The Ultimate Guide To Training Your Service Dog: What You Need To Know

If you’re considering getting a service dog, it’s important to know what kind of training is involved. Not only does the dog need to be able to perform all the necessary tasks, but you also have to go through some rigorous testing and training yourself. 

In this post, we’ll cover everything from how much it costs and where you can train your service dog to how do you actually train them at home. We’ll also give you some tips on choosing the right breed for your needs!

Everything You NEED To KNOW To TRAIN Your DOG!
If you’re considering training your own watchdog, first select a breed that is suitable for the task.
Training your watchdog requires bonding and establishing trust between you and your dog.
Both watchdog and service dog training require careful consideration of equipment and living arrangements.
Becoming a certified therapy dog trainer requires education, experience, and passion for helping others.
Service dog training is a complex process that requires time, dedication, and following best practices.

How Much Does it Cost?

The cost of training a service dog can be expensive. The average cost of training and raising a trained service dog is about $50,000. 

While this may seem like an astronomical number for some people, it is worth it in the end.

Service dogs are trained to help their owners with things like:

  • Mobility assistance (such as pulling or pushing wheelchairs)
  • Hearing alerting (when someone knocks on the door or rings the doorbell)
  • Seizure response (alerting owners when they may be having an episode)

The Ultimate Guide to Watchdog Training: What You Need to Know: If you’re considering training your own watchdog, our guide on watchdog training provides everything you need to know about training, from selecting a breed to everyday obedience.

Where Can You Train Your Service Dog?

So, you’ve decided that it’s time to start training your service dog. But where will you do so? There are many options for training a service animal, including:

  • Training at home
  • Training in a facility

How Should I Train My Service Dog?

You should train your service dog to be happy, confident and helpful.

The most important thing is to make training fun for your dog. This means you are not only rewarding them for good behavior but also giving them lots of praise and affection! 

They should want to work with you because they love spending time with you, not just because they want the treats or other rewards that come along with it.

Consistency is also very important when training a service dog. Your dog needs to know what’s expected of them at all times so there’s no confusion as far as what behaviors are acceptable and which aren’t, especially if you’re trying to stop bad habits like jumping on people or barking at strangers!

You should always use positive reinforcement (rewarding good behavior) instead of punishment (punishing bad behavior). If a mistake happens then that’s okay – just correct it gently and move forward without yelling or hurting anyone physically or emotionally.

How to Train Your Watchdog to be a Loyal and Protective Companion: Training your watchdog to be the best companion they can be is a fulfilling experience. Learn how to bond with your dog and establish trust while training them to be protective in any situation with our guide on training your watchdog.

Who Should Train Your Service Dog?

You should train your service dog yourself. However, if you don’t have the time or are physically unable to do so, there are other options available to you:

  • You can hire a professional trainer to help you train your service dog. This is an excellent choice for those who live in remote areas and don’t have access to local trainers. They’ll be able to come out and show you how it’s done and give suggestions on what kinds of exercises would be best for your pup.
  • If neither of the above two options work out for whatever reason (perhaps they’re just too expensive), then consider hiring someone close by as a backup plan if something goes wrong with your training regimen—perhaps this person could visit once or twice per week to provide extra support?
  • Or maybe even better than having someone else come over once every few weeks is getting together with friends or family members who also own dogs so that everyone can learn from each other’s experience!
Service Dog TrainerDescription
Professional trainersTrained and experienced in various breeds and behaviors, may specialize in specific tasks.
Owner-handler trainersShared training experience between the owner and the dog, specialized in their own needs.
Service dog organizationsExperienced in the process of selecting and training service dogs from puppies, have experience in various types of service work.

The Main Responsibilities of a Service Dog

As you’ve probably already guessed, a service dog is trained to assist with mobility, balance and stability. Service dogs can help people who are blind or have low vision, as well as those with hearing impairments. 

But that’s not all! They can also be trained to help people with seizures and other medical issues. And if you suffer from an anxiety disorder or PTSD, a well-trained service dog can bring peace of mind by staying by your side at all times.

The Top 15 Things to Consider Before Starting Watchdog Training: Before you start training your watchdog, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. Our article on things to consider before starting watchdog training covers important topics such as breed, temperament, and equipment.

Behaviors That Need to be Controlled

Training your service dog is a process that takes time and patience. Your well-trained service dog will have mastered the following commands:

  • Sit
  • Down
  • Stay
  • Come (or recall)
  • Heel (and stay by your side)

What Else Should a Service Dog Know?

A service dog should be able to respond to a variety of commands. The handler may ask their service dog to lie down, sit, stay, give a paw or high five, turn around and more!

A service dog should be able to perform basic obedience commands such as sitting and lying down. They can also do tricks like balancing an object on their nose or bringing treats back from the kitchen for fun during training sessions.

Your service dog must be able to respond to your commands even if there are distractions nearby – this means that they shouldn’t bark or act aggressive towards other people when walking through crowds at the mall for example! If someone starts approaching you with food then tell them not too…

Additional TasksDescription
Mobility supportHelping the owner stand up, walk or navigate steps. Example breeds: Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds
Medical alertAlerting the owner to a medical issue such as a seizure or drop in blood sugar. Example breeds: Labrador Retrievers, Standard Poodles
Sensory supportProviding support for sensory issues such as autism or PTSD, or guiding the owner through crowded or noisy environments. Example breeds: Golden Retrievers, Labradors, German Shepherds
Hearing alertAlerting the owner to sounds such as doorbells or alarms. Example breeds: Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles
Psychiatric supportProviding emotional support and helping the owner manage mental health issues. Example breeds: Standard Poodles, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Can I Train My Own Service Dog?

We know, it’s a lot to consider. But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s recap what your service dog needs from you:

  • Patience – You will have to be patient with your dog as they learn their basic commands and improve their skills over time.
  • Consistency – If you cannot consistently provide tasks for your dog to complete in order for them to be trained properly, then the process won’t work out as well as planned.
  • Environment – Your environment must be safe and secure enough so that when they are at home or out in public with you, there is no chance of any injury happening because someone doesn’t see them coming due to distractions around them like loud noises or bright lights (and guess what are also distractions? Other people!) 

Also remember that this means making sure all hazards are removed from everywhere inside and outside of your house/apartment building too! This includes things like electrical cords being cut off at both ends so there isn’t anything dangerous left hanging around when not needed anymore.”

How to Become a Therapy Dog Trainer: A Step-by-Step Guide: If you’re passionate about working with therapy dogs, why not become a trainer? Our step-by-step guide on becoming a therapy dog trainer covers everything from qualifications to setting up your own training program.

What Kind of Breeds Make the Best Service Dogs?

The best breeds for service dogs are those who are highly trainable, intelligent, willing to work and easy to handle. 

The most common breeds used as service dogs include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Border Collies. 

These breeds are often chosen because they have a high level of energy that makes them active and playful which can help keep their human companions healthy while also giving them an enjoyable activity during the day or night. 

Because these breeds have such an intense amount of energy they may not be suitable for people with disabilities who want their dog to sit still for long periods of time without destroying everything in sight (like my adorable little monster does).

There are benefits and disadvantages associated with each breed choice so before deciding on what kind of dog you’d like training as a Service Dog make sure you know both sides well enough so that when things go wrong (and they will) you’ll be able to handle whatever comes your way!

What Kind of Temperament Do You Want in a Service Dog?

When looking for a service dog, it’s important to consider the temperament of your future partner. A good service dog should be friendly and patient, as well as easy to train.

Temperament CharacteristicsExamples Breeds
Friendly and calmGolden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers
Alert and protectiveGerman Shepherds, Rottweilers
Eager to pleasePoodles, Border Collies
Steady and dependableGreat Danes, Boxers
Courageous and tenaciousDoberman Pinschers, Akita

Is There Anything Else I Should Know About Training My Service Dog?

There you have it! The ultimate guide to training your service dog. We hope that this information will help you and your pooch get off to a good start in life together. But there’s one last thing to keep in mind as you go forward:

It’s important to remember that while training is an essential part of becoming a service dog team, it isn’t the only thing. 

Service dogs are incredibly smart and sensitive animals who bring immense joy into the lives of their owners; they need love, affection, and attention just like any other pet does. 

Don’t forget to spend time with your pup outside of training sessions so that he or she knows they’re loved by their human partners. This will make both of your lives much happier!

From Puppy to Pro: A Step-by-Step Guide to Training Your Service Dog: Training a service dog can be a long journey, but with the right guidance and tools, it is achievable. Our comprehensive guide on training your service dog covers every step, from selecting your puppy to training them for specific tasks and public access.


These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself when considering training a service dog. 

If you find yourself unable to answer them, then it may be time to turn over those responsibilities to someone else—like an experienced trainer.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources on training service dogs:

Service Dog Training 101: This article from the American Kennel Club discusses the basics of training a service dog, from selecting the right dog to training for specific tasks.

Service Dog Training Guide: The Basics: This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about training a service dog, including basic obedience and task training.

How to Train Your Own Service Dog: If you’re interested in training your own service dog, this guide provides step-by-step instructions for the process.


What breeds make good service dogs?

There are several breeds that are commonly used as service dogs, including Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Standard Poodles. However, any breed can be a service dog as long as they meet the necessary qualifications, such as being trainable and possessing the right temperament.

How long does it take to train a service dog?

The length of time it takes to train a service dog depends on several factors, including the dog’s breed and temperament, the tasks the dog needs to learn, and the training methods used. On average, it can take up to two years to fully train a service dog.

What tasks can a service dog perform?

Service dogs can be trained to perform a variety of tasks based on their owner’s needs. Some common tasks include retrieving items, opening doors, guiding the owner through crowds, alerting to sounds, and providing stability or balance.

Can I train my own service dog?

Yes, it is possible to train your own service dog, but it requires a significant amount of time, effort, and dedication. It’s important to research and follow best practices for training a service dog to ensure that the dog is properly trained and able to perform needed tasks.

Do service dogs need certification or registration?

There are no federal regulations requiring certification or registration for service dogs in the United States, but some states may have their own requirements. It’s important to research the laws in your state and work with a reputable organization when training your service dog.