The training process lasts from 12 months to 2 years. In order to be a fully functional service animal, the dog must demonstrate basic obedience, public access manners, and the ability to perform a minimum of three tasks that improve the quality of life for their handler.
The handler and key family members should demonstrate an understanding of dog psychology and the responsibilities of being a Service Dog handler. They must be physically and mentally able to train with their dog on a DAILY basis.
SD's should be able to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test at a minimum. Passing the AKC Community test is recommended.
SD's should be able to demonstrate the ability to perform the alert and other service tasks at various times of day, in multiple environments and with distractions present.
SD's should be focused on their handler at all times when in public. Reactions to environmental stimuli should be minimal and redirectable at all times.
By choosing to self-train your service dog, you are choosing to be responsible for the outcome. Training a service dog is a time consuming, often times stressful, process. It is not for every person or every dog. There are no guarantees that the dog you choose will be appropriate for service work. Sometimes this becomes apparent early in the process. Other times it becomes heartbreakingly evident after many hours have been invested in training. Anyone who says that service dog training is easy has never trained a service dog.
Click!Pawsitive Dog Training offers group classes that cover all levels of obedience, including rudimentary public access. Classes are held at Doggy Daycare and Spa of Okemos at 1284 W. Grand River from 7:30-8:30 PM week nights. Classes are six weeks in length with a cost of $135 per course. Course offerings vary by session and are generally scheduled to meet the needs of identified clients.
On Target Diabetic Alert Dogs offers individual training to individuals who would like their dog to alert to low glycemic incidents. Sessions are generally 60-90 minutes in length, with access to the trainer by phone or email in between sessions.