Training your own service dog requires a support system for you and your dog to be successful. Many people dive in without considering what daily needs the dog has and how they will be met. They also don't think of emergencies like periods where they may not be able to care for the dog due to their own medical emergencies.
Identify Your Team Members
Before you seriously consider training your own service dog, make sure to identify who these people are, have a talk with each of them and specifically discuss with them what they will be doing for you and the dog for the life of the dog. Make sure they are willing and eager to help. If they are not, you may face a challenge when you need them the most. Don't assume they like dogs or will know what to do with your dog.
- your caregivers (family or paid) are on board with having a dog and their role in helping you maintain/train and use
- dog exerciser
- dog sitter (for periods when you need a break, are incapacitated or in the hospital etc)
- training partner (another person who is also training their service dog or has trained their own service dog)
- pet insurance or lump sum of money for emergencies
- vet behaviorist (for significant problem behaviors like fear or aggression, perhaps due to an incident in public, if not local, you should be able to find one that does distance consultations via web cam)
- groomer (for regular grooming)
- fundraiser (ongoing)
- medical doctor
- physical therapist
- rehabilitation nurse
- behavior therapist/life coach
- occupational therapist
- therapeutic recreational therapist
- case manager
- spiritual leader
Over the life or your dog, these individuals may change, but make sure that someone is designated to take on each role. Depending on your disabilities, some of the roles may be more important than others at times.
Make a Hard Copy of the Team List
It helps to keep a list (ideally a hard copy) of each role, who is doing that role when, their contact information and what they have agreed to do. If something happens to you, your dog will be cared for. For those who you need to be in regular contact with, set up a tentative plan for weekly or monthly meetings.