If you live in the Nanaimo, BC area or nearby on Vancouver Island, you will want to consider our live private sessions and small group sessions (maximum of 2 handlers and 2 dogs indoors or 4 dogs and 4 handlers outdoors).
Learn how to train your own assistance dog through a combination of live one-hour coaching sessions, one-hour Skype or FaceTime sessions and online classes. The online classes provide the structure for you and your dog to work through. The in-person sessions ensure you are applying the training technique correctly and to problem solve issues as they arise. To train your own pup or dog to BC Certification standards may take from one year to 3, depending on many things. How much it costs also depends. Check our General FAQ for more details.
Are you new to the idea of training your own service dog? Here are some things to consider.
FREE BC Service Dog Information Webinar for Owner Trainers
Learn the process of training your dog for provincial certification. Find out the laws for service and assistance dogs, therapy dogs and emotional support dogs. Watch two demo dogs perform tasks to mitigate a disability. Get your questions answered! Hearing alert dogs, mobility dogs, diabetes alert dogs, PTSD dogs, anxiety dogs, Autism dogs etc.
Ideal for anyone with disabilities and health care providers and medical staff.
Small Group Classes"Foundation Skills for Service Dogs"
Tuesdays Sept 18, 2018- Oct 23, 2018 11am-noon
Max. 3 dogs and 3 handlers (dogs must be 16 weeks or older)
Cost: Canadian $240 plus GST ($12)=$252
Teams will learn the behaviors needed to teach obedience behaviors and tasks. Your dog will learn how to learn and be confident and able to work in the presence of other dogs. You will learn how to train!
Prepayment required before Sept 16, 2018 at noon to reserve your spot. Give us a heads up you might be interested ASAP as we need to book the room.
An in-person assessment needs to be done with you and your dog if you are new to us or there has been a long gap in training with us before you can join the class. We start where you and your dog are at. ($75 plus GST)
Please contact us and let us know you are looking for in-person classes. You must be willing and able to travel to Nanaimo once a week for in-person training. If you live further away or your health issues prevent you from traveling, then consider doing the online/webcam option. Tell us about you and your dog so we can get to know you better.
What Does the In-Person Process Look Like?
Start at the beginning or jump in wherever you and your dog are.
1. You contact us by email or phone and briefly introduce yourself and your dog (or let us know that you are searching for a dog and what services you need or are looking for) and your goals.
2. We can evaluate a litter and help you select the pup that would make the best assistance dog candidate.
Adult dog assessments in a public place can tell you if the dog might be a good service dog candidate. This could be one you currently own or one that you are thinking about adopting. Travel fees are added for areas outside of Nanaimo City (Qualicum to Chemainus). If you have a dog, we can do the assessment, and if your dog passes, the fee will be applied towards future classes. ($75 plus GST.)
3. Preregister to book an In-person Private Nanaimo session ($75) or Skype/ Facetime/ Facebook web chat session ($65)
Give us three date and time options and we will try to accommodate you. You can choose any day or evening time period Monday through Sat.
In the session ask your questions. It helps to have written up a list ahead of time. In an hour, we can typically answer 10-12 in-depth questions. Some examples:
-What the BC certification process looks like?
-What does the training process will look like?
-Ask about issues that your dog currently has that concern you.
-Anything else related.
4. From there you can purchase live sessions individually or in groups. We meet at either at your home (please let us know if you have cats or other animals) in the Nanaimo area or at our indoor location (for beginning training), then at outdoor parks or retail locations once you and your dog have started training. Packages of private classes cost $65 per lesson plus GST.
5. Preregister for a class (see above).
Semi-private classes ($300 plus GST for 6 classes) and small group classes (max. 3 dogs) ($240 for 6 sessions plus GST).
We move through the process of:
A. Basic service dog foundation behaviors (learning how to learn and gain confidence doing it)
B. Intermediate service dog behaviors: adding distractions, proofing and generalizing
C. More advanced service dog behaviors and teaching tasks to mitigate your disability
D. Public access that combines advanced public behaviors and service tasks in public.
Transit preparation class. If you are new to us, we require you to do a private assessment to make sure you and your dog are ready for public access and safe to work in public.
If you plan to use your dog only for in-home assistance, then we can start right away with teaching the tasks. This is ideal for hearing dogs, mobility dogs, diabetic alert dogs, migraine alert dogs etc.
If you need a letter for rental/strata purposes, you need to buy the classes in bulk so we know that you will be working with us for the long term.
You may also want to purchase online classes as we work through them.
The online classes have text, photos and video and you can submit answers to class questions as well as ask questions you need to have answered immediately. You can also read other students questions and our answers. Click here to see the list of classes available.
5. We can do a practice test once you think you and your dog are ready for the BC Guide Dog and Service Dog Assessment test to see if you and your dog are ready to take it together. ($90 plus GST)
How Much Does it Cost to Train My Own Service Dog?
It depends where you start with your dog. If you start with a puppy, with once a week in-person meetings for two years would cost $6825 incl tax. This is much less than the $85,000 estimated by a local Service Dog training organization to supply a trained dog or the US$55,000 estimated by a US organization. Start fundraising for training now!
How Do I Make Payment?