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Training your own service dog or assistance dog is a challenge for anyone, never mind a person with disabilities. You need to know what you are getting into before you commit to the process. 


Below is some basic information about service dogs to consider before you decide. 


Requirements for a dog to be recognized as a Service Dog 

Handler must have a diagnosed disability. The dog must be trained to do tasks that mitigate that specific disability. Untrained "natural" tasks do not qualify as tasks.

by the International Association for Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP):

Dog must have a MINIMUM of 120 hours over a 6 month period or more (professionally trained assistance dogs take a minimum of 18 months or 540 hours, more if the dogs require specialty training) or if the dog needs more time to mature. 
AT LEAST 30 of those hours must be in public places.

More information:


The Assistance Dog International (ADI) recommends a minimum of 3 tasks specially trained to mitigate disabilities.

Depending what country, state and province you live in, the laws vary for access of trained service dogs and service dogs-in-training. Some regions recommend or require certification by a third party (3 provinces in Canada), some do not (US).

The average working life of a program trained service dog is 5 to 7 years. Many owner-trained dogs work until they are 10 years of age, depending on the type of work they do on a daily basis, how physically and mentally taxing it is, the dog's size and health.