How to Have a Dog Become a Service Dog

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Labradors are common service dogs.

The term "service dog" applies to any dog that assists someone with a disability. While guide dogs for the blind are among the most common types of service dogs, other types include dogs that assist the hearing impaired, provide balance for the mobility-impaired, pull wheelchairs or fetch items for those that cannot retrieve the items themselves. Popular breeds include Labradors and golden retrievers and German shepherds. Many service dogs are also rescued because a service dog's main requirements--besides training--are good conformation, good character and good health. Size is also a factor, depending on the work. Chihuahuas are increasingly prominent in diabetic and seizure service cases, while bully breeds and mastiffs are popular in heavier service work, according to Service Dog Central.


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Step 1

Enroll your dog in a basic obedience training class. Service dogs should meet a number of minimum requirements as outlined by Assistance Dogs International, INC. Basic obedience includes laying down, sitting, staying, walking with a disabled person and coming when called. The dog must comply with the commands 90 percent of the time in both home and public environments.


Step 2

Enroll your dog in an advanced obedience class or a class with specialized service dog trainers. Because there are so many different disabilities, not all service dogs will need the same training. The dog should be able to--on command--handle three tasks that relieve the disabled person. For example, a service dog for someone in a wheelchair should be able to pick up items from the floor, turn lights on or off, give a store clerk the handler's wallet or open or close a door, according to Service Dog Central.


Step 3

Have your dog regularly examined by a veterinarian. Your service dog needs all the legal requirements of a regular dog, such as vaccinations and registration. A service dog also needs to be in excellent health due to the dog being regularly involved with the public and because the tasks that are involved can be taxing.



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