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Can I train a dog to be a certified assistance dog?

My mom is 79 & wants a dog to help lift things for her. She cannot bend over hardly at all. She & dad don’t have much money. She specifically wants a Golden Retriever. Is it possible for me to train the dog, or does it need to be trained by a professional? Are there places she could apply to get such a dog?

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3 Responses to “Can I train a dog to be a certified assistance dog?”

  1. xoxstarstruckoxo said :

    There are places to be certified. Often it’s a matter of you doing a lot of the training. Programs like Puppies Behind Bars also train dogs. But they must be certified, though if you have the time and energy to train one by yourself he could still be a help, though it won’t be certified. And yes, you can apply to many places. Just start searching (google works) service dog cerification/applications in your state/area.

  2. abby_k9 said :

    If you live in the United States, then yes, you can train your own assistance dog. These are called owner trained assistance dogs and are fairly common in the US. Other countries require that dogs are either professionally trained or pass a certification before they are legally considered assistance dogs.

    Assistance Dogs of American has a link to their Yahoo Group on its front page. The group is called Owner Trained Service Dogs. You should be able to get started with information and help there.

    Unless you’re an experienced dog trainer, I would recommend that you work with a certified dog trainer who is knowledgeable and can help you train the tasks you want your dog to do. If you have any training facilities near you, call them and ask if they do private lessons. Make sure they are certified at least by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and not just employees of the facility or store that have attended some training seminars.

    If you’d rather apply for a dog somewhere, this list from the American Dog Trainer’s Network will help get you going in the right direction –

  3. Brandi A said :

    We have a rescue Rottweiler that is on his way to being a certified therapy dog. My trainer is helping with this and is actually the one who suggested it due to his personality and is helping for free. Your number one step would be a Basic Obedience Class. My advice would be call some private trainers and honestly explain your situation and why you guys need this type of dog. I know my dog trainer hardly has a profit by the end of the year, she just LOVES helping people have a positive relationship with their dogs. Many trainers are like that and would be willing to help you guys either for a reduced price on payment plan or no charge at all. As far as the dog goes, Golden Retriever Rescue organization of some sort would be where I would try getting a dog from. It wil be a lot cheaper, the dogs needs a good loving home, and lots of foster parents who work with rescue dogs potty train them, socialize them as much as they can, and work on some basic obedience (we do fostering and we do that as well as all the other foster parents I know) before the dog gets adopted. Also, PetSmart provides training classes that are usually LOTS more expensive than a private trainer, but in this case they might make an exception and donate some training i know they are good about charitable causes, they have donated food to our group in the past. Also, contact Humane Societies and ASPCA groups for info. Good Luck


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