this time, Healthy Pet is sponsoring the first training class for low income, disabled veterans who wish to train their own emotional support or service dog. To qualify, please send a copy of your DD214, your disability percentage documentation and your prescription for a service or emotional support dog to us to obtain a coupon for your first class. This sponsorship includes two bags of training treats for your dog partner.
If you are a Veteran, but not low income, financial aide is not available. If you are not a veteran, unfortunately, financial aide to train your own service dog is not available. However, many of our clients have been very successful with online crowd funding to obtain the funds needed to pursue a service dog. Austin Dog Alliance uses Crowdrise as our crowdfunding platform. This very easy to use software is set up so that donations from your friends and family to support your train your own service dog efforts are tax deductible.
Service dogs trained by Austin Dog Alliance are available for Veterans and civilians and are priced on a sliding scale. Although our cost to train a service dog is approximately $15,000, the maximum adoption fee is $5,000.