Do you want to know how to get a service dog? You may be eligible for a service dog if you have a physical impairment or a chronic health condition that interferes with your daily activities. Service dogs, unlike pets or emotional support animals, are trained to do specific jobs and assist disabled persons with day-to-day issues.
A blind person, for example, might find it impossible to move around after everyone has gone to work. If a panic episode strikes when no one is home to help them receive medical help, someone with a mental illness may perish. It’s here that a well-trained dog can assist.
In the life of a disabled person, a service dog can be a game-changer. The assistance of a trained canine is invaluable, from guide dogs that assist the blind in navigating the streets to psychiatric dogs that assist in the management of mental diseases to hearing dogs who alert and lead those with hearing impairment to specific noises.
Find out how much a service dog costs and how you may get one for free.
What Do Service Dogs Do?
- What Do Service Dogs Do?
- What are the Service Dog Qualifications?
- How Do You Get A Service Dog?
- How Much Does It Cost To Register a Service Dog?
- Places To Get a Service Dog Infographic
- How To Get A Free Service Dog?
- Get A Free Service Dog For the Visually Impaired
- Get A Free Service Dog For the Hearing Impaired
- Get A Service Dog for Cheap
- Get Financial Help Getting a Service Dog
- Can I Get A Service Dog for Anxiety?
- Does A Service Dog Need A Vest?
- How To Get Your Dog Registered as a Service Dog?
- How To Know if Your Service Dog Qualifies for Registration?
- What Are The Best Service Dogs for Autism?
- Does Insurance Pay for Service Dogs?
- How To Get a Service Dog For Free Summary
Service dogs are not pets; they are working animals. They serve as companions and aids to those who have health issues or disabilities that restrict them from performing essential daily tasks.
The service dogs are individually trained to conduct work or execute activities for persons who are mobility handicapped, deaf, blind, or have invisible health illnesses like diabetes, as well as people who have mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression.
What’s the difference between a service dog and a pet?
Service dogs are not to be confused with pets or emotional animals. The difference between the two is their training. Although pets are intended to bring comfort and therapeutic presence to their owners, they are not taught to perform certain health-related functions. Service dogs are taught to assist disadvantaged people with activities such as assisting a blind person in moving around or bringing water and medication to a person in need during a medical emergency.
A service dog’s employment must be directly related to a person’s handicap. The following are examples of common jobs performed by service dogs:
- assisting blind persons in their daily activities
- Remind someone with a mental illness to take their medication as prescribed.
- Deaf people are alerted and led to or away from sounds.
- Pulling a wheelchair
- A person who is having a seizure should be alerted and protected.
- During an anxiety attack, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Bringing a phone over to call your therapist or a support system in the event of a medical emergency
- To create a calming effect, apply pressure to one’s chest or abdomen.
What are the Service Dog Qualifications?
Not all people with disabilities qualify for a service dog. For instance, about experience some form of anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. But a large number experience only mild impairments. It means only a few end up qualifying for psychiatric service dogs.
Before you figure out how to get a service dog, you should first know whether you qualify for one. According to the , “The work or task for which a dog has been trained must be directly tied to the individual’s impairment. Under the ADA, dogs whose main purpose is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals..”
To put it another way, you must have a impairment that prevents you from completing life-critical chores without assistance. Physical, mental, or any other chronic health problem could be the cause of your handicap.
A blind person, for example, may be eligible for a service dog trained to assist them in seeing and moving around. A diabetic, on the other hand, may be eligible for a service dog trained to alert them to dangerous blood sugar levels and remind them to take their medication.
The point is that the service dog you qualify for must assist you with one vital duty, and your impairment must be related to the tasks performed by the dog.
The following are the requirements for receiving a service dog:
- You must have a physical disability or a health condition that is incapacitating.
- You should be able to take part in the training of your dog.
- You should live in a secure environment at home.
- Possess the capacity to care for and control the assistance dog on your own.
You may not be eligible for a service dog if you have a physical handicap or a health condition that isn’t considered disabling. In that case, an emotional support animal or a pet may be appropriate. The dogs provide you with warmth, unconditional affection, and emotional support, as well as the therapeutic presence you may require to alleviate modest health issues.
It’s important to note that pets and emotional support animals don’t enjoy the same legal protections and privileges as service dogs. A service dog must be allowed in any public or private spaces where people are allowed. Since emotional support animals are mostly regarded as pets, they are only afforded a few privileges under the .
How Do You Get A Service Dog?
You now understand what service dogs are, what they do, and how to become a service dog. How do you go about getting a service dog?
To get a service dog, follow these steps:
Get a Doctor’s Recommendation
To qualify for a service dog, you must demonstrate that you have a medical condition that qualifies you for one. Get your handicap diagnosed by a doctor or a registered health practitioner. A prescription or recommendation letter from a medical expert suggesting that a service dog can help manage your handicap or lessen your mental health condition is required.
Apply for a Service Dog From an Agency
The next step is to apply for a service dog through an agency once you have the doctor’s paperwork. Discover service dog training businesses that specialize in complex jobs such as guide dogs, psychiatric dogs, and hearing dogs.
The training isn’t free, of course. To obtain a service dog from a service dog agency, you may be asked to pay up to $20,000 or more. This can be a significant obstacle to entry, particularly for those from low-income homes. It leads us to the following point.
Plan a Fundraiser
Asking someone from a low-income family to pay $20,000 out of pocket is unreasonable. Some of these people live off SNAP food stamps. Others even rely on Government and charitable organizations provide free appliances. keep their kitchens going.
Luckily, many dog training agencies provide fundraising options for disadvantaged people to obtain service dogs through platforms like , , , , , among others.
Train One Yourself
If all else fails, you can build a service dog yourself. If you merely want the dog to complete simple chores, this is the situation. Consider seeking the assistance of a professional dog trainer, friends, or family members who are experienced with dog training. But, creating a service dog capable of doing complex tasks will be difficult. Yet for someone who is dedicated, nothing is impossible.
You can take advantage of For low-income households, the government provides free internet and laptops. and follow YouTube videos or online articles on how to train a service dog yourself. will give you a good head start.
How Much Does It Cost To Register a Service Dog?
When it comes to determining how to get a service dog, knowing the cost is critical. Several factors influence the cost of training a service dog, including:
- What tasks will the dog be required to complete: Will the dog be required to execute sophisticated or basic tasks?
- Training time varies depending on how diligent your dog is and how quickly he learns. A service dog can take anywhere from six to 24 months to fully train.
- Professional dog trainers price differently depending on where you are in the world. A service dog costs $150-$250 per hour to train in the United States.
The ultimate cost of training and registering a service dog is influenced by all of these factors. In general, service dog training is costly. A service dog is trained for an average of 600 hours, and most service dog organizations in the United States charge between $30,000 and $40,000 to train one service dog.
Some individuals choose to teach their dogs themselves with the help of a licensed dog trainer to save money. Professional dog trainers charge between $150 and $250 per hour to train a service animal, so it can still be costly. Much depends on the task being taught to the dog and how quickly it picks it up. The expense of completely training a specialist service dog can quickly rise to around $25,000 or more.
The entire cost includes the cost of the dog, training, medical bills, and registration fees for a service dog application. Because such dogs do not require intensive training, the cost may be lower if you only need the dog trained to do simple tasks like alerting or providing emotional support.
As you can see, training a service animal is a costly endeavor. But can we put a monetary value on someone’s happiness? If a specialized service dog can help a disadvantaged family member live a better life, it is invaluable.
Nonetheless, there are philanthropic groups that provide service dogs for free or at a minimal cost to those who require them but cannot afford them.
Places To Get a Service Dog Infographic
How To Get A Free Service Dog?
Many low-income households are unable to afford a service dog because of the high expense. Fortunately, there are groups dedicated to providing people with service dogs for free or at a reasonable fee.
Some groups provide free service dogs for persons with autism, while others provide service dog funding grants to people with physical or mental health concerns.
Get A Free Service Dog For the Visually Impaired
The following organizations can provide you with a service dog if you are blind or visually impaired:
1. The Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation
is committed to providing enhanced independence to the blind in order to better their lives and the world around them. As a result, it gives German Shepherds to blind or visually challenged persons.
The Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation raises funds from benevolent individuals, foundations, corporations, and other organizations to train service dogs and offer them to the blind free of charge. They also pay at least one complimentary follow-up visit to their service dog recipients once a year.
2. The Guide Dog Foundation
For almost 70 years, has given guide dogs to the blind and partially sighted. The foundation collects and trains Labrador and golden retrievers, as well as guiding the visually impaired, with the help of over 10,000 volunteers.
Do you have a dog allergy? The Guide Dog Foundation is rooting for you! They also give blind people who are allergic to dogs with hypoallergenic poodles. Everything for free!
3. Guide Dogs of America
Whether you want a free service dog for autism or a guide dog for the blind, you can get it at the .
The Guide Dogs of America helps visually impaired people by matching them with service canines. They breed, nurture, and train guide dogs before distributing them to the blind and visually challenged for free. The nonprofit also provides autism-affected youngsters and veterans with free assistance dogs.
4. The Seeing Eye
Almost 17,000 guide dog teams across North America are involved of the partnership. They breed, rear, and train puppies to become seeing-eye dogs, who are then trained to assist blind people. The Seeing Eye also teaches blind people how to utilize, handle, and care for dogs properly.
The Seeing Eye does not provide free seeing-eye dogs, but you can get one for a reasonable price. The first dog costs $150, and the subsequent dog costs $50. Veterans simply have to pay $1. The good news is that you may pay for your seeing-eye dog in monthly installments.
You will be expected to attend 3.5 weeks of training at their Morristown site before the dog is given over to you.
Get A Free Service Dog For the Hearing Impaired
Hearing-impaired people require service canines that have been trained to fulfill their specific requirements. Numerous organizations specialize in training service dogs to recognize and notify their owners to certain noises. If you have a hearing disability, there are two organizations where you can acquire a free service dog:
5. International Hearing Dog, Inc
The specializes in training service dogs that respond to specific sounds like doorbells, alarm clocks, approaching cars, ringing phones, among other sounds. Once the dog notices any of these sounds, it alerts the owner. Dogs are provided to recipients free of charge.
6. Paws with a Cause
distributes free hearing dogs to people in need. They specialize in breeding and custom-training service dogs, hearing dogs, seizure response dogs, and autism-friendly canines for youngsters. Smoke alarms, wailing newborns, and doorbells are among the sounds that Paws with a Purpose canines are trained to alert and lead their owners to. Hearing dogs can even be trained to respond to nonverbal communication using sign language.
Get A Service Dog for Cheap
If you are unable to obtain a free service dog, several groups can assist you in obtaining a low-cost service dog. The following are the cheapest options for getting a service dog:
7. The Assistance Dog United Campaign (ADUC)
appreciates the value of service dogs and how much they cost. It understands that not everyone has the financial means to purchase one. As a result, the health and human welfare organization offers financial support and service dog grants to those who require assistance dogs but are unable to raise the necessary fees.
8. Paws with a Cause
The organization relies on donations to offer service dogs to persons with various disabilities. This non-profit organization offers a variety of dogs at a low cost, including hearing dogs, seizure response dogs, free dogs for autism, and service dogs for physically disabled people.
Client payments are used to support the expense of procuring service dogs through a pay-it-forward method, in which a person receives a service dog based on previous donations. Individuals give money to help the next person have a service dog.
Get Financial Help Getting a Service Dog
If you’re looking for a way to receive a service dog with financial assistance, the following organization can help:
9. 4 Paws For Ability
Service dogs are provided to persons with impairments, particularly children and veterans, for a charge. If you’ve been turned down by other organizations because you’re too young or disabled, you’re a good fit for this one. Their placements are primarily for persons who have been turned down by other agencies. To prove your disability and the need for a service animal, you’ll need a physician’s recommendation.
If you’re trying to figure out how to get a service dog from 4 Paws For Ability, keep in mind that their dogs aren’t free. You’ll have to pay a portion of the service animal’s training fee. Out of the $40,000-$60,000 required to train a service animal, beneficiaries typically pay a $17,000 non-tax deductible cost.
The good news is that 4 Paws For Ability offers fundraising tools to assist recipients in raising the necessary funds.
10. The Service Dogs for America
is another charity that helps service dogs with financial support. When considering how to receive a service dog from The Service Dogs for America, be aware of the following costs:
- $A $50 non-refundable cost is required for a comprehensive application. You can submit a preliminary application for free, but you must pay a $50 non-refundable fee for a complete application.
- $20,000 training fee: If you are allowed to obtain a service dog from the SDA, you will be required to pay the entire $20,000 training price. A three-week course, lodging while training, recertifications, house visits, training materials, fundraising aid, and follow-up consultations are all included in the charge.
- You’ll get the help you need: SDA has several ways to help you raise money. For instance, they have staff dedicated to helping approved recipients figure out payment plans, save money, fundraising options, and grant applications.
See our guide on Tips for frugal living that can help you save a lot of money.
Can I Get A Service Dog for Anxiety?
Sure, as long as you get a letter of recommendation from a doctor or trained mental health practitioner, you can have a service dog for anxiety. The letter demonstrates that your anxiety illness qualifies you for a service animal.
The following are the requirements for getting anxiety service dogs:
- Have a physical or mental illness that makes it difficult to function?
- A doctor’s or licensed mental health professional’s letter of recommendation
- Possibility of enrolling in a handler training program
- Possess the ability to care for your assistance dog.
If you aren’t eligible for a service dog, you may have to settle for an emotional support animal.
Does A Service Dog Need A Vest?
A service dog does not require a vest. A service animal is not required to wear a vest, ID tag, special harness, or anything else that identifies it as a service dog under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
A service animal, on the other hand, must be under the handler’s authority. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires service animals to be harnessed, leashed, or tied. Otherwise, the individual must keep the animal under control using voice, signal, or other effective controls.
How To Get Your Dog Registered as a Service Dog?
You can decide to train your own service dog to save money on a support animal. It’s perfectly legal because you have the right to do so under the ADA. However, you might be wondering how to get your dog certified as a service dog.?
First, train your dog to assist you with certain chores related to your condition, and make sure your dog is well-behaved and under your command in public areas. Then it’s just a matter of registering your dog.
Visit to register your service dog and pay the fee. You’ll receive a service dog certificate, ID card, and/or vest. The documents can help alert members of the public that your dog is a trained service animal and avoid unnecessary confrontations.
If you can control your service animal with voice, signal, or any other method, the ADA does not require you to wear a training harness, vest, or ID tag in public places.
How To Know if Your Service Dog Qualifies for Registration?
If you decide to train your own service animal, remember to start with the fundamentals. It’s not enough to train your dog to assist you with tasks that are difficult for you.
Your dog does not qualify as a service animal if it exhibits spontaneous actions in public areas, such as barking or licking. Your service dog must meet the following social and behavioral standards in addition to supporting you with basic tasks:
- A service dog should never be aggressive toward humans or other animals.
- Indoors, the dog should not urinate or defecate.
- A service dog should not be allowed to sniff items, people, or invade other people’s personal space.
- In public situations, the dog should not bark or lick.
- It shouldn’t beg for food or pet attention from strangers.
- With or without a leash, your dog should remain focused on you and walk calmly.
- Dogs trained to provide protection or emotional support, such as Chihuahuas, are not designated service dogs.
What Are The Best Service Dogs for Autism?
The greatest service dogs for autism are those who have a kind demeanor, are people-oriented, are intelligent, and are larger in size. As a result, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Poodles, Old English Sheepdogs, Beagles, and Bernese Mountain Dogs are among the greatest autism service dogs.
Does Insurance Pay for Service Dogs?
Sadly, the expense of caring for or purchasing a service dog is not covered by your health insurance. To help with your service animal, an qualified individual can use pre-tax HSA or FSA funds.
However, pet insurance for a service animal is the same as for any other pet. Pet insurance only covers medical costs, such as illnesses and injuries, but not the cost of replacing your pet.
How To Get a Service Dog For Free Summary
Service dogs can be extremely beneficial to persons with impairments by assisting them with daily tasks. Nevertheless, the cost of getting a service dog might easily put many individuals out of reach.
Fortunately, there are a few groups that match people with free or low-cost service dogs. If you’ve been wondering how to get a service dog, go to any of the organizations mentioned above and fill out an application to see if you’ll be one of the lucky ones to receive a free or low-cost service animal.
You can also train and register your own service dog with the Service Dog Certificates group. Start with the basics to ensure that your dog complies with acceptable social and public conduct standards.
See our related guide on Low-income households can get low-cost or no-cost veterinary treatment..