Three service dogs, sitting, a German Shepard and two golden retrievers

Where are they from

Where do service dogs come from? The first dog, pictured above, Arvin, is what’s known as an “owner trained” dog. His handler, Aaron, bought and trained Arvin himself. Many service dogs are commonly raised and trained by an organization, or fostered as puppies and returned, but anyone can train a service dog. You don’t need to be a trainer or have any special certification!

You can also enter a dog into a service dog program, like Basil, the second dog pictured above. He was trained by Kelly Bourgeois at Doggonit Training. They also have training program at No Monkey Business Dog Training and Canine Academy of Berwick. You can also go through an organization that trains dogs. The third dog, pictured above, is Japhy. He was trained by Paws With a Cause out of Michigan but there’s also organizations like Canine Companions, or Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Any dog can be purchased and trained as a service dog, but dogs that come from an organization are usually birthed by special breeding dogs. These breeding dogs are usually from a long line of dogs that have been selected for their genetics for service dog work and their health and longevity of life. Personally, I recommend going through an organization, not that service dogs that are owner trained or through a program won’t do just as good a job, you just have a lot more health background and usually with the bigger organizations, you have more legal help when you run into discrimination.