Monday, May 16, 2011

Have you trained your own service dog?

We've had several requests for advice on self-trained service dogs.  Please, if you have trained your dog or know anyone who has, or have a resource that might help, tell us about your experiences.


  1. I have trained 3 service dogs to date for myself. They have all been somewhat unconventional by usual breeds used as service dogs. Each dog has been better than the last. I have trained 2 Newfoundlands and one shepherd/greyhound/lab mix. My current Newfoundland is spectacular. I have learned quite a bit about what to look for in choosing a service dog (puppy)in regards to personality, temperament and canine health issues. I have a degree in zoology and have been training animals for as long as I can remember. I am also an animal wrangler and assistant wrangler for tv, movies and advertisements. I have used that knowledge to train my dogs and I continue to learn new things every day. I would be happy to help answer questions people might have in regards to training a service dog for themselves.

    Bonnie Giacovelli and Kermit the Dog

  2. Some resources:
    - Pros and cons of owner training vs. professionally trained
    - Numerous online Yahoo groups dedicated to owner training service dogs, some better than others.
    - "Teamwork" I and II books and DVDs by Top Dog available on Amazon and Dogwise.
    - "Clicker Train Your Own Assistance Dog" DVD by Barbara Handelman
    - Assistance Dog training videos from Vancouver Island Assistance Dogs.