Enrolling Your Own Dog in AVSDA

Does Your Dog Have the "Right Stuff" to be a Service Dog?

You already have the BEST dog…and you are hopeful your dog can be trained to become your medically necessary service dog. AVSDA can help you discover whether your dog has “the right stuff”, and if so, can teach you how to train your dog to be well behaved and appropriate in public spaces while medically assisting you.

Our dog application is very thorough. Though your dog is already your best friend, it is important for you to know many dogs are not suitable service dog candidates. 

When our puppies are raised to become service dog candidates they go through important preparations that start right after they are born. They are deliberately and carefully exposed to controlled stressors for a few seconds at a time every day between 3 and 18 days old. This is called “early neurological stimulation”, and it helps puppies be very resilient and stress resistant. They are exposed to systematic desensitization and socialization from 3 weeks until they are 22 weeks old, and this again helps them have high distress tolerance and low reactivity. By carefully raising future service dogs to not be easily aroused, they are better able to ignore distractions and stay focused on helping their handlers.

Puppies and dogs can become service dogs without that controlled early development, but the percentage that qualify is reduced. We do a comprehensive screening and assessment, and may admit your dog to begin training. However, we often do not know, based on a few meetings, how your dog will respond across time in reaction to a broad spectrum of stressors. AVSDA enrollment with your own dog is not a guarantee your dog will become a service dog. The genetic temperament of your dog, shaped by early environmental and social factors, are often stronger determinants than training. And training cannot change certain traits or tendencies to enough of a degree to meet service dog criteria. 

Dogs that show high arousal, reactivity, or defensiveness are not service dog candidates and will not be accepted into the AVSDA program. These dogs can still improve with training and can live wonderful lives assisting you at home. Many dogs who do not meet criteria as service dogs and who are not granted public access rights become emotional support animals who can improve your quality of life at home. If you are initially accepted into AVSDA with your own dog but later your dog fails to meet criteria, we will offer you the option of completing the program for an emotional support animal (ESA).

If you think your dog has an easy-going, agreeable disposition and you’d like to have us assess your dog as a service dog candidate, please continue and complete all of the application materials.

So, what if you are pretty certain your dog cannot become a service dog, but you really need one? We suggest, if it is safe and feasible, you consider adding a second dog, provided by AVSDA, to your family. 

Questions? Contact us: admin@avsda.com

If you already have a dog you believe could be a suitable service dog candidate, please click through the following links and complete both forms: