You do need a dog to take the course, but the dog does not need to be suited for service work. There is one project in the course that requires you to submit videos of your process training a dog two different behaviors that are commonly needed in service dog work. All of the training for the course can occur in the comfort of your own home.
You will not be training this particular dog to work as a service dog. The dog you work with in the course does not need to have the behavioral characteristics needed to work in places pets are not allowed. We strongly recommend that the dog you use for the course be a personal dog that you own.
You will need:
- A dog that is an appropriate age to train. A geriatric dog or a puppy would not be appropriate for the course. Most dogs younger than 6 months will not be appropriate.
- A healthy dog that is relatively “easy to train” is best for this project. Dogs who are not food motivated or who do not enjoy training are not appropriate.
- You need to have very daily access to the dog. Most students find they end up working with the dog for 6 weeks for the project, but some students take longer. If you plan on using a friend or client’s dog, training a few times a week will not be sufficient.
- You do not have to use the same dog for both behaviors unless you want to.
- There is no specific breed requirement. SDC graduates have worked with golden retrievers, labradors, pit bulls, border collies, Havanese, hounds, samoyeds, doodles and many mixed bred dogs to complete the program.