How To Become a Service Dog Trainer

Among many people who love animals and like working with them, becoming a Service Dog Trainer would be a great career choice.

If you are ready to turn your passion into a profession, we suggest that you keep on reading our short guide related to requirements for becoming a dog trainer.

This is a rewarding, yet demanding career as it requires a lot of work.

Besides having a love of animals is just the starting point in this career as, according to the opinion of the most experienced dog trainers, the most difficult part of this job is actually working with people.

Dog Training Education

There are no standards or certifications for service dog trainers or pet dog trainers which are set by the state’s law, meaning that anyone is allowed to train dogs and start their own business or training organization if he/she wants to.

In the majority of cases, dog trainers are either self-taught or have learned techniques from other more experienced trainers, books, online courses, videos, or short seminars.

However, if you are really interested in becoming a successful dog trainer, we highly suggest some kind of formal training.

There are schools around the country that train service dog trainers, and even though they are small, they provide excellent education and skills.

The schools began with experienced dog trainers who have been training military working dogs, police dogs and then moved to service dogs for disabled individuals.

In the end, they decided that it would be a great thing to help train trainers as well, as these schools are the best places to learn how to become a service dog trainer.

One of the schools that stands out in the country is Bergin University, as it has to offer the finest service dog training education possible.

Two more great resources are the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).

Service Dogs and the ADA

The ADA is written to allow disabled individuals to use their service dogs in public.

Every building, restaurant and dry cleaner in the country could stop disabled individuals with their service dogs and demand proof of training.

They wanted to make them able to enter any facility, so the ADA specifically states that if someone says their dog is a service dog they are to be taken at their word, no matter if it has been certified by a state or other authority or not.

According to the ADA: “A public entity shall not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal.”

Furthermore, the ADA is created so that disabled individuals may train their own service dogs, due to the fact that program-trained service dogs can be very expensive, and disabled individuals cannot afford them.

Some service dogs may cost $10,000.


USSDR stands for the United States Service Dog Registry and it represents the most democratic realization of an assistance animal registry and training.

This is a registry with completely free and voluntary online self-registration.

USSDR is designed by experienced trainers and service dog owners who thought there should be an opportunity for those who wish to voluntarily comply with both the ADA law and an additional and specific set of community-defined training and behavior standards.

These training and behavior standards go above and beyond the ADA and the basic foundations of a Public Access Test.

A Higher Standard for Service Dogs and their Handlers

USSDR’s main purpose is to allow a person to voluntarily hold themselves and their animal accountable to a higher standard and this can be done by publicly signing a specific set of training and behavior standards that goes above and beyond the law.

The registering with USSDR does not qualify an animal or an individual as a service dog, but if someone does not comply with USSDR’s training or behavior standards, their registration can be removed or suspended.

Now you are probably wondering what the Registration with USSDR means.

Actually, under the law, it is not required that service and assistance dog teams show or have any kind of identification, such as a vest, special harness, training certificate, or registration.

Furthermore, it is not required that animals are officially trained, certified, or registered with any state, federal or independent organization.

USSDR is designed so as to reduce the number of people abusing the ADA by requiring registrants to understand that intentionally misrepresenting an animal as service or assistance animal is illegal.

So, all USSDR registrants are required to understand and accept the following:

  • What is involved with training and using a service or assistance animal?
  • How important both their behavior and the behavior of service or assistance dog is to the general public and other service and assistance animal teams
  • The definition of a service or assistance animal
  • The minimum training standards for a service or assistance animal
  • What is involved with a Public Access Test?
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