6 Steps to Training Your Own Service Dog
Now that you have an idea of what's involved in training your own service dog or assistance dog, there are 6 steps you need to consider: We want to set you up to succeed!
1. Make sure your disability is stable or at least you have a good understanding of your day to day abilities and energy levels. You won't be ready to focus on caring for and training a service dog candidate until you are able to take care of yourself. Having a dog is a long-term commitment. Raising a puppy to adulthood takes time, energy and focus. Think of the process as raising a baby for the first two years. Could you do it while living with your disability?
2. Evaluate your situation. Can you provide a suitable physical, social and emotional environment for a dog and have the ability to provide for all the dog's needs? Can you get out and about to train in public places? You may need to get help to do so.
3. Evaluate your dog. Make sure you have the right dog for the job! Choose carefully as few dogs are successful as service or assistance dogs for public access, even when specially bred by programs. If you are planning to use your dog as an "at home" service dog only, then there is more leeway but the dog still needs to be able to do the needed tasks and have the maturity to reliably do them.
4. Earn or raise the funds needed to maintain your dog, train her to a professional level and maintain the health and training.
5. Create your support team to help you. It takes a community to raise, train and maintain a working service dog.
6. When you are ready, online classes and web cam sessions help you maintain the regular training structure you and your dog need to succeed. At least high speed internet is required.