Service Dog Training

Mandy is one of the Service Dog Hander Coaches in Kentucky. She has been training and helping service dog handlers since 2010. She is located in Owensboro KY and helps clients all over the state, both in person and virtually. 

So, you are wondering if you want a service dog? What is the process of getting one? Training one? How much will it cost? Will the dog I have now work? These are all very common questions and ones that Mandy is happy to answer! 

Frequently Asked Questions on Service Dogs in Kentucky:

What is the process of getting a service dog? You can use any dog to train as a service dog, as long as he is safe in public. Aggression and anxiety to the point of not being able to work are the two main reasons a dog will not be able to be trained as a service dog. Both of these issues are possibly trainable, but they are the most common reasons for a dog to not be eligible as a service dog. So you can get an already trained service dog, or you can get an untrained dog and then either train it yourself, or hire a trainer to train it/ help you train it. Hiring an experience trainer to coach you along the way is (in my rather biased opinion) one of the smartest moves you can make. We have seen things go wrong, we know the warning signs of things starting to go sideways, and can intervene before things get too far off track. This is the perfect example of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Can I train a service dog myself? Yes, it is legal for you to train your service dog yourself! Now, ideally you would work with an experienced trainer, who can guide you in your training journey. Training your own service dog can be a wonderfully rich experience, but it is also likely to have some challenges. Having a coach there to help you see the forest through the trees can be invaluable. 

What is the cost? How much it costs to train a service dog is highly variable. It depends on the dog- any behavioral issues that will require extra training? What is the age of the dog? (1-2yrs old is ideal to begin training, as long as the dog is well socialized without behavioral issues). How much dog training experience do you have? If you have trained many dogs over your lifetime, you will need guidance and coaching, but you should be able to do quite a bit of the training yourself. If you have no dog training experience, or if your disability limits your dog training ability, then that would require more hands on training from the dog trainer, resulting in higher costs. In general, if a dog does not have any limiting behavioral issues, if the owner works closely to the trainer, following recommendations as well as possible, one can expect to pay between $1000 (very experienced owner) to $5000 (inexperienced owner who is not able to do much of the training). Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that your dog will actually be able to become a service dog. Unfortunately this is an inherent risk with training service dogs. 

Will the dog I have now, work? This simple answer to this question is, it depends! If your dog is young enough and wants to work, and does not have any limiting behavior issues (aggression and anxiety are the main ones) then the answer is possibly! Give Mandy a call to find out! 

First steps: 

Give Mandy a call to get scheduled for an initial consultation. This appointment costs $100 and lasts about an hour. During this appointment Mandy will get a detailed history of the dog in question, your training experience, what disabilities are at play, desired timeline and what tasks are desired from the service dog. Mandy will also talk about the specifics of having a service dog- the good and difficult parts, wanting her clients to be fully aware of what they are choosing. Mandy will then put together a training plan that will outline the behaviors that will need to be trained to get the dog to actually become a fully fledged service dog that can be used in public. 

After the initial consultation, the cost of training will be:

$180 per 4pk of coaching lessons.

$200 per 4pk of the trainer training their dog on her own. This is a great option for more advanced behaviors that require great timing and precision to teach quickly.

$40 per 40 minute virtual lesson. This is a great option for trouble shooting specific issues without having to drive to owensboro or use up an entire lesson over something small. 

Depending on how much the owner works with their dog is the main factor that decides how close together lessons need to be. We want to gain momentum in training, so if the owner is training every day - 3x a week, then Mandy only needs to step in when you are ready for the next step. If you are not able to work with your dog often, weekly lessons would probably be needed. Once progress is being made quickly, weekly lessons may be needed. Each 4pk of lessons can last between 4wks and 4 months, depending on how often lessons are needed. 

Remember, you do NOT need to register your service dog, so any website that tries to tell you that you do cannot be trusted. Unfortunately scamming people wanting a service dog has become very very prevalent. Here are two websites that we have checked over:

Give Mandy a call today

to start your service dog journey! 

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