How To Become A Service Dog Trainer

Oct 07,2020

There is a lot to think about when it comes to service dogs: disability challenges, the dog’s needs, legal issues, public access, etc. Hence, to deal with the whole process of getting a service dog, most people will seek help from an expert in service dog training.

But, have you thought about training a service dog on your own and being a service dog trainer once you completed the training with a passing grade?

Do you have to be certified to train service dogs?

You may be surprised to learn that anyone can decide to train dogs and start the training on their own — there are no legally-mandated standards for service dog trainers, or pet dog trainers. Most trainers are self-taught or have learned techniques through other trainers, books, online courses, videos, or short seminars. Some of the best trainers you see on TV do not have school training themselves. That being said, if you are interested in becoming a trainer or train your own service dog, we highly suggest some kind of formal training.

During Covid-19, the Intensive Service Dog Training Course is the best for those who want to train their dog to become a service dog. The convenience of online learning is combined with one-on-one guidance from experienced professional trainers. The 10-week program is thoughtfully organized in an easy-to-follow format for three different levels:

Level 1 For beginner owner-trainers, and pet dog trainers

Level 2 For handlers with disabilities training their own service dogs

Level 3 For experienced dog trainers who want to become a service dog trainer

service dog trainer

What does the self-training of a service dog involve?

With the comprehensive curriculum below, you will be well prepared to train service dogs with confidence and integrity. The course includes:

Basic Knowledge of Service Dog

• Introduction

• Service Dog History

• Types of Service Dogs and What They Do

• Things Handlers Should Know

Understanding Your Service Dog

• Abilities and Limitations of Your Service Dog

• Canine Communication - Interpreting Dog Body Language

• Puppy Testing

Preparing for Training

• Basics for All Service Dogs

• How a Dog Learns

• Encouraging Your Dog

• Equipment for Training

• The Basic Vocabulary and Core Words for Service Dogs

First Phase Training (Basic Commands to Teach)

• First Five Things to Teach

• Eye Contact Training

• Focus Training

Bark Training

• Barking, Speak Up and Be Quiet Training

Service Dog Retrieve

• Finding and Retrieving Tricks

Advanced Training - adding Drama with Clever Tricks

• Heel and Swing Finish

• Standing Up and Pushing a Cart

• Extended Training - Adding Drama with Clever Tricks

Public Access

• Public Access Test

Final and Certification

The Intensive Service Dog Training Course is easy to fit into your schedule. You can complete lessons and assignments when you have time. The mix of video tutorials, materials, practical assignments with individual feedback from an instructor keeps the process interesting. You are encouraged to email questions so that your trainer tutor’s help is always on hand. Whether you want to work with your dog, expand your training skill set, or work for a non-profit service dog program, this course is a great investment.

service dog trainer

A higher standard for the service dog/handler team

The goal of SDTSI is to help someone voluntarily hold themselves and their animal accountable to a higher standard — by publicly signing a specific set of training and behavioral standards that go beyond the law:

• The dog partner should walk nicely on the leash or in a harness.

• The dog partner should not display inappropriate behavior including growling or inappropriate, excessive barking, and elimination in public.

• Teams should be able to enter a building or an establishment in a controlled and safe manner.

• The dog partner should be able to perform its duties and remain focused on the handler.

• Teams should be able to enter a restaurant and the dog should not attempt to eat, lick, or closely sniff any food on tables or on the floor.

• The dog partner should be able to maintain a working mode around other dogs.

• Teams should be able to get into an elevator and travel up and down with the dog remaining confident and calm.


Service dog training is extremely rewarding. A service dog trainer can teach a dog complex, high-level skills, and make a real difference in a person’s life. For owner-trainers who would like to learn more about service dog candidate selection, socialization, public access, and task training, training service dogs, and volunteering are alternative ways of becoming a service dog trainer

service dog training