Loving Veterans To Life

Basic Service Dog Criteria

Basic Service Dog Criteria

When selecting a dog to train as your service dog, there are several things to take into consideration such as; weight, age, temperament etc. Below, are basic guidelines for dogs that the Gunnar Center will accept into our program. Some exceptions may apply on a case by case basis.

  1. Do you currently have dogs in your home? If yes, do you think that dog might be a possible candidate to be your service dog? It is much easier to use an existing dog than it is to integrate a new dog or puppy.
  2. Your dog must be spayed or neutered
  3. Your dog must be between the ages of 6 months and 3 years of age. (For puppies, we ask that your dog has completed a basic obedience and socialization class, or can demonstrate basic obedience and proper interaction with puppies and dogs.) Please note, the younger your dog, the longer it will take to complete training in order to work through adolescent behavioral issues and to become proficient in basic and advanced obedience skills.
  4. Your dog must be friendly and non-reactive to people or other dogs. As a service dog with public access rights, we cannot risk putting the public in danger. If your dog is aggressive or reactive in any way, they will be disqualified from the program immediately.
  5. When fully grown your dog must weigh more than 25lbs. If you are looking to have a Yorkie, Boston Terrier, Pomeranian, etc, those dogs will not be able to perform tasks required of service dogs, nor will they be able to appropriately navigate safely in public.
  6. If you require your dog to provide mobility assistance, your dog should weigh a minimum of 70lbs when fully grown in order to be able to appropriately support you.
  7. Your dogs energy level must be comparable to yours as well as any physical limitations. For example, if you are primarily home bound, a Husky is not a good fit for you.
  8. You must have your vet provide a letter stating that your dog is in good health and that it does not show any potential health risks such as hips, joints, eyes, ears, that could prevent or shorten its service life.

 

*Adapted from PTSD and Service Dogs: A Training Guide for Sufferers