How to Become a Service Dog Trainer

A service dog, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is an animal that has been trained to perform a specific task for a person with a disability. Training a service dog is a legal requirement for all handlers. While it is possible to train your dog yourself, hiring a professional trainer, whether online or in-person, can make a huge difference, nevertheless, training your dog yourself can be an incredibly rewarding journey.

That’s why, in this article, you are going to learn how to become a service dog trainer. We’ll also talk about whether or not you should hire a professional trainer and the benefits your dog gets after finishing its training.

How Can I Become a Service Dog Trainer?

One of the most important things you need to have as a service dog trainer is patience. You have to be very patient and understanding because training a dog to become a service animal takes time and consistency.

There are no degrees or certifications required to become a service dog trainer. This means that anyone can train a dog to become a service animal. Having experience in training dogs before gives you a significant advantage, especially in the early stages where you have to teach obedience training and housebreaking.

You can also enroll in courses or go to university to learn how to become a service dog trainer. Having certifications under your belt will lend some credibility to your training skills. If you want to enroll in an apprenticeship program, it can take you at least three years to complete the training.

What Will I Do as a Service Dog Trainer?

As a service dog trainer, your job will be to teach puppies and adult dogs to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities. You’ll also have to teach the handlers how to work with their newly trained dogs and how to maintain their training (if service animals forget their training, they are no longer considered service animals).

What this means is that you won’t just be working with service dogs, but also the people who you’ll be training them for. That’s why being communicative, positive, and empathetic is important if you want to become a successful service dog trainer.

Should I Hire a Professional Trainer?

Training a service dog yourself can be difficult, especially if you have never trained a dog before. That’s why we recommend hiring a professional trainer. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you hand over all responsibility to them. With online training, you’ll still be doing everything yourself, but you’ll have someone to guide you.

An online service dog training program can also be a good option. Once you finish the program, you receive a service dog certificate and a service animal vest.

Online training is less expensive and more convenient than in-person options. You don’t have to go anywhere, and you can train your dog while you are at home.

What Benefits Does My Service Dog Get After Training?

Once your dog has finished its training, it is legally recognized as a service animal under the ADA. That means it has access to all public places, including restaurants, hotels, hospitals, universities, and workplaces.

Your dog can also travel with you in the cabin of airplanes and live with you in your apartment, even if it has a no-pet policy. No one can ask you to pay a “pet deposit” or cleaning fee.

According to the guidelines mentioned in the ADA, no one is allowed to ask you for proof that your dog is a service animal. They can only ask you if you need the dog because of a disability and what task it has been trained to perform.

Start Training Your Dog Today

Becoming a service dog trainer is not an easy task. You have to be patient, communicative, empathetic, and understanding. Apart from teaching various skills and commands to dogs, you also have to work with their owners and teach them how to handle their trained service animals.

An easy alternative is to hire a professional trainer. In-person training sessions can be expensive, but there are many online-only programs that are much more affordable and convenient.

By signing up for an online training program, you can easily teach your dog from the comfort of your home.


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