Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks that support their handler’s disability. While the cost of training a psychiatric service dog can add up, assistance animals such as service dogs play a vital role in helping individuals with day-to-day activities that greatly improve their lives.
Once properly trained, the range of tasks psychiatric service dogs can complete varies greatly and is immensely helpful to individuals with disabilities. Service dogs need special training to be legally recognized as such and protected under federal laws. Training a service dog requires time, energy, and devotion to the process.
Cost to Train a Service Dog
Training a service dog involves several factors that contribute to the overall cost. On average, the cost to train a service dog ranges from $17,000 to upwards of $40,000. Factors such as breed selection, training duration, specialized tasks, and ongoing care all play a role in determining the final cost. It's essential to consider these factors when budgeting for a service dog to ensure the best possible outcome for you or your loved one.
What are Service Dogs Trained to Do?
Some of the tasks service dogs are trained to do might be physical support, like helping individuals with mobility issues to get around or physically guiding a person with blindness. Other tasks service dogs may perform could be to assist their handlers in retrieving items or reminding them to take prescribed medications.
Service dogs can also be trained to respond to changes in human behavior for individuals with psychiatric disabilities or mental health conditions. This could be recognizing an oncoming seizure and getting help, or guiding their handler to safety in the case of a panic or anxiety attack.
Service Dog Training Requirements
A service dog must be able to work or perform assistive tasks to be legally considered an assistance animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Service dogs don’t have to be professionally trained, but they must be individually trained to support their handler.
In addition to being trained to perform tasks, service dogs also have to adhere to a certain standard of behavior. They must be under the control of their handler at all times. Unless a person’s disabilities prevent them from leashing their dog, service animals also have to be harnessed or tethered to their handler in some way. Without a leash or harness, handlers have to be able to control their service dog with either voice commands or visual signals.
How Much Does it Cost to Train a Service Dog?
Once you get a service dog, the cost of training them varies and depends on what type of training you need them to have. An estimate from the National Service Animal Registry states that training a service dog can cost anywhere from a minimum of $17,000 to nearly $40,000. Some organizations will help fundraise, provide grants, or provide low-cost training to veterans and other individuals with disabilities who demonstrate a strong need.
Options for Training a Service Dog
There are a few options for training a service dog to consider when picking the program that’s right for you. Keep in mind that training is a commitment that you’ll need to make with your dog to get the most out of training and your working relationship.
Online Training Courses
Online psychiatric service dog training lets you complete service dog training at your own pace. It’s a much less expensive option and allows you and your dog to complete lessons at home. Training your dog with an online program is often much more affordable than in-person classes, running around $199 for service dog training programs.
In-Person Training Sessions
Professional, in-person dog training is one option for training your service dog. Several facilities throughout the country work with certified psychiatric service dog trainers. Even group training sessions can run around $100-$300 per hour and usually take place over several months.
Hiring a Professional Trainer
Hiring a professional trainer to complete service dog training is a choice some handlers make. Depending on your area, a professional service dog trainer can cost $150-$350 per hour. These training sessions also usually take place over a longer period, such as weekly sessions over a few months or years. This can add up pretty quickly, especially if you’re starting with a young or inexperienced dog.
Purchasing a Fully Trained Service Dog
Another option for individuals in need of a service dog is to purchase a dog who’s already fully trained. This is by far the most expensive option up front as trained service dogs can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. If time is of the essence or you think this is the best option for you, some organizations can work with you to provide a fully-trained service dog.
Types of Service Dogs
There are different breeds of service dogs that can be trained to do a wide range kinds of assistive tasks. The type of service dog that’s right for you depends on your disability and your specific needs. Typically, there are service dogs for psychiatric conditions and physical disabilities.
Psychiatric service dogs support individuals with mental health or psychiatric conditions. These might include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, or schizophrenia to name a few.
Service dogs for physical disabilities generally support just that — a physical disability. They can help with mobility and balance for those who may use a wheelchair, cane, or walker. Service dogs can also help those with physical disabilities by performing tasks for them such as retrieving items.
Online Psychiatric Service Dog Training with Pettable
Pettable works with top-tier psychiatric service dog trainers to create exceptional service dog training programs. Our self-paced, online service dog training lessons are made for you and your dog to complete from the comfort of your own home.
Start by taking Pettable’s 3-minute assessment to determine your eligibility. Next, we’ll connect you with a provider in our extensive network of health professionals across all 50 states. They’ll provide you with exceptional service and guide you through every step of the process to obtain and train your service dog. Get started with Pettable today!