Service Dog Breeders: What You Need to Know
Service dog breeders are kind of a touchy subject, as many people are like me – we get our own dogs and train them. That isn’t possible for everyone. Many people with disabilities are looking for a service dog to help them in their day-to-day life. Service dogs can be trained to do a variety of tasks, depending on the needs of the person they’re working with. There are two types of service dogs that you may be interested in; physical service dogs and psychiatric service dogs.
While these are both great options, they each serve different purposes. Today I want to talk about a few of the frequently asked questions about service dog breeders.
Service Dog Breeders: What You Need to Know
Let’s start with what kinds of dogs can be service dogs. Any dog that is well-trained and has passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test or another equivalent evaluation can be a service dog.
What breeds can be service dogs?
That leaves a lot of wiggle room for your service dog to be pretty much any breed. ed you want. Service dogs can be trained to do a variety of tasks, depending on the needs of their person and there are no restrictions when it comes to breed.
Let’s use a little common sense. You wouldn’t use a Yorkshire Terrier to help a blind person navigate the streets. They simply can’t support the harness needed or be an easy reach for the visually impaired person.
For handlers in wheelchairs; one would need a low-slung dog to keep everything wheelchair accessible and reachable without having to lean over or down too far. The size of any breed has nothing to do with its ability to be trained as a service animal, but it is important when considering what duties they will perform.
What are the most common service dog breeds?
That being said, what are the most common service dog breeds?
Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Labrador/Golden crosses, German Shepherds, and Poodles are the most popular service dog breeds.
Why are German Shepherds, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers the most popular service dog breeds?
These three dogs have what it takes to be a good service animal. They’re big enough to help with mobility for people who need assistance when walking or climbing stairs (but not so large that they might knock someone over), their coats are fairly low-maintenance, and they’re intelligent animals.
Here are a few other factors to consider when choosing which service dog breed is right for you:
Size of the animal – as mentioned before, size doesn’t matter so much in terms of training ability, but it’s still important because different breeds have unique characteristics that can make them better or worse at certain tasks.
For example, some dogs do well with outdoor work while others would rather stay inside where it’s warmer during cold weather (or vice versa). Constitution of the animal-like humans, not all animals will react well to being constantly on duty. If your pet seems tired out after doing its job one day but does just fine if given time off now and then, you may want to consider a breed that is built for endurance.
Oddly enough, Aussies usually make either fantastic or horrible service dogs. Their high intelligence can make them the perfect service animals for some people, but their stubbornness also makes them more difficult to train drill out their herding instincts.
What breed is best for a service dog?
A good rule of thumb is that any medium-sized dog will do well as a service animal – they are intelligent enough to work without needing constant supervision, but not so big that they can’t be easily maneuvered in small spaces or even lifted if necessary.
The Labrador Retriever (AKA “Lab”) is an excellent choice because these dogs have been bred for generations to serve humans with various tasks like hunting or retrieving objects from water sources. This breed has proven time and again how helpful it can be in assisting those who are visually impaired, those who are deaf or hard of hearing, and people with mobility issues.
An Australian Cattle Dog is also a great service dog candidate because this breed has been trained to herd cattle in the past – which means they have already learned how to work as an autonomous unit for long periods at a time. They are obedient but not overly stubborn like other herding breeds such as sheep dogs or collies can be due to their history of being bred for specific tasks rather than just general companionship.
What does the average service dog cost?
The average cost of a service dog varies depending on breed, age when trained, type of training required (service/therapy), or if it is military issued. Prices can range anywhere from $40- to $25,000+. The costs also differ based on whether the owner wants to purchase their own pup or get one through an organization like Guide Dogs For America who will then train the dog for a year or two before it is matched with a new owner.
Beyond those initial costs, there are ongoing expenses such as food, vet visits, etc. This is, after all, a living animal and will need upkeep.
There are various types of organizations available—mostly nonprofit–that offer grants; however, some people use crowdfunding sites instead so they don’t have to pay back the grant.
Are there Service Dog Grants?
Unfortunately, health insurance doesn’t cover the cost to buy or care for a service dog, though eligible people can use FSA and HSA funds to help out.
Service dog grants are available through organizations and nonprofits, such as The Guide Dog Foundation of America (GDFA). GDFA offers a variety of payment plans for medical expenses related to having a guide or service dog in training. They also offer scholarships for people who cannot afford full tuition for their service animal program, which is about $25,000-$30,000.
Crowdfunding Service Dogs:
Some people use crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe rather than relying on grants from nonprofit groups because they don’t want to be held liable if they can’t fulfill their commitment later on down the line after receiving money from donors; however, there are various risk factors when using this option that should be considered.
Other options for service dog fundraising:
You can also rely on friends, family, and coworkers to donate money toward your service animal’s training costs; become a “puppy raiser;” or get creative with fundraisers like garage sales, bake sales, or car washes to raise funds.
Service Dog Doctor Letter
Do I need a service dog doctor letter? While your doctor can’t prescribe a service dog for you and guarantee acceptance for it, they can recommend one and that letter will go a long way. You should have a letter from your doctor stating that you need the service animal for emotional or mental support. This is important if you are going to an agency or grant company for assistance in getting a service dog.
The actual letter should have: A date within the last year (Get a new one every year!) A statement that you have a physical or mental disability. That having the dog with you is necessary to your mental or physical health or your treatment, or to assist you with your disability.
Service Dog Letter from Doctor Template?
Yes, there are templates. The thing is – those are hard to personalize and make your request stand out. As long as the following information is in your doctor’s letter, you should be covered – just have them specify what disability, what they have noticed you having issues with, etc. Personalization is the key.
To Whom it May Concern:
[Client’s full name] is my client, whom I am treating for a life-limiting disability. I support their use of a service dog for their disability.
[Signed by the provider, with typed name and license information]
Service Dog questions to ask
Here is what you need to know before going any further with a service dog breeder company!
- How much training do they offer?
- What is your success rate with service dogs, and for which disabilities are you able to train them?
- Have any of the puppies in the litter been trained as service dogs before being sold to their new homes (if applicable)? If so, please describe.
- Can I return my service animal if it doesn’t work out? Some companies will take back animals that were not successfully paired up with an individual after three months. Make sure this is included in your contract before purchasing a puppy from these organizations. Some breeders may also be willing to refund or exchange a puppy within six months of purchase; however, there’s no guarantee on the time frame given by most sellers when returning a dog.
Service Dog Breeders Rejects for sale
I hate the word “rejects” but that is what they are called. The pups that fail to graduate from their training.
Yes, they often take dogs that wash out of a service program and let them go as companions for people with Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, etc – as they can’t handle the specific training a person with physical disabilities might need. Often, they are released to families as normal pets- if they aren’t able to “work” at all.
Can you think of a question we missed? Let us know!
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