Critical questions to ask when partnering with a service dog

Ever thought what your responsibilities are for your service dog?

Before becoming a service dog handler, one must ask himself questions which are meant to help one to think and make the best decision for individual needs and disabilities. One should avail for his time to think and analyze their thoughts and feelings about partnering with a service dog. Since the desires, needs, situations, and abilities are unique in every person, the choice of a right decision needs no haste. One can try to involve a trustworthy friend to assist in soul-searching and brainstorming the process. One must know beyond any reasonable doubt the pros and cons of a service dog and also make sure that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Below are some of the crucial areas where one should base his questions and answer satisfactorily before engaging in the practice:

Financial ability

Are ones financial resources capable of covering the costs of caring for a dog for 10-15 years period? The fact is that the service dogs are always expensive regardless of whether one trains the dog for himself or applies for the same via the well established program. One may incur costs up to $5000 for a dog and $20000 or more for dogs with specialized training.

Own-training, a service dog partner makes one responsible for all costs related to the dog. These include testing and veterinary expenses, transport, temperature testing, initial and advanced training, all gear and equipment and any other supplies required throughout the training process like medical supplements, poop bags, food and other incidentals.

However, no matter which dog-raising program one takes, he must be prepared to bear the full financial responsibilities for his dog’s life. The training cost ranges between $1200 and $1600 per year at a minimum, for the rest of the dog’s life. Note that this is not inclusive of the initial vetting, purchase, and testing.

One’s preparedness for daily care of the dog

A service dog is like a small child. The dog must be cared for without failures. This implies that the dog has to be cleaned up, fed with the right nutrients at least twice a day, taken out severally, continuous and improved training, groomed if necessary and treated as a living creature and a companion. It is thus essential for one to consider how the service dog would fit into his lifestyle and family. The total responsibility of good care for the canine partner should always be in line in all situations and circumstances. The partnership has many merits, but it requires a high degree of dedication to realizing the full benefits. However, many people can’t achieve this due to busy schedules of life.

Being the center of attention

An individual undoubtedly places himself in the middle of the public eye by partnering with the canine partner. People will always be curious to know more about his personal life, how the dog has been trained many more questions. The partnership can also be stressful with constant interruptions and false judgments from rude people. Despite all the challenges involved, one must always make sure that his partner is the perfect example of what a partner dog should be.

Willingness and ability to accept the training and socializing obligations for the service dog

One must be willing to allocate practice time, discipline and boundaries to ensure that the dog has advanced training and access to the public. He should always ensure that the dog is well trained to work as required and mitigate his disabilities.

Dealing with conflict

One should always be ready to deal with disputes since not every person will understand the reasons for keeping a dog. He must be prepared to lose family support and friends especially when the disability is invisible. One may also face false accusations at a job due to false branding from the evil minded public. He should learn to stick to his goals.

Since dogs can’t be programmed and left to run like machines, one must be prepared to be its caretaker. This implies that one must uphold his partner dogs training, behavior and skills in all its lifelong and be willing to seek professional advice if need be. Proper care of one’s service partner will make it healthy, covering your disabilities with more ease hence happy living.


Guest Blogger – Alex Henry