Welcome to to Choosing Your Service Dog!  

This class is offered free to you since it is probably the most important step in successfully training a service dog. It is so important that this information to be accessible to everyone! 

This is not a typical SDTI class as it is not training related and does not give you an example of the step by step training with video clips that is typical of the Institute. However, since the dog you select is the foundation of the socialization and training you will do, it is worth the time to take some effort to find the right candidate. Would you build a brick house on a foundation of wood?  No, because the wood will erode away before the the bricks do and the house will fall. Finding the right service dog candidate is just as important.

To save you time, effort and money, it pays to carefully select your candidate. You will be putting literally hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into your service dog both while in training (the first 3 years of the dog's life) and afterwards. Training your own service dog can be cheaper than fundraising a program dog or paying for a privately trained dog, but it still costs money. Click here to estimate your costs. 

Whether puppy or adult dog, the individual dog has to be a match with you and your lifestyle at a fundamental level first. 
If it is not, you'll spend most of your time trying to change a dog into what you want it to be and perhaps removing it from training rather than training and generalizing public access behaviors and assistance tasks. A dog that is not resilient, does not have the appropriate temperament, or is not healthy structurally or medically will not be able to function as a service dog for the long term.  

The other key aspect many people fail to consider is themselves. Do you have the characteristics to become a service dog trainer? Read this article to find out. This is a important aspect since you are half of the team. We want to set you and your dog up to succeed. 

Skim the titles of the sections and choose those that are of interest to you to start. Go back and read the rest as it is all important information to consider. Feel free to print it off if you want! That is what the checklists are for!  

If you are going to read only one lesson, read Lecture 6.  It lists the desirable and undesirable characteristics of a service dog candidate. It's a great place to get started.

If you are a organization or business using this information, please acknowledge the source with a link to our website: servicedogtraininginstitute.ca 

Please share this class with anyone you know is looking for a service dog. These pages will save them time, money and effort.  

Donna Hill B.Sc. B.Ed. Founder, SDTI